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Dexter

The power of prayer

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This past weekend I made a special trip two states over to visit my grandparents. Specifically my grandfather whose health is rapidly fading due to his considerable age. It has been a very quick decline where, at Thanksgiving, my grandparents could travel without assistance. Then by Christmas, a small stroke took out my grandfather's legs. Now, just a month later, his mind is flickering like a lightbulb struggling to stay lit. It was clear that sooner, rather than later, was the time to visit. So I visited with them over the weekend. I did get to speak to my grandfather some. At times his eyes were bright and he was fully lucid, but then at times his eyes would glass over and he'd lose his grip on the moment. We were able to talk during those lucid moments, though I could also see he exerted a lot of effort to hold to his right mind. Sunday afternoon came and it was time for me to return home. But I was conflicted. How do you end a visit like that knowing with reasonable certainty that this will be your last? Hand shakes and well wishes? Hardly. Tearful embrace? That's not the type of man my grandfather is, nor any of the other men in my family. I stalled, unsure how to give finality to the moment. He was losing lucidity anyway, having exhausted himself talking to me. Then my father who was there too just said that before either of us left, we'd like to pray with my grandfather.

 

My father doesn't know of my deconversion so this was not a presumptuous statement. And nor was I about to say no in that moment. So the three of us held hands while we prayed in a circle. Me, of course, just expressing my thankfulness (to no one in particular) about being able to visit and appreciation for the moments I'll forever cherish. My grandfather also mustered the strength he had left and also prayed his thanks for being blessed with a family so large and so close as he'd never imagined when he'd taken a fancy to my grandmother more than 70 years ago. He prayed until he had no energy left and afterwards, he reclined back in his chair with a large smile on his face. 

 

That was the closure I sought. 

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I’m sorry about your grandfather’s decline but I’m glad you were able to be there with him and other family members.  You handled it well.  We’re all on this rock together, believers and non-believers and sometimes it’s just best to link arms and support each other regardless of any differences.  It’s good too to have an attitude of thankfulness even if we have no deity to thank.  It was a bittersweet day I’m sure.  Thanks for sharing it with us, Dexter!

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That sounds wonderful Dexter! Good for you and your father and your grandfather. I’m positive the visit was very welcome on your grandfather’s part even if it was exhausting. How very thoughtful of you to spend time focused on your grandfather when he is going through what must at times be a confusing and disconcerting period of his life. Most importantly he felt your love for him. Probably the three of you were able to acknowledge the significance of the reunion and your love for one another through the prayer format when otherwise it would probably have seemed too awkward to attemp. i’m sure you’ll treasure the memory of your visit for the rest of your life.

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I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather but but seems like a wonderful way to say goodbye! Sometimes it's not worth it to try to explain your own angle, and you have to perform whatever it is in their social language they do to express acceptance and gratitude.

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I'm also sorry to hear about your grandfather, but I'm so glad you got the closure you were seeking. I recently lost my Granny and I suspect soon my Grandfather may follow and I've been feeling quite anxious about how I will react to all this now that I no longer believe in prayer or an afterlife. 

 

Thank you for this post. I think it's beautiful that you were able to break down any walls and just be present in that moment to cherish your loved one, regardless of any differences. I hope I can find the courage to do the same when the time comes. 

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On 1/21/2019 at 5:27 AM, Dexter said:

My father doesn't know of my deconversion so this was not a presumptuous statement. And nor was I about to say no in that moment.

 

You handled that like a man, Dex!

Good on 'ya!

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