Pat’s on God, Love and Religion


Pat was a very deep thinker and read extensively. She read Jacque Ellul (Anarchy and Christianity); Tom Harper (Life after Death); Arthur Schafer (The Death of Public Morality; a Civilization in Decline); Eric Kierans (Corporations Over All); David Brin (The Postman); etc. She was most influenced by two Canadians, George Grant and Northrop Frye. She kept extensive note in her writing journal. Her comments on quotes from these writers are a window into her mind and belief system. Pat is coming from an Anglican tradition and nothing here contradicts her Anglicanism as preserved in the 39 Articles of Religion in Canadian Book of Common Prayer [https://www.anglican.ca/about/beliefs/39-articles/]

1. Ellul distinguish between true Christianity – the revealed Word of God – and religion, which he describes as man’s fumbling efforts to linkup with “the sacred.” He also points out that religion and morality are different. Religion may take many forms, often brutish and horrible. The “new demons” of today are the new religions – technology, sex, the state, etc. – in their political, economic and cultural manifestations. The machine view of man, the triumph of consumption, promiscuity, anti-democratic trends, etc., etc., are all aspects of these new religions. Much of Christianity as embodied in the traditional Church and in less formal sects is also part of religion, i.e. the misguided, because basically man-directed, attempt to capture “the sacred.” He shows that far from being a secular period, the modern era is dominated by religion. This he finds, deplorable, because religion has little to do with God…. Ellul says man is lonely for the only true “other,” the God he has lost,
2. Ellul sees three routes for the Church: the first to become rational and man-directed, dedicated to social and political reform, etc., in the mistaken belief that the modern world is actually secular and rational. The second is to recover its traditional rites and festivals, in keeping with the actual religious character of the modern world. The first approach will break the church down, the second will gain many converts. Both approaches will be equally wrong and anti-Christian. The third route is the only correct one: to rediscover and embrace the three revealed Word and reject the modern religions of the world and of the church. i.e. he sees us as being in exactly the same positions as the first century Christians.
3. With reference to Ellul’s theory of the modern sacreds: when large companies and institutions demand total human commitment (i.e. the soul) from their employees, is this because they believe in the institution as sacred ethic? Or because the whole human individual (soul) is less valued now than in past generations? It makes sense if these institutions put themselves in the place of the Church, which formerly could legitimately demand the submission of souls, since the Church was the mouthpiece of God – or thought it was.)
4. Grant shows socialism to be essentially conservative, in imposing restraints on individual freedom for the common good.
5. Grant’s description of the gradual deterioration of British conservatism seems to correspond to Ellul’s description of the gradual adulteration of Christianity. Grant’s liberal 20th century corresponds to Ellul’s century of secular religions.
6. If full humanity is the ability and intention to be responsible for one’s own actions, then modern man is being robbed of his humanity by large entities – political, social, economic – which limit his decision-making ability. This may be linked to a decreased sense of right and wrong, since taking responsibility implies the need to make moral choices. i.e., if we rely on the government to make all decisions via legislation, and do not attempt to participate, we become less human.
7. Since the U.S. is more capitalist than Canada, Americanization means further moral erosion. Schafer repeats Grant’s thesis from a socialist view point.
8. Grant gives example of a supreme court decision on abortion as raising the question of personhood in law. If fetuses are not persons, who else may be excluded? This raises fundamental questions: “ What is it, if anything, about human beings that makes the rights of equal justice their due? … What is it about any of us that makes our just due fuller than that of stones or flies or chickens or bears?”
9. That modern liberalism is a form of secularized Christianity is at the heart of the contradiction. Nietzsche pointed out that the Christian part of the relation was a vestige of the dead past, as far as intellectuals were concerned. Judeo-Christianity supplied the content of our justice – i.e., the values. Once it is recognized that these values are outmoded, what will limit human will? i.e., questions of right and wrong will no longer arise.
10. Grant concludes by saying that the task of reconciling modern science with eternal morality will take a lot of rigorous thought, a genuine philosophy. But we have neglected philosophy, and if anyone accomplishes the task, it will not be the English-speaking people.
11. Grant says that some mistakenly think our “modern western will to be the masters of the earth” is the same will animating earlier civilizations, which merely lacked our scientific development. This idea is wrong; the ancient Greeks, the Chinese, did not have the same attitude to the world as we do.
12. Technological man is subject, with all the world as object. His will is the only factor to be considered. By extension, other humans are also objects. In the traditional view, God is subject, and we exist in a special (non-object) relationship to Him – a relationship which involves absolute obligations. Since all other selves are also children of God, and since all the world is His creation, we also have obligations to other people and the world at large. We are part of them, not set apart and above.
