In the interest of honesty and in the wake of a frank and sincere exchange between the original author of the message about which I wrote these comments, I, upon the advice of someone whom I deeply love respect, hereby expose the unexpurgated text of the sincere exchange.
I may have been remiss in not expressing my views about what death (in this world) means to me but as you stated "that's your job". I saw my job as keeping my siblings informed with the progress of the process Dave is going through. I didn't realize that my news was being forwarded. Had I known, I may have been a little more detailed in conveying my thoughts. It most certainly was not my intention to be insensitive to the bigger picture.
When I used the word release I was referring to the pain and suffering he has been experiencing. You may see it as a privilege but I find it difficult to share your view. Each time he woke up he expressed his disappointment that he had not been allowed to leave. Don't get me wrong. He has accepted his lot with the greatest amount of grace and has been extremely compliant with what he has been asked to endure. I couldn't be more impressed with the person he has been throughout his life and throughout this process. I could go on and on about Dave but will just say that a finer person is hard to find. I'm sure they are there but he's right there with them.
Call me weak and ungrateful, if you wish, but I I pray for a speedy exit from this world and into the arms of our Lord and the wonderful souls that have proceeded me. Whenever, that may be will be great, if it's today or many years from now. My uneducated view of the death of God's only begotten Son was to clearly show he had SUFFERED and died and was brought to life in all His glory. I'm sure I won't be taken up in body as a sign for all to see so I don't believe there is a real NEED for me to suffer. I will and will do my best to accept that lot if necessary but I certainly prefer not to.
I do view death as the ultimate REWARD. You know that our family has always "celebrated" death and any tears shed were for ourselves or their loved ones loss and definitely not for the one that had been accepted into heaven. I guess when I get the news that he has passed I will announce it as they announce the passing of the Pope. "The Pope is dead, long live the Pope.", or just use the phone and call a few people that have been following his progress toward his Reward because I may not have the grace to express my deeper feelings through my selfish tears and the ache in my heart knowing I will not see him and have the pleasure of his company for a while.
I'm not unhappy with you for pointing out my lack of expression but sorry that I came across as not seeing the big picture and disappointing you with a representation of our family's point of view. Please accept my apology.
With love and respect,
Your cousin, Al
The first reaction I had to these wonderfully expressed sentiments was to re-read them over and over again for a couple of days. When I gathered myself back into one bundle, I wrote to the person who had forwarded me the original email and said, "Al is a saint!"
The answer came flying back, "Tell him yourself."
By the time the "Tell him yourself" order rang the Gmail bell, I had already begun my response, which follows.
Al & Patty:
Know what? I have read and re-read your touching expression and so it has taken me this long to thank you, sincerely for bringing the grace of your gentleness into my life at this moment. It is a communion of heart and soul that happens only rarely and quite often in moments like this when we are all "dying a little bit and living a little bit' that we discover the depths of what pre-death suffering is all about. It's almost as though we sense the sweetness of Eternal Life through the family pain. Your letter drove me to those reflections.
Everything you said about David is incontestably true. What you said about David will be said about you, Howard, Daniel and Ronald. The Matriarch, the Elder will surely come into her well earned praise as well, some day.
I confess that I pray every day that when it's my hour, that God makes it a minute, not an hour. I pray every day to die like a true Dion...a lightning strike and gone... But then, Iook at my Godmother, Grace and the power of her suffering; rare until my sister Jeanine suffered and now, David. So what is dying like a true Dion? It looks to me like we're seeing a great example of it before our very eyes...and every day we lay eyes and spirit on it, we too die a little and grow a little in the life that we have left. That's God's way, looks like.
Al, I do not have the finesse and the grace that you boys have. I know that I am more porcupine than otherwise, more cactus than rose. I admire the tone of your communiqué. I will never forget it and I will continue reading it because it contains the spirit of the Lord and it admonishes and invites at the same time. I wish I had that grace. I've never had it and I think even God wonders what to do with me about that. So thank you, Allan. Don't you dare apologize to me and, by the way, don't cry at my funeral.
Thanks for the Love and respect,
I'll try to live up to that challenge,
Peace to you all,
PS: Totally off topic: Jackie Dion died on August 20. I found out today. No further details.