The Collected Thoughts and Musings of an Aspiring Political Philosopher

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Stepping up...

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First Day of Winter, With a Vengeance! 12-21-2008 (Julie & Chantelle).JPGIt amazes me how resilient Julie has been these last couple of days. Of course, I know she has such boundless inner strength, but too often she doesn't see that in herself. Her mom, her best friend, her companion for not only her childhood, but much of her adulthood as well, lays quietly in a hospital bed, surrounded by nurses and doctors, unaware of all the bustle and attention as she walks the shadowed ways between life and death.

The doctors have been kind and very informative, taking care to explain in detail all that is happening, as well as what most likely will happen. Chantelle is in a deep coma, her body still functioning; heart and lungs and all the rest are doing just fine, but her brain has undergone such severe damage that they fear there is little hope for her survival, much less her recovery, over the course of the next few days. Her brain is like a computer whose hardware works fine, but all of the programs have been damaged, so that when you try to run them, they crash the whole system. When they try to bring her out of sedation, she goes into horrible seizures all over her body; this tells those experts upon which we must depend that massive areas of her brain are dead and will never come back. And it is these very areas of dead tissue that most likely will accelerate her progress towards her Final Transition.

I spoke in my last post about the brain as the vessel needed to hold the Form that is Chantelle. Today, the doctor told us that the vessel is broken, shattered into a hundred pieces, and that optimism is not even a word they would use right now. Chantelle may recover. We should know something more definite in the coming days. However, the word "may" has taken on a meaning that more resembles a mystical wishfulness than any real possibility. We must now prepare ourselves that the light-hearted, joyful 65-year-old gem of a person who had a 20-year-old outlook on life will never return, no matter what occurs next.

I think that's the hardest, to see someone who had come this close to realizing her dreams of retiring to Denver, starting a new life there, and maybe even finding someone to share the twilight years of life, taken just a week before her Grand Adventure. Perhaps this, more than anything, is why we weep so.

Hope and prayers all have their place, and should never be abandoned even when all seems lost; in fact, even when the object of those prayers is no longer with us, we must keep praying for ourselves and each other: for understanding, for forgiveness, for clarity, and for peace. But honesty forces us to know, in that deepest recess of our soul, that spontaneous recoveries and waking from a coma 5, 10, or 20 years down the road happen more often in Hollywood than they do in the studios of life. Perhaps it would be better if we didn't have these kinds of fantasy images placed there by sensationalized media; it would better prepare us for the reality we must all live from day to day, that gritty substance that gets into the fingernails of our souls as we grapple with the pain and the joy of just living in the here and now.

The beauty of the Now. When all of the facades fall away, the tears flow, the love overcomes the bitter walls of pent-up grudges and petty selfishness. When we step up, and give over to the raw experience of moving past ourselves, and just see everyone around us as another Human, Be-ing.

So sad it takes these kinds of events to bring this about. But so precious all the same, and so life-changing. I suppose it's up to us to determine whether the changes are for the better.


Cam said...

I am on my way....

John and Jaye Cater said...

We are deeply saddened by this painful information about Chantelle. From those sunny, cheerful days at Del Mar Avonics in Irvine, many years ago, to our more recent visit with her in Portland, Chantelle has been such joyous soul. We've kept in touch over all the years and hope the Lord will allow this to continue. Our prayers are with Chantelle and you, John, and Julie. May God bless you all.