13. Any criticism of the application of technology is difficult if not impossible, because such criticism cannot be made using the terms provided to us by our technological culture. The concepts we are used to by now do not admit the opposing concepts in their ontology (language).
14. One reads of scientists coming to believe in God despite all their training in rational objectivity, because in their study of the world they have discovered its beauty and fallen in love with it: i.e., had a vision of the world as authentic other.
15. Just finished reading Tom Harper’s Life after Death – interesting and providing food for thought, especially on the question of the resurrection of the body. Off and on I’ve thought about aging and dying, and I really don’t think I’ll enjoy it. Harper’s book contains some comforting conclusions. According to him, there is some evidence that death is not a fearful experience, but instead a transition to something wonderful. I’d better keep that in mind.
16. Primitive societies were full of taboos to hedge about the sacredness of the various forces in their lives. The modern view is that human freedom must not be restricted, so the sacredness has been denied, and reverence portrayed as superstition and needless fear.
17. Grant repeats his definition of justice as rendering to anything its due. The idea was Socratic but also is present in the Jewish idea of charity as an obligation. Christianity merely emphasized and extended the idea explicitly: and linked justice with mercy (charity) when Christ forgave his torturers. We are called to be like Christ in this, but Grant admits such perfection is impossible for all but saints.
18. Justice is the recognition of authentic otherness, equal to oneself. If the other (whatever it is) is equal, its due is equal. This restates the Golden Rule. – Since in modern thought there is no valid other, then the self reigns supreme and justice becomes merely a set of rules on mutual restrictions for our convenience.
19. Grant’s discussion of Darwin and the human mastery of the environment suggests the often-unstated underpinnings of the views of conservationists who deplore the death of species, lake, etc. What they often do not state is that these endangered species have their own goodness, their own right to exist, their own “due”. i.e. conservation = justice. It is unjust for us to destroy species and to pollute. It is just for us to use our power to conserve. The Gaia concept is basically in agreement with Grant.
20. Classic terms – true = good = beautiful. Modern terms – true = factual; beautiful = giving pleasure; good = ????
21. Grant does not finally answer the question, how to live in terms of the truth (that the world proceeds from love) in the midst of the modern paradigm of knowledge.
22. Grant also makes the point that charity cannot and should not be divorced from the satisfaction of some need in the giver. The giver’s need to give is not only his need to feel good about himself but his need to satisfy his drive towards justice. i.e. if I feel I ought to give to those less fortunate, and I do so and then feel good about it, this does not invalidate the act as an act of love. It merely is a natural reaction to the fulfillment of my own need to see justice done, and it confirms that the act has been one of justice and goodness. Those who say that satisfaction in doing good invalidates the “moral value” of the act, miss the truth that human beings have a need to see justice done, and that the need is implanted by God, and the satisfaction is both inevitable and right.
23. Grant notes that for both Platonism and Christianity, goodness (God) is finally beyond understanding. Without this humble agnosticism, Christianity can and does tend to triumphalism, i.e. to say that all is done for God’s purpose, which ends in the blasphemy that even the evil in the world is good.
24. You can’t beat midnight for those inspirations that make you think you’ve got the key to the universe, or a solution to all mankind’s ills. Here is the latest brainstorm: It is impossible to believe in absolute freedom of the will or freedom of action. Because there is no moral vacuum for human beings. However, there is a way to a kind of freedom, which not only doesn’t set aside morality, but is dependent on it. Key words are Thought, Action, Positive and Negative. First, thought, to clear away the mental rubbish and make visible the primary moral principles on which our lives must be based. Second, action — to put those principles into effect in one’s own life. In short, once you know a thing is right, it’s a sin of omission not to do it. Action is impossible without freedom to act. This means being able at any moment to give up everything, even life. “Freedom is another word for Nothing left to lose.” Problem, History has many examples of tragedies and cruelties caused by men and women who acted on their principles. Sometimes inaction would seem to be the best and safest course. However, inaction, especially that based on non-thought, leads to stagnation, and eventually nothingness. Action leads to something. Christian folklore has it that there are two places of extreme character good — positive and the bad -positive, but only one limbo for the negative: people not good enough for heaven, nor bad enough for hell. Still, is it worth it? What about thoughtful passivity? Eric had his own brainstorm recently, also concerned with freedom of the will. His view is that we are like ships on the ocean. We can’t control the external circumstances of our lives — the currents, the storms, the calms and winds. But we can make use of our sails and rudders to control the way we meet these circumstances, and we can plot our course as well as possible. This is at least a partial answer to those who wonder why God lets “bad things” happen to innocent people — floods, hurricanes, famine, accidents, etc. The way I see it, God has sent us on a journey, and while we are on that journey, He will not interfere with us. We are on our own. But I do believe we’ll end the journey someday, so this is not as heartless as it sounds.

