Memories We Share – Part 6
A nurse, a spiritual adviser and a social worker walk into a bar and … No wait … that’s a prelude to a joke.
Yesterday your other Hospice nurse paid a visit and brought a huge box to hold all of your pills in neat little compartments, all laid out so all you have to do now is take them, and hope that they do the job intended.
For some fifteen years I have watched as you tried to get something to manage your Chronic Pain so that you might have some quality of life but only one man had the nerve to prescribe what you needed. For several months you worked in the yard, worked around the house, got out and visited around town and were content with the life you lived. Perhaps it wasn’t the life you once had, but we all feel the limitations that come with age. Being able to “do” again, put you back in touch with the old Gary, the maker, the fixer, the dreamer of dreams. Oh but then someone discovered this doctor of medicine, who was also your psychiatrist, was prescribing pain pills and suddenly he was no longer working for Community Mental Health. There was a large discrepancy between what he was willing to do so that his patients could be pulled from the grip of Depression and what the Agency was willing to risk. My God, what if you had become addicted? Would there be legal repercussions? He is, after all, a doctor of medicine with full rights to prescribe what is needed. He watched you struggle with the VA Hospital, with the University Hospital, with private doctors who gave you medications that wouldn’t cure a headache but would have you doubled over with stomach cramps on top of your pain from nerve damage throughout your body. So back into the grips of pain you went and remained with barely a month’s worth of pain free days in five years time.
You asked the nurse if all of this pain medication would have you walking around like a zombie and she assured you that when pain medication is treating pain, it does just that. You will not become addicted because your body will respond to what is needed and if your pain becomes stronger then the dosage or type of medication will be adjusted to deal with it. Sad that you and others have to be finally dying before you can get relief that should be afforded to those suffering. What have we become? So much misuse, so many law suits and now people are crippled with pain and left to suffer, shortening their lives and destroying any joy in the time they do have.
I can’t use my energy to fight the injustices of the world right now though as it has to be focused on our life as it is now.
This wonderful nurse saw how tense I was as a couple of tears slid down my face when I apologized for our fur covered carpet and started rambling like a lunatic. Learning that you had fallen and I hadn’t been able to get to you quickly enough and now I don’t leave your side – even to shower, she told me to go – GO and get into the shower while she was here. I greatfully took that ten minutes and indulged myself completely in the calming water pounding down on sore muscles.
Next came the Hospice Spiritual Adviser. I was prepared not to like her, a religious bigot I had become. How could someone counsel any faith, all faiths? If she did not believe in Jesus I was prepared to have her leave, good RELIGIOUS person that I was. So I asked her, just how does one counsel a Christian and a Buddhist also? But before she could answer, something came out of your mouth that shook me to my core. You said,” I don’t know if there is a Heaven or if when I die it will just be all over. But then I remember Jesus and I think there must be, but what if there isn’t?” In the ninth hour you suddenly have doubts and I knew nothing of this? What kind of wife am I? I thought I had all of the bases covered. I’ve been nurse, friend, cook, lover, keeper of secrets, championed for your rights, feed, watered and brushed our seven cats and two dogs, got groceries in the house, tried to clean, contacted all of these agencies … and you WHAT? Doubt there is a Heaven? I mentally duct tape my mouth shut and listen for her answer. She asks what religions you have looked into and what you think is true. You say you wonder if what the Jewish people believe is not true. HUH? Now we are going separate places after death? I excuse myself and go to my trusty computer.
In a nutshell, “When someone dies, the disembodied soul leaves this sensory world and enters “Gan Eden,” the spiritual Garden of Eden (a.k.a. “Heaven”). In the Garden of Eden, the soul enjoys the “rays of the Divine Presence,” a purely spiritual enjoyment dependent on the Torah learning and good deeds done while in a body. Every year on the yahrtzeit, the day of passing, the soul ascends to another level closer to G-d. This gives it tremendous pleasure. * I read on, “Before entering the Garden of Eden, though, a soul must be in a state of spiritual excellence, for it cannot enjoy the Divine Presence to the fullest degree with the pleasures and coarseness of our physical world still engraved on it. These would give the soul poor “reception” of divine radiance, and must be removed.
If a person sinned in this lifetime, as most of us do, then, to continue the radio analogy, we have serious interference. In order to restore the level of purity the soul had possessed before entering the physical world, it must undergo a degree of refinement commensurate to the degree which the body may have indulged itself. This means there is quite a bit of cleaning to be done. This cleaning process hurts, but is a spiritual and mental process designed not for retribution, but to allow one to truly enjoy his/her reward in Gan Eden.This cleaning process is called “Gehinom,” or, in the vernacular, “Hell.” *
Well, what about Jesus? Do you seriously now doubt Him and what He did to pay for our sins and reunite us with our Father? Just how long have you felt this way? How many other important things do I not know? Now what?
Now what, indeed? You will work it out, as is your right and it is me who jumps down the throat of anyone who even looks as if they might step between you and your rights. But now, the new medication has you drowsy and you do not go immediately to check out this information. I keep silent, but it is the most difficult thing I have done so far. We both know keeping my mouth closed and my opinions or beliefs to my self is not my personal forte to begin with, but this comes out of left field and hits me upside the head like a boulder! We’re talking Eternity here, guy! E-Ter-Nity-Y, where we are both supposed to be reunited. So I’m going to get there and find out that at the last hour you turned from your beliefs and aren’t there? All of this peace I’ve been feeling about our brief separation can go right out the window? Of all of the things I did not anticipate, and there have been quite a few, this is not something I had given even a glance of attention.
Today your son is coming down, at your request, and you will go over your “Five Wishes” with him, as he is your second choice to make sure your medical directives are carried out and your desire to be cremated and not buried. I will take this time and go to the next town and get more groceries, try to clear my head and pray.
* taken from http://www.askmoses.com/en/article/135,164/Does-Judaism-believe-in-Heaven-and-Hell.html
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