Doubt, and Worry of Death


L.J. “Pat” Carney

Back in 1995 when I was 53 years old, I wrote a Father’s Day
piece for The Des Moines Sunday Register about Pat Carney, my 94-year-old
father. It was entitled, “Dad, at 94, Is in Transition.” He died the exact same year.

“It was only a couple of years ago,” I wrote, “two decades
immediately after his retirement and 10 years immediately after my mother’s death, that he started
displaying indicators of senility. His physician mentioned he was in the early stages of
late-onset Alzheimer’s illness.

“His losses are formidable. His spouse, all but a single of his
4 brothers and sisters and almost all of his buddies are deceased. He nonetheless
asks for them, believing he will quickly take a look at them – or his personal parents or
grandparents – ‘on the farm.’ He does not know exactly where he is, the year, month or
day of the week. He only sometimes recognizes his youngsters or remembers that
he has youngsters. His sight is poor, hearing poor and he has a permanent catheter
to empty his bladder. Formally fastidious about his look, his garments routinely
put on proof of his most current meal.

Corridors of his Thoughts
“He spends most of his days in the narrow corridors of his
thoughts, apparently dreaming about the previous, usually believing he’s nonetheless in it.

“Judging by the requirements of wholesome young people today, his life
is not worth living. But as miserable as it seems, from one more viewpoint
his decline is as all-natural a method as its opposite, the exceptional improvement
of an infant. He loses a single motor or cognitive function immediately after one more,
antonymous to the way infants get them. No one laments that an infant can not
speak, consume without having assist, slobbers and wears diapers. An infant is in
transition, it is mentioned. So is my Dad.

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“…Our family’s belief that a greater life awaits him tends to make it
much easier to realize and accept what’s taking place to him. And it tends to make me much less
fearful of ending my days in a equivalent way.”

Now firmly entrenched in old age, am I nonetheless much less fearful of
ending my days in that, or any, way?

Yes, I am nonetheless much less fearful. I have small worry of death, but I
worry the discomfort and suffering that appears inevitable for the elderly. And equivalent
to my parents, and quite a few generations of our household, my faith has a lot to do
with it. I think in a loving, merciful Father who does not permit his youngsters
to dissolve into oblivion, and trust that God will assist me confront what ever

I consider about death nearly every single day, but I look at that
standard for a person my age. I do not fixate on it, even so. I leave the information,
such as the exactly where and when, to God and attempt to reside life as totally as my
situations permit. Each my spouse and I are blessed with superior wellness, but I
understand that could transform at any time. My motto, which I think is
God-inspired, is, “Live till you die.”

Portion of Faith
As for doubt – departing from the tension I felt about it in
the previous – I also leave that to God. I look at doubt portion of faith and my
search for God. And as I’ve described prior to in these blogs, my doubt is
in all probability no deeper than the doubt of quite a few agnostics and atheists about their
views of reality.

One particular of the prayers I’ve produced my personal is that of the father of
a sick boy in the Gospel of Mark. The father asks Jesus for a remedy. Prior to
granting his request, Jesus replies, “All issues are achievable to him who
believes.” The father answers, “I think assist my unbelief.”

Faith is not a matter of mere emotion, of becoming capable to really feel
God’s presence (though that sometimes takes place to some of us for the
briefest of moments). It is a matter of understanding that one’s faith is
rational, that it is a present from God, who aids you preserve it, and that, as Mother
Theresa wrote, it calls for not only faith but faithfulness all through a

I hope I am as faithful as my Dad.


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