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The Wisdom of my beloved Patricia


Pat kept a book of excerpts from books that influenced her and comforted her. This excerpt from Tom Harper’s Heaven and Hell (1983) seems to speak to my Grief – the fear, worry and anxiety we feel in Grief.

“The greatest personal enemies any one of us faces are fear, worry and anxiety, as any doctor or psychiatrist will confirm. This is precisely the diagnosis Jesus, himself gives in the gospels. In his view, the most deadly blight of humankind is not “sin”, but that fear which corrodes the spirit, saps the body, and enervates the heart. That is why his most characteristic words to people in the Gospels are ‘Be of good cheer’ and ‘Have courage.’ The faith to which he calls us is not faith in some set of dogmas and creeds, but a fundamental confidence in life and the universe itself. For him, it was based not on wishful thinking or whistling in the dark, but on the most profound conversation that God is like a parent to all his children…. In the end Jesus himself was prepared to stake his life on it. There in the middle of the Sermon [on the Mount] he tackles needless anxiety directly and says the secret of living is to be found in this kind of trustful acceptance of the task of the moment: ‘Tomorrow shall worry about its own anxieties.’ (Matt. 6:34)”

Pat believed as I do. “Faith is the experience that the intelligence is enlightened by love.” (Simone Weil) She was not anxious learning she was dying; she accepted the news calmly and her biggest concern was me; now, that is soulmate love.

From her diary:

Wednesday 16 2016                      Day 1

To my great surprise, I am dying.

I found it out Tuesday. I accidentally took a 10 mg Allegro pill instead of a blood pressure pill and thereby took a total of 25 mm Allegro

Ontario Telehealth said go to Emergency, so we did, and in the course of the examination the Nurse Practitioner detected that there was something funny about my pancreas. She ordered a CAT scan, which found cancer on my liver and pancreas….

Huge thud of astonishment – my family usually all die of heart disease!

I haven’t really recovered – perhaps never will. To Eric it was a terrible blow. Maybe he’ll never recover, either.

I think for the first few hours I was just picking myself off the floor, dazed and incredulous. This was clearly just impossible. It still feels impossible.

How can I be dying? ….

Forgot to mention that Fr. Neil Carver visited about the same time as Eric. He will get in touch later with some books that might be useful and maybe some meditation exercises.

I notice that my hand writing is becoming terrible.

I hate the fact that I am making several loved people unhappy.

The other thing I hate is the prospect of pain. I am terrified. I am a complete coward when it comes to pain.

I am told things can be done to control pain, but I’m not sure I believe it.

So much I will lose. The beauty of the Earth; of the skies, of colours. I see it all turning and turning to darkness.

So much loss, such pain.

