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Posted Friday, January 06, 2012 9:25 AM Post #19948

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Hi Guest,

The story of your mother's passing struck some familiar chords in my late mother's situation.  She passed on Nov. 1, 1994 (All Saints Day) and remained to the very end a dedicated and loyal CS member.  In fact, she had been for many years a very well respected practitioner in northern New Jersey.  For the last three years of her life she had a slow but inevitable decline through a series of (we now believe) mini strokes, which affected her speech and eventually brought on dementia. 

We respected her wishes, and doctors were never brought into her treatment, except for the following situation.  During this period of time she did have what seemed to us to be a very remarkable healing of a badly infected finger which the doctors said would have to be amputated.  Even in her diminished capacity, she was able to completely handle this in CS.  My brother and sisters (none of whom are active in CS today) witnessed this remarkable recovery.

From what you described of your mother's situation, it would seem to me that the CS method of treatment in her case would have been preferable to what you describe as five years of medical "hell" (feeding tube).  Every circumstance is so unique and individual that it is impossible to make a blanket statement as to what would have been the best way to proceed.

I would like to draw your attention to an interesting "thread" on the website.  (This is the official website of the Mother Church.)  If you click on the "Members" tab, this will display a title bar with various options, one of which is "Community".  If you click on this, it will display a drop down menu.  One of the choices will be "Open Conversations".  Under this choice you will find various discussions, one of which is titled "Christian Science and Western Medicine".  I have myself posted on this thread and I think that you will find some interesting comments there.  They run the gammit  (sp?) of what you would expect.  Some of them are of the "Radical Reliance" school of thought, while others, including mine, are what some on have called "neo" CS.


Posted Friday, January 06, 2012 9:57 AM Post #19949

Dear Guest,

There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to be born and a time to die."
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

I am truly sorry to hear about your mother's death and the troubles you had to deal with for her final care in the nursing home.  It is heartbreaking to watch someone you love go through the dying process, but it is inevitable and we will all make our own journey down this path.  As Christians, we have a great hope, thanks to Jesus and His ultimate sacrifice for us.  Thanks to Jesus Christ, we will live again without the fear of a second death. 

There is an excellent description of the dying process on this link from   The Dying Process
   It might give you a better understanding of what happens from a physical or material perspective. 

Coming from a CS perspective, it is understandable that you might not trust medical opinion, but the doctors' advice to forgo the use of feeding tubes is not as inhumane as it might sound.  Such measures can seem overly drastic, and without a commensurate quality of life, may only add to the suffering and prolong the inevitable.  Dying is a natural process, and while we should never be too quick to submit to death, there are steps we can take to help the dying and make their final days as comfortable and comforting as possible.

Both my father and my wife's father took this journey not too long ago.  My father-in-law, a long-time Christian Scientist, spent his last days in a nursing home under a kind doctor's care.  At a certain point, he just stopped eating, and refused all attempts to feed him even his favorites.  He managed to take in a few ice chips, but that was all.  Over the course of several days, he slowly faded away.  It was hard for us to watch, but I don't think he was in any pain.  In the end, he just stopped breathing, and he died, peacefully.  My own father died in the hospital following a short illness.  Laying in bed and comforted by his family surrounding him, he died with a faint smile on his face.

I am forever grateful for the compassionate care given both these men by true medical professionals, -doctors, nurses, and staff.  And I am equally grateful for the prayers and support of many friends and family throughout these most difficult times.

Posted Friday, January 06, 2012 10:52 AM Post #19950

Mere Kat,
My father's passing was similar. He had Stage 4 cancer and went through chemo and radiation, without which he would have choked to death because the tumor was growing in his throat and he was too weak for surgery. He ate with gusto throughout until the last week of his life. Then he simply lost his appetite. The body shuts down close to death where even force feeding would not be a solution, since the body at that time does not process food nor deal with wastes. Stopping eating is part of the natural process. We did have hospice in for pain control, but no feeding. Ice chips when he wanted them. He stopped breathing peacefully, witnessed by my brother and sister. As you say, it is a journey we will all take one day. Hard as it was to watch, I feel I learned an incredible amount from my father's example of accepting the process of dying.
Posted Friday, January 06, 2012 1:04 PM Post #19951

Thank you nomorecs for sharing your experience and insights. It is helpful to know that we are not alone and we can learn so much from the examples of others. 

Coming into this world and leaving it can be two of the most terrifying experiences of our lives here on earth.  Fortunately, by design I believe, we carry no memory of either event.  Personally, I like to think this is evidence of a loving God, who carefully crafted us with these times in mind.


I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Ps 139:14

The year after my wife and I lost our dads, my daughter and step-daughter were both blessed with the births of baby boys --our first grandsons.  And the circle of life moves on..  

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