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.