Please God, please, please, please.

Funny- of us Smith kids I never thought I would be the one to go first!”

 

We both turned to God and love in our anxiety. God is Love, the love that passes all understanding. Love is the proof there is authentic otherness.  We love therefore the other exists as well – the unequivocal otherness in the one. Our quiet, sharing love was a spiritual union of souls: two individuals united before God but still separate, different individuals. We respected each other’s privacy but were still touching. We were always aware of each other’s presence even when we were not in the same room. Ours was/is a union between soul mates. She dwells in me and I dwell in her. Pat is my rock on which I rest.

 

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Thy Will be Done


I sometimes feel like I’m being punished for some sin I committed against God; especially when I can feel neither God nor Patricia within me – just the deep empty loneliness. Could it be I am being punished for loving my beloved Patricia more than I love God? After all our Lord Jesus Christ said: Hear O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord, and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and great commandment.
Well I am guilty of loving Patricia more than I Love myself and I believe that the love of one’s spouse is the same as one’s love for God. When Pat was alive I did love her more than I loved God: we were “Us and God” not “God and Us”. When now I am lonely and missing her very much it is so easy to slip back into “Us and God”. It is like when I doubt my God and cry “O God I believe, help me in my unbelief.”
Pat wanted us to repeat our 2003 anniversary holiday in Nova Scotia; we enjoyed it so much and she fell in love with the south shore of the province. She worked on it so hard – the files and plans are still on her computer. When she retired, and both our pensions were coming in we made reservations and plans just after I recovered from my quintuple bypass – even bought round trip tickets on Via’s The Ocean. Her diaries from 2014 are full of her happiness about our plans to return for our 48th anniversary to White Point Beach. They also contain prayers that both her and I would remain healthy enough to enjoy that anniversary trip. All prayers ended with the same ending she prayed when I went into the operating theatre for my quintuple by-pass: “God, please, please, please, please. Amen.”
Well that was a prayer God answered with a NO – a resounding NO! Pat died with tears in her eyes but accepted God’s well. She is a much better Christian than me. It just wasn’t to be. I felt her death as punishment for me not accepting His will. I wanted Pat to be happy – always happy. This is why I wonder if I am being punished for loving her more than I loved God. Please God forgive me and teach me to accept thy will with grace. God answered her pray to die without pain. Thank you God for that.
As C. S. Lewis said, God gives us the death of our beloved to get us back on the path to him; this is a harsh thing that God does because He loves us. You can not have resurrection without death. The pain of the present is part of the happiness of the past. You can’t separate Crucifixion and resurrection. The answer to my pain is within the pain. We must accept that or remain broken.
We love still, we have hope, and sadness, joy and fear. These feelings strengthen us in the love of Christ. Love is stronger than Death and we love forever.
Lord I am not high-minded: I have no proud looks.
2. I do not exercise myself in great matters, which are too high for me.
3. But I calm my soul and keep it quiet, like a weaned child with his mother; yea, my soul is even as a weaned child.
4. O Israel, trust in the Lord, from this time forth for evermore. Psalm 131

Yes, I still love Patricia, honour and keep her in my heart; and, forsaking all other, keep myself unto her, forever. God, Thy will be done, thy love be done and may Pat and I dwell in the House of the Lord forever. Amen.

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Memory of things past or of things to come


Carl Jung said: “The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens to that primeval cosmic night that was soul long before there was conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach.” It follows that Patricia’s soul and mine, united in marriage and as soulmates, have deep memories of times of our joy together before either of us were born and far into eternity. We found each other within each other. We loved with heart and soul; for us, there is no such thing as separation. LOVE is stronger than DEATH. We now live our life in our dreams and memories. Our love (agape), is the unconditionality of true acceptance of God and us, the devotion associated with seeking truth in life, and the beauty of human nature, while transcending time, countries, religions and languages.

