When Death Follows a Healing

If you’ve been following these journal entries, you know that my sister-in-law’s mother, Big T, suffered a terrible brain aneurysm nearly three months ago. I’m sorry to say that Big T died last night.

There are some details that I left out of Big T’s story that I can now share—the main one being that she was an alcoholic who had long been held prisoner by her addiction. When she suffered the aneurysm, she had been on a three-day bender and was “sleeping it off” for a couple days, as was her pattern. Of course, that rest from drinking was when the aneurysm occurred. And as you may recall, it wasn’t discovered right away and led to her being injured more severely than if she had received immediate medical attention.

While Big T’s waking up from the coma and her slow path toward rehabilitation were clearly miraculous and a source of joy for her family, the damage to her liver, compounded by the injuries from the aneurysm, were too much for her to overcome.

I must admit that in the days since the healings I facilitated for Big T, I wondered whether her waking up was entirely a good thing. Yes, it meant that her family didn’t lose her right then, but the care that was required, the suffering she endured, and the burden it was placing on her family members was quite extreme. I worried how that would affect my brother’s family and whether they could stand up to the stress of constantly driving back and forth three hours or more each way, day after day.

I’ve often thought about the fact that I didn’t really do the healing—I was just the vehicle for it—and what happened as a result of it was not in my control. But had I done the right thing? I didn’t ask for permission to do the healings. My brother asked me to facilitate a healing after I had already done a couple. Yet I recall clearly that the healings were given out of love and out of a sincere desire to help Big T with her transition into death, and not with any expectation that she would live. So I was surprised (shocked really) by what happened after the third one, when Big T came out of the coma.

Any thoughts I had wondering whether I had done the right thing were quickly laid to rest. All it took was hearing my sister-in-law talk about the time she had with her mother these past months that she might never have had; how grateful she was that her mother knew how much she was loved; and how fortunate she felt to be there last night when her mother was passing away.

So while my sister-in-law and her family are naturally saddened and in grief, there is relief that Big T is no longer suffering, and there is heartfelt appreciation for the time she had and for the bonding that happened before she left her battered body.

Healing is an exercise in trust. And I trust that Big T received the healing that God intended for her…

…and so did her family, including me.

As the subtitle to Dr. Pearl’s book says: Heal Others, Heal Yourself.

Maria Benning

©Maria K. Benning, M.Ed., FPRH

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