Too often, we sit with a family in an ICU room waiting for one medical professional after another to come into the room while we quietly monitor machines that keep precious loved ones alive.  Too often, we emotionally and spiritually prepare ourselves to minister to a family grieving after the loss of a child whom they have fought and struggled for decades to keep alive.  Too often, Life meets Death in a valiant struggle somewhere between heaven and earth and Death wins.

It’s early this morning.  Too early to be awake when I must drive most of the day.  However, I can’t sleep because three close friends are meeting death this morning in yet another heroic battle.  Ed’s parents wait and pray.  Ed is in a drug induced coma–aware but asleep.  It is the same drug that killed Michael Jackson and it must be closely monitored.  But nurses must have a lunch break and the numbers can plunge downward when the medical team is off duty.  Therefore, Ed won’t be left alone.  Sleep will come in snatches for his parents.

His mother and father watch and wait talking to their son and each other with strong, happy voices because they understand that Ed can hear their conversations.  They speak of the future and good times.  They relate antics of nieces and nephew, living in other states.  They make happy plans for dates and lunches.  When they leave his room, they weep. 

Sunday Ed was well, happy and joking.  This recent memory haunts the hospital room, lending credence to the fact that this is a bad dream, a cruel hoax.  The certainly of this moment cannot be happening.  How can a healthy man one day, lie dying the next?

Nevertheless, this is the reality that parents of children with disabilities live with each day of their lives.  For all of us life and death are tenuous.  For them, it is a daily battle that wages war against their hopes and dreams.   Their truth plays games with their hearts, tricking their wits and casting their emotions to and fro until they become incredibly strong, yet amazing vulnerable.

Pray for Ed.  Today they will learn if irrevocable damage has been done to his brain, heart and lungs.  Today the medical plan calls for the machines to be unhooked.  Today, the death watch will end.  Pray for life.  Pray for God’s wisdom for a struggling family.

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