I had a dream last night that was so real it was like living a Jane Austin movie.  Pat and I were dressed like 19th century gentry.  Pat was gorgeous – full length yellow dress with high waist, her hair done in a French twist. We owned a new winery in wine country but were new to wine making; our first crop was ready for bottling. There was not enough wine from the oak barrels to fill the bottles, but the cooper told us not to worry, blessed our endeavour and to just keep filling the bottles. There was more than enough. The bottles ran out before the barrels. The grounds were lovely, and we were alone together (Pat’s hermit couple) there. We thought about setting up a winery restaurant. When that first batch was ready we took it into town to enter the wine tasting. It was superb, and we won first prize. Won enough for the winery restaurant. Can’t help but think the dream was fulfilling both our dreams – 19th century winery estate, hermit couple and a restaurant. Memory of things past or of things to come?  “Do you have memory of the day we met, when the halo of your spirit surrounded us, and the angels of love floated about, singing the praise of the soul’s deed?” — Khalil Gibran

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Love is everything! I will love Patricia forever!


Like both Sheldon Vanauken and C. S. Lewis I can’t imagine Agape or Eros coming twice. I’m still very much married to Patricia and still very much in love with her. I shall be forever. Patricia and I were lucky enough to discover that quiet, intense love that is basic to life itself. Yes, Eros or Romantic love – the love of Chick films – brought us together. Cupid’s arrow made us interested in each other and that November 15th, 1968 we were both ready and looking for a relationship. We wanted each other in the Biblical sense.
Pat wrote just before Christmas 1968: “As a male, you attract me. The physical side of our relationship strikes me as complete, satisfying and contenting. This is a valuable thing, and not everybody achieves it.” Eros is emotion, sexual passion and very intense and yes, unstable. It is of the body. Okay, young lovers think it is forever but, to be of the soul it needs to be tempered and purified in the furnace of the soul like fine steel. The soul and God in Marriage makes you soulmates by refining and purifying the self and soul – folding the egos together, folding them into each other over and over again. The soulmates become one “they” becomes “we”. They are tied together by the red string of Fate and God in marriage refines the “we” in the heat and passion and in their joining in the heat of creation. At the death of one, the departed beloved soul shelters the surviving soul and works with it to continue their bond of agape love. Death is truly giving the body for the other. The final Love and majesty will come with the death of the surviving partner.
The true signs of soulmates are:
• a conscious decision to become “one”;
• facing the world as one;
• communicating soul to soul without speaking;
• a searching for God and US;
• an innate emotional trust in each other;
• unconditional love of each other;
• commitment to each other’s interests and good.
Sex becomes Eucharistic. “This is my body given for you, a drawing near to the other with all that one has and is; in conscious love; to give the inner most gift of oneself in the most intimate foretaste of divine union that can be known in human flesh “– Cynthia Bourgeault.
“LOVE AND DEATH HAVE A COMMON ROOT,” says Ladislaus Boros. “The best love stories end in death, and this is no accident. Love is, of course, and remains the triumph over death, but that is not because it abolishes death but because it is itself death. Only in death is the total surrender that is love’s possible, for only in death can we be exposed completely and without reserve. That is why lovers go so simply and unconcernedly to their death, for they are not entering a strange country; they are going into the inner chamber of love.” — From Love is stronger than Death by Cynthia Bourgeault.
Yes, our love continues beyond the grave after all we gave before God a pledge of pure and endless love through Jesus Christ our Lord. Then the Priest said:
“O Eternal God, Creator and Preserver of all mankind, Giver of all spiritual grace, the Author of everlasting life: Send thy blessing upon these thy servants, this man and this woman, whom we bless in thy Name; that they may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made, and may ever remain in perfect love and peace together, and live according to thy laws; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Our Love did not die with her; it survives in both of us – it sustains me in my grief, in our grief. She dwells within me and is constantly with me in my dreams. I walk with her daily and I always will.  Patricia holds my hand and guides me to our place in Heaven. When my light returns with the dawn she will take me in her arms and wake me with a gentle kiss.

