Saturday, 5 April 2014
As I mentioned before, I grew up in the Catholic faith because like most kids you do what your parents do...without question or really understanding what the church really stands for. But other than the take-aways of fear and incredible guilt - I did learn about the concept of purgatory - that alleged limbo between heaven and hell - and if I had to really describe in a word where I am right now - purgatory seems as appropriate as anything. I am living a quarter of the life I lived before - primarily housebound and with very little that I feel capable of changing. Even my doctor remains perplexed by my body failing - then bouncing back to this state where my organs somehow hang on - and nothing terrifies me more than going on like this indefinitely. There is something almost akin to the boy crying wolf - where the word of my impending death is deeply felt by many who care for me - and so it is almost like embarrassment that things change so slowly. But as hard as this is to say, nothing gives me less comfort than when people interject their own religious beliefs in their effort to be consoling - when I believe these are deeply personal and the assumption that I share these beliefs could not be further from the truth. I do have my own belief system - which is entirely personal and that I have come to after many years - and while I respect people's faith - regardless of what that may be - I don't believe it is anyone' s right to assume it is welcome or comforting to me from where I sit now to impose those beliefs on me no matter how well- meaning they try to be. Again, I feel guilty for raising this - but I would urge people to think long and hard before sharing with me or any other palliative patient their own thoughts on the "after-life". I am not looking for conversion at this stage of my journey - and beliefs are not fact - just concepts that some people seem to find comforting - which is fine and admirable -but never assume that I or anyone else necessarily shares that point of view.