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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 309 - Never Go Full Retard {FMF}

Five Minute Friday again, and again I am writing ahead. I will try to work in the keyword when it's revealed. Apologies, but it's just the way it is.

(The word is MOM.)

I have a confession...I almost violated Robert ("I'm just a dude playin' a dude disguised as another dude!) Downey Jr.'s Prime Directive...

Never go full retard.

This post was originally written as  meditation on how I have come to understand the ethos of suicide under extreme conditions. It' was thoughtful and true and empathetic...and totally off the mark for this blog.

Yep. Went full retard.

I wrote it when things were really bad, and I had been spending large part of my time in a foetal position, waiting for the pain to abate, just a little...or waiting for myself to get used to it.

Well, things were that bad, and as I write this are a bit worse, but the thing is...

I have control over my own mental ambience.

It's my choice to look into the abyss, or to raise my eyes unto the hills beyond, whence surely cometh the promised help.

It's human to grapple with despair...but we're supposed to rise above that. We're creatures of Light, caught halfway between dirt and divinity.

We are Mary's heirs, feeling the pain of the labour of God's Mom, birthing Heaven in the manger's mire. (There! The Word!)

We can grovel in the dirt, or raise our hands in hope.

So that's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna...wait for it...


Turn the beat around.

For anyone who's interested, I left the original post intact. It was originally called Suicidal. It follows below.

Yeah. Full retard. An exercise in navel-gazing, and perhaps instructive in what not to do when writing a blog post.

But hey, at least you get two musical selections!


Morphine or a bullet.

That is what things have come to here. I spend a lot of each day (as mentioned in my previous post) lying on the floor in a foetal position, waiting for the pain to abate enough to be able to rise again. And perhaps do something worthwhile.

In the past I decried those who chose to end their own lives, considering it a cowardly abnegation of God's gift of life.

I am eating those words. If I could stand removed from myself, and see what others see, I would hand over a cup of hemlock, without qualm. Enough, observed, is enough. Let it end, and God will, most assuredly, understand. Of this I have no doubts; not any more.

But not for me.

Not for me, because I still have accountability that overrides pain, that overrides despair, that overrides hopelessness.

And you, dear Reader, are a part of it.

I promised to bear witness to life being worth living, to God's blessings outweighing pain, to the ultimate hope we witness with everyday kindness tipping the balance against hopelessness.

I promised to care for my wife until death do us part; I can't do much for her except making sure she has food to take to work, occasionally fixing dinner, and moving the refrigerator so she can do the needed repairs. The physical work wipes me out, but I am still far larger than she is, and there is some strength left.

I promised my dogs I would be there for them, to feed them and let them out and love and hold them when the memories of their past abuse, before they came to us, becomes too much to bear.

I am needed, and there is no easy exit.

I am a devout Christian, but I am also a Zen Buddhist, and in my Asian genes is an understanding of the Tokko boys of the Second World War, the Kamikaze.

For a full understanding, please read Mordecai Sheftall's stellar book, Blossoms In The Wind. But know this - these boys who never became men willingly gave their lives for a purpose. They didn't seek death for its own sake, or for vengeance. They were willing to die for those they loved. It was a pitiful misunderstanding of what an Allied victory would bring...but they accepted death with the knowledge they had at the time.

And they were not without humour - Sheftall relates the story of a group of tokko boys whose favourite (female) innkeeper had been jailed by the Imperial secret police, the Kempeitai, for selling liquor out of hours. So they invaded Kempeitai HQ, broke a few heads, and retrieved their beloved mamasan. What were the authorities going to do about it? order them to crash their aeroplanes into an American ship?

And so, I will follow them, in my way. I will work myself to unto death for my wife, and my dogs, and for you, dear Reader.

Life matters, cessation of pain really matters, but honour matters more.

This is the reality. The dirt and the gavel and the pain and the splinters of the Via Dolorosa.

In the words of Robert Frost,

"I have promises to keep,
and miles to go before I sleep."

But this isn't all Teutonic Sturm Und Drang.  There's some fun to be had here. Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light orchestra have my back!