 

 

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Love and Death: to Patricia my beloved


IMG_20170519_105526

Pat, this whole year is as if I have been living our last year physically together tear by tear, over again. All the special days and anniversaries were times of vivid memories relived and tears. Well now I am in the final six weeks of your earthly life and it is hurting a lot more than I remember. Then I was too busy to think much of death but now it is nearing the end of your journey to departure and there is no hope of recovery or remission and no personal care to give. No final visits of friends and family bringing comfort. It is all adjusting to the new reality of being without the physical you. God and love sure intensely fused us into one. Yes, the candle has gone out, your vitality and brightness here on earth has dimmed but, for you at least, the dawn has come – you are in heaven in the arms of Christ. I, though still in darkness, sometimes in dreams and visitations by your presence, see your brightness. Yesterday during the mass, I looked up at the central window over the alter and Mary at the cross became you – hope this is not blasphemy. The sun was directly behind your face and so bright I could not see anything else. I was truly blinded by the light. Death now appears in a new light; it is where we totally surrender in love to each other and God. We both now know the fullness of our love and that LOVE is stronger than death. We have entered the inner chamber of love. We are together dwelling in each other forever.

“LOVE AND DEATH HAVE A COMMON ROOT,” says Ladislaus Boros  “The best love-stories end in death, and this is no accident. Love is, of course, and remains the triumph over death, but that is not because it abolishes death but because it is itself death. Only in death is the total surrender that is love’s possible, for only in death can we be exposed completely and without reserve. That is why lovers go so simply and unconcernedly to their death, for they are not entering a strange country; they are going into the inner chamber of love. ”  page 145 “LOVE is stronger than DEATH” by Cynthia Bourgeault.

As Cynthia says, “Once that surrender has been fully made, death has served its purpose and drops away to reveal the fullness of love.” Cynthia gives the best advice for the Grief Journey, ” …Love beyond the grave has something to do with “working in the wonders” — continuing to grow the soul by healing the dark parts and bring to birth the untapped gifts.”  Patricia and I are soulmates and we continue to grow in love forever.

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December 1, 2016 to January 7, 2017 was the worst time in my life!


Quiet Love: … eyes to see and words to tell the truths that are most true. by Patricia A. Bow & Eric C. Bow  (http://www.lulu.com/ca/en/shop/patricia-a-bow/quiet-loveeyes-to-see-and-words-to-tell-the-truths-that-are-most-true/paperback/product-23110534.html)    Pages 203 to 209 :

Thursday December 1 2016 Advent
Another so – so night. Woke about 3 am with headache took Tylenol, waited to about 6 am for easing.
Now, at about 10 am, I am still dead tired and have a trace of headache. wish I knew why the headaches. also a slight trace of nausea. Took Ginger tea – little help. Dread the general horribleness that might come.
Phoned Dr Eskander -no word yet on oncologist appointment.
Got a reply from Shetland Spindrift people. Think I can do this. Had planned to go to the new Nougat with Dani and Bette today but was not up to it.

She had a stroke and was back in GRH. She tried to keep up her journal but it is barely readable. This is the best I can get.
Sat Dec 4 (I think)
Back in GRH felt sickish found myself on BR floor me going to. (ER) in Ambulance – landed on Floor 6 surgery, I have been here for 2 days. My handwriting is terrible can’t see much of letters without eyeglasses on — no idea what’s going on Stroke?

The rest is me filling in for her a month after she passed away:
Friday December 2 2016 to Sunday December 4 2016
In the morning after breakfast Pat felt nausious and dizzy while getting dressed. I told her to go to the bathroom. She got there and didn’t know what to do with the door. I told her to open it. Then she got to the toilet and again asked what to do. I told her to lift the lid. That’s when she colapsed on to the floor. I got her out to the landing. Phoned James. He told me to phone 911 and he rushed over. When Pat heard that an ambulance was on the way she told me to cancel it. I told her they were on the way and I couldn’t cancel. 911 arrived at the same time as James. Firemen examined her then the ambulance came and the medics took over. They determined she had had a stroke. At the hospital we learned that while she was in a ward on the 8th floor the previous week she “might” have come in contact with a super bug. She was put in isolation. Spent the whole weekend in GRH . Various tests were done. Visitors had to wear gloves and gown (Nora wouldn’t and stayed in the hall) which Vivi did and came in the room to see and kiss her grandmother. They kept her in for tests which they couldn’t do until Monday morning.

