SEPARATION IN THE LAST DAYS – LOVE IS THE KEY
Among the many difficulties experienced during the Covid-19 outbreak, social distancing has perhaps brought the greatest pain to those facing the ultimate challenge of losing a loved one. Whatever our beliefs we would all hope to have a hand to hold when it comes to the final separation. At this poignant time when all is stripped away, much can be achieved; priorities can change and past misunderstandings, disagreements or estrangements often dissolve. It is therefore heartrending to think that such opportunities may be lost due to separation and a relief to remember that even in a deeply unconscious state your loved one retains awareness of the love you have shared and continue to share. As research has shown, consciousness is not limited to the body or defined by distance, so it’s good to remember that we are still able to connect through thoughts and prayers even when circumstances prevent us being present at the bedside.
A BELIEF IN THE SOUL, THAT OUR ORIGIN IS SPIRIT, HELPS US TO ACCEPT LIFE AS ONE PART OF AN ETERNAL JOURNEY. THE SOUL IS THE UNIQUE RECOGNISABLE IDENTITY WHICH SURVIVES THE DEATH OF THE BODY. THOSE OF US PRIVILEGED TO HAVE SHARED THE LAST MOMENTS WITH A LOVED ONE AS THEY RECOGNISED A NEW REALITY ARE FOREVER CHANGED.
Doris aged 93 was in the last stages of Alzheimer’s disease, unable to communicate or recognise her family, she suffered continual seizures before being heavily medicated to drift into hours of unconsciousness in her hospital bed. In the darkened ward of an interminable night her two daughters kept vigil by her bedside, reflecting on the life they had all shared together and praying for her peaceful passing. Doris suddenly opened her eyes, the blank stare had gone, the faded blue eyes were as blue as they had ever been as she stared straight at them with recognition. Her daughters greeted her reassuringly, encouraging her to look for the Light. Moments later Doris slowly raised her eyes towards the ceiling as a look of wonder crossed her face, she was clearly looking at someone or something. Her gaze never faltered and moments later she breathed a sigh and was gone.
Arthur had once been a regular attendee at chapel but as age and illness dimmed his faith he had become an unbeliever with a philosophy that ‘once your dead, you’re dead’. Unable to raise the topic of a potential ‘after life’ his daughter felt powerless to help him through a long painful illness made worse by the miles which separated them. A therapist suggested she communicate with him at the soul level, to reassure him in his journey. As he drifted into unconsciousness in his last days, she sat beside him asking for the help he needed. Arthur suddenly sat bolt upright and said ‘Jen, I can see the stars!’ passing peacefully moments later.
THE LOSS OF A CHILD MUST SURELY BE THE ULTIMATE PAIN WHICH NOTHING CAN EASE, LEAVING A LEGACY OF ANGER, DEPRESSION AND DISILLUSIONMENT AND GRIEF WHICH NOTHING CAN ASSUAGE AND QUESTIONS WHICH CANNOT BE ANSWERED. A HOPE THAT THE LITTLE ONE IS NOT GONE BUT SIMPLY CHANGED WILL NOT RESOLVE THE GRIEF BUT CAN CONSOLE.
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic Arlo was born prematurely on 24/01/20 and placed in the Intensive Care Unit. Diagnosed with a serious bowel disorder he also suffered a cardiac arrest, leaving him with a brain injury. Four weeks later he underwent surgery to have a large part of his intestines removed. After being ventilated and medicated for 5 weeks his parents were told that the operation had not been successful and nothing more could be done, he would never be able to eat or even to start bottle feeding.
Unable to visit or sit by his side due to the Covid restrictions and told that it is just a matter of time before they lose Arlo, his devastated parents, Sophie and Luke, were left with the choice of whether to leave ICU to spend the remaining precious time together. Arlo came home to be with his family, where at last he can be held and cuddled.
We can only wonder at the courage of these young parents and the extended family who despite their own grief, raised funds and collected Easter gifts for other children who were ill in the hospital. Hopeful that their ‘gofundme’ page might raise enough money to allow them to seek a second opinion, they know that the reality is that his journey will be brief. Any remaining funds will be donated to the Pediatric ICU. To donate: www.gofundme.com/little-nicu-solider-arlo
The loss of a much anticipated child even before birth is a different pain which perhaps can only be understood by those who have experienced it. For those who accept the belief in the continuity of the soul through many lives, there is the compensation that no soul is ever lost, with evidential research showing that souls often return to the same family group: A grandmother overjoyed at the news of her daughters pregnancy was looking forward to a new grandchild. As the pregnancy reached 3 months she was wakened one night by a dream in which a little girl was calling to her saying ‘I’m going now grandma… I have to leave…I’ll come back” Puzzled she tossed and turned the rest of the night, the number three impressed upon her mind. Three days later her daughter miscarried and the family shared their grief. Three months later her daughter conceived again, giving birth to a healthy baby girl after an uneventful pregnancy.
Post Script: 18/5/20: Arlo’s blog advised everyone that he has ‘now gained his wings’ after passing at home with his family.
See also: The Living Memory Research Trust : Loss and Bereavement