A bit of news..."Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart" has come home! Tate Publishing has gone south, and I regained the rights, so it'll soon be available in both Kindle hardcopy versions once again. In the meantime, if you absolutely can't wait (!), you can still get used copies from Amazon.

I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.

Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.


And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.

If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.


  1. Andrew, your honesty, your perspective speak those deeper truths. We do have a choice. And we can never really say we'd never do something, because well, in the right circumstances, we might do them, or consider those actions. Your commitment to living each moment well inspires me. I'm praying for you, Barb, and the dogs, my friend.

    We can grovel in the dirt, or raise our hands in hope.

    1. jeanne, that's so true...we do have a choice, and we really can't say what we would do under a certain set of circumstances. I was sometimes SO judgemental until I realized that I could, with ease, consider that which I had ridiculed. Scary.

      We thank you so much for the prayers!

  2. I'm praying for you, Barb, and the fur babies, Andrew. I have learned to carefully consider before I use superlatives like 'never' and 'shouldn't.' We don't know what we would do in any given circumstance. May God continue to give you the strength that you need to face each day and each new circumstance.

    1. Anita, that careful consideration of 'never' and shouldn't' is a recent learning for me. It was hard to look in the mirror, for a bit, after that. I had been so prejudiced.

      Thank you so much for the lovely thoughts, and for being here.

  3. Choice is a powerful thing Andrew. Thankful you are choosing to look beyond and above to the God of hope.

    1. Debby, thank you so much. It's a choice I have to reinforce every day.

  4. Thanks for sharing this Andrew! I can be such a slave to my thought patterns...I have to constantly remind myself that it's my choice! Love the Gloria Estefan- she rocks!! #fmf #6

    1. Amy, this is perfect..."a slave to my thought patterns". That is so exactly right, and so concisely stated.

      And yes, Gloria rocks!

  5. THIS: "I promised to bear witness to life being worth living, to God's blessings outweighing pain, to the ultimate hope we witness with everyday kindness tipping the balance against hopelessness." Yes brother Andrew! Thank you for being these things even when it's hard. I can't help but think of "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it." I'm in the 7 spot this week.

    1. Tara, thank you for this. I'm so grateful for your kind words and your prayers.

      And your post this week was just terrific. So moving!

  6. Thank you for this, Andrew. My grandma isn't doing well. At 94 years old and living without my grandpa the last 12 years, she is DONE. She is ready to see Jesus and rest. Watching her decline (gracefully, but still decline) has made me reevaluate my own views on the end-of-life..... You're right - you just can't know until you live it. Until then, giving grace to those who are making hard choices.

    1. Oh, Annie, I am so sorry...that must be very hard, and I'll keep you - and your grandma - in my prayers.

      You're so right. All we can do, and the fullness of what's required of us, is to extend grace.

      Thanks so much for being here.

  7. Andrew
    Once again your post brings hope! And you always work the word in just beautifully. Laughing so hard at the title before I even started reading it. Praying for you and thinking about the promises, yeah I've made a few...They ain't always easy. I'm #23 this week.

    1. Mary, I am so glad that you caught the fun! And yeah, promises can be pretty tough sometimes.

      Thanks so much for the prayers!

  8. Praying for you. Thank you for making me think.

    1. Cathy, thank you so much for being here, and especially for the prayers.

  9. Suicide hurts everyone. Please don't even think of ever killing yourself. God isn't finished with you yet and you'll never know until you get to Heaven how many lives you've influenced in this world.

    1. Jan, I won't kill myself. I know God has a plan, and I'm kind of interested to see how it unfolds, aside from being totally unwilling to hurt those to whom I matter. But I do have a lot more empathy, now, for those who take that fatal choice. My burden can still be borne, but I can see, and feel in the depths of my heart, that there are some loads that can no longer be carried, and that the best thing I can do is to extend grace, the grace I have been given.

      Thanks so much for being here!

  10. Now may the God of green hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of Holy SPirit. Romans 15.13 (xo)

    1. Susan, thank you for this, it's perfect! I am secure in hope and peace with the situation, and with a kind of joy I would never have thought possible.