Monday December 5 2016
After the CT Scan in the early morning Pat was allowed to go home. They found scarring from many small silent strokes and of course the stroke on Thursday. The strokes are attributable to the Pancreatic cancer causing blood clots.
When home in the late morning. We had a busy day finishing up some things for Christmas. Pat seemed fine and had returned to normal though she had trouble reading and writing. Signed all our Christmas cards though.
In the evening she wanted to get down the small slow cooker and timer we had promised to give to Erin for cooking steel cut oats over night. It was in the cabinet over the refrigerator. She began pushing a chair over to the fridge. There was no way I was going to let her get up on a chair; so I climbed up to get the cooker while she dried dishes by the sink.
I noticed her stagger; got down quickly as possible; just in time to catch her but I was off balance and we both ended up on the floor – her on top of me.
She was incoherent but wouldn’t let me phone 911. I phoned James and Erin and when they got there we all tried to convince her to allow us to phone an ambulance. She firmly refused scrawling on a pad “No Ambulance.”
She was insisting it was not a stroke though her left side was paralyzed and she was drooling from the left side of her mouth and her writing was barely legible when she could find the words.
Erin, James and I talked it over, asking what the hospital could do for her; she was already taking the strongest blood thinner available, it was late and she had an appointment with Dr. Eskander Wednesday early Wednesday morning. [We now know this was a mistake because the stroke could in the early stages have been treated to speed recover later].

Tuesday December 6 2016
Pat spent all day in bed. In the morning she fell trying to get out of bed herself to go to the bathroom. I was downstairs making breakfast.

Wednesday December 7 2016
Early Wednesday James came over to help get Pat to Dr. Eskander’s office. Pat insisted I give her a bath; got her in tube, got in with her and washed her down. Got her out dried and dressed and downstairs to the living room. Bruised her in several places doing it. Her legs got wedged in the tub and also showed bruising. Got her to Dr. Eskander. He took one look at her and told us we should have called 911 Monday night. Asked us if we wanted an ambulance now. We declined and got her to GRH ourselves – another mistake you get through ER a lot sooner if an ambulance brings you in.

December 7th to 14th
The next week was full of tests, visits from therapists and the beginning of some therapy. Conclusions of the examinations, test, consultations and therapist visits were
• the cancers pancreatic and liver were inoperable;
• can’t use either radiation or chemo therapy because the strokes had left her too weak and either would rush her death and be very painful – the oncologist concurred;
• there could be some benefit from intensive stroke therapy in Freeport but by the time they got results she would be too week from the cancer to enjoy them and also wouldn’t have much time left.

Pat wanted to die at home though she would have liked some intensive to try and get some of her independence and words back, but there was the promise of home visits by the therapists.
After discussions between us and the palliative care doctor we chose some less intensive stroke therapy at home and also signed a “no heroic measures” document. Her siblings concurred. We had opted for home care – me being the primary care giver.
CCAS had an hospital bed completely equipped, a wheel chair and a bed desk delivered to our home and set up schedules for home visits by a nurse, speech therapist and occupational therapist and three visits a day by person service workers.
Pat was brought home by ambulance on December 14 2016

December 14th 2016 to January 5th 2017
Things gradually improved at home for a while. We got into a routine and the therapists trained me. I had Pat do the exercises and I learned to use the bed to help lift her. She sat in the wheel chair in front of the living room TV to eat lunch and sometimes supper. I even got her onto the commode. Also she seemed to be gaining some strength back as a result of her exercises. We had an enjoyable Christmas Eve with her sisters Deanna and Bette. They brought over a feast and Pat was actually able to eat some and seemed quite happy and comfortable. Thank you Dani and Bette that more than made up for an unpleasant Christmas Day.
Christmas Day was not so good. Pat was never good with a large group of people – she reacts best to at most 3 to 5 people and she does not like being the centre of attention or people trying to bond with her. Also Christmas day she was feeling tired from the night before. And by Christmas, after a few headaches (I still think they were silent strokes) she had lost more of her words. Well on Christmas day, James, Erin, the Granddaughters, Michael and Rosemarie all came over bringing presents and to open our presents to them. Pat was in her wheel chair and the adults trying to show sympathy sat real close to Pat touching her hands at times. It was a bad day for Pat especially as she never did like being touched by anybody but her nearest and dearest – Vivian, Nora and me, and hugs from siblings and James and Erin. I could see her flinch and especially the tears in her eyes – she was crying on Christmas Day. It made me very sad as this was likely her last Christmas and I so wanted it to go well. Pat please forgive me!

For the next two weeks we settled into a routine of me feeding her oatmeal for breakfast and pureed meals for lunch and dinner and thickened water and juices as needed. I gave her her medications including her Fragmin shots and helped her to the commode. Also cleaned and changed her when we didn’t make it to the commode. Pat hated strangers looking after her bathroom needs and actually preferred me to ANYBODY else. James came every night to read her to sleep. Deanna and Erin both came regularly to read to Pat. Reading was a passion of Pat’s and I’m sure she loved this – especially as the silent strokes left her very little sight. Thank you James, Erin and Deanna. Pat was in very little pain – the headaches were the worse. Tylenol regular every 4 hours were all she needed. God certainly answered her prayer to spare her pain.

Must tell this little scare I had:
One morning I came down and didn’t see her in her bed. There was this pile of blankets on the floor (including the “poppa” quilt she had made out of my old flannel shirts) but NO Pat. Where was she? I was in quite a state. Then I saw the pile of blankets move. She had had to go early in the morning and had tried to get to the bathroom by herself. She had fallen to the floor and had the sense to pull the quilt and blankets down with her to keep her warm.
The days after New Year, Pat lost her words completely and communicated by grunting and pointing. – to her mouth when she wanted water, to her grown when she needed the commode.

January 5th to 7th 2017
From January 5th to 7th Pat was not responsive to any stimuli at all. We were unsure if she even recognized us or saw anything. Her right arm had lost most of its strength and the left lost all its gains. She needed a stronger pain killer so, the nurse suggested I start the Percocet once a day before bed. Then she lost the ability to swallow and the nurse put in a vein tap for morphine again only once a day before bed and showed me how to use it.
Her sister, Deanna was her last visitor; Dani read to Pat until about 5 that day. the PSW was due at 5:45. When Dani left Pat was still breathing but it sounded laboured. She seemed peaceful. I went up stairs to answer some e-mails then started down to prepare for the PSW’s arrival at 5:45. The phone rang, it was the PSW, she had just gotten off the bus could see #100 Krug and said 99 must be next door. It took me time to explain how we number houses in Canada – she had been here less than two years. Well I had to turn on my porch light and actually go out and get her. Got back about 5:55 and went to wake Pat. I noticed she wasn’t breathing. I took her pulse (skin was still warm) but there was no pulse. The PSW wanted to phone 911 but I stopped her and phoned the CCAS nurse as instructed. The nurse came in less than 30 minutes. She took over and told me to phone the funeral home to come take the body. James Erin and Deanna were here to say their last farewell Impressed with Erin who gave a last kiss and hug (as I had done earlier) James sort of blessed her.

You’d think that was all but then this:
Just when you think it cannot get any worse you have to put down your beloved pet. Pooka spent the last two weeks either on the hospital bed with Pat or sleeping under it. She was okay when we left for Church this morning, January 8, 2017, and after we got home; but, after we got home from making the funeral arrangements she was at the top of the stairs crying in pain. We noticed she couldn’t put any weight on her rear left leg. Took her to emergency services and were told after an x-ray she need orthopedic surgery and her weak bones (she was over 19 years old) would not recover well at all. They recommended we put her down rather than send her to Guelph for the $6,000 surgery. Boy the world stinks just now.

Pat late summer 2016 with Pooka

Posted in Bow, Patricia A., Family, Grief, Marriage, Pancreatic cancer, Religion, Religion - Anglican, Soulmates, Strokes | Leave a comment