  11. First time here, so I've read back a bit. I'm sorry for your pain, and am so glad you are choosing to raise your hands in hope. I appreciate sometimes groveling in the dirt is the easier way out. I admire your honesty and your beautiful writing. Thank you for sharing your story and I too pray you feel God's peace and presence today. Keep turning that beat around!

    1. Joyce, I'm so glad you're here. Thank you for this kind and gracious comment, and especially for the prayers.

      I'll sure keep the beat turned ;round!

  12. Andrew, i found both posts very helpful! It's my choice to look into the abyss, or to raise my eyes unto the hills beyond, whence surely cometh the promised help.

    "It's human to grapple with despair...but we're supposed to rise above that. We're creatures of Light, caught halfway between dirt and divinity." so true! may GOD have mercy on you as you deal with this pain and the many symptoms you struggle with. i wish it were possible for you to have hospice care...both for the comfort they can give you but especially for the pain relief they could give you. blessings brother as you walk this path.

    1. Martha, thank you so much for the love and affirmation you've so graciously given me in this comment. I am so grateful!

      Pain relief would be so welcome...but without it I can still manage, and be a witness to something deeper than I have ever experienced, something of God's immanence writ in blood.

      So glad you're here!

  13. Prayers for the pain you are going through, Andrew. Your strength gives the weak hope. Your words are your voice to God, as "you bear witness to a life worth living." Amen.

    1. Bonnie, thank you for this, and for the prayers. You are always in mine!

  14. I pray that your body would receive God's healing. I don't know how, I don't know what, and I don't know when, but I still pray and ask for it.

    1. Norma, I truly appreciate this prayer. Healing would be wonderful!

      But then, so is the grace I receive daily. I can't complain.

  15. Always amazed at how you are able to encourage the rest of us in the midst of your suffering. Your words are always so full of life and hope. Thanks, Andrew.

    1. Jeannie, thank you...for these lovely, affirming words, and for being here.

  16. Andrew,
    well with all the fanfare, I had expected much more dire straits, honestly. :)
    "I am needed, and there is no easy exit."

    Even without a terminal prognosis, it is easy for each of us to pretend that we have control over when we breathe our last.
    It's that part of us that wants to be god over our own life instead of letting God be our god.
    We want to have control. Control over pain, control over joy, control over our circumstances.
    We want to quit when it's too much, too hard, uncomfortable.
    That is why fellowship and community are vital to sustaining a healthy life.
    And, if you are no longer able to leave your home, why a support network via the internet can continue to bring joy and hope.
    Truly, Andrew, we DO need you. We want to you to be victorious over this illness. We have such joy in hearing your voice through the keys on our computers. Hurrah! Death has been defeated by Jesus and Andrew still carries on the good fight!
    I cannot fathom the anguish and sense of enduring suffering that you have been carrying as of late.
    But perhaps, I will share this with you that I heard today: Ephesians 2:9, we are referenced with the same Greek that Mary was referenced with in Luke 1. "Highly Favored"
    It means "graciously accepted and highly chosen".
    You, Andrew, are Highly Favored. God chose you as His Son. As His masterpiece. He chose a woman to birth you into our world, that you would live to bring Glory to His Name.

    And, oh, well done, thou good and faithful servant!
    Such growth and faith has manifested in you these last two years. May your legacy continue as you persevere, for your character has definitely been chiseled into God's Masterpiece.

    Blessings, dear Andrew!

    P.S. What's a pitbull's favorite tree?

  17. Tammy, I am so very, very grateful for this comment. You have made my day, and my year.

    Truly, I am victorious, borne aloft on the shoulders of my friends. When I could not go further, I prayed that I might throw myself into the arms of my friends 'out there'...and you have borne me.

    It's a weird feeling, By my giving up control, death and fear are now controlled.

    Love back!

    And we LOVE the riddle! Dogwood indeed! :)

  18. Yet again, Andrew, your honesty and vulnerability is so valuable and brave. You look bleakness in the face and come away smiling. That is true courage.

    1. Emma, thank you for this - you made my day with this lovely, kind and gracious comment! :)