Saturday, March 12, 2011

Crossing Over: Reflections on Sorella Morte in Three Parts

"Attirami a Te, O Celeste Sposo! Dietro a Te correremo attrati della dolcezza del Tuo profumo..."
("Draw me to Thee, O Celestial Bridegroom! behind You we will run attracted by the sweetness of Your perfume ...")
-Scritti di Chiara d' Assis, Lettera Quarta, Fonti Francescane, vol.II, Assisi, 1977,2294

A friend was sharing her experiences of her dying loved one and as we comforted each other, I told her the art of crossing over.

"...I pressed her hand to allow her to feel my presence... "

My closest encounter with the dying came soon after my friend and I attended a seminar on hospice care. It was just being introduced in our community. And the timing was great because one neighbor was suffering from breast cancer and was in need of support. Thoughts of visiting her filled my mind until one day we were given the go-signal. Her husband recounted that she slipped into unconscious states most of the time... morphine didn't do her any good. Luckily, I found her awake wearing an oxygen mask (so we were not able to converse)... we held hands for several minutes and that moment froze... I pressed her hand to allow her to feel my presence... She was feeble, but surprisingly, the energy she passed to me was filled with hope... I felt her strength... I saw she smiled afterwards... That was the first and last time we saw each other...

she passed away the next day...

Crossing Over: Reflections on Sorella Morte part 2

 The next few years, a nurse was requested by the Bishop in one of the hospitals in North Africa. I responded eagerly although my hospital experience in the Philippines was short-lived and involved Medical-Surgical Nursing. I was able to thrive well in the Dialysis Center (thanks God)... The mortality rate was high... Two patients die in a week within our shift.

During our daily visits, I realized that even a simple smile could turn a whole stressful day relaxing... I encouraged the nurses to stay with their patients--- talk to them, assist them (because they are continuously hooked on the machine for four hours)...

I saw different faces in the ward... some were serene... a few agonized... others morbid... It was the kitchen staff who'd turn their lives upside down with the food they deliver, hahaha...

Kubler-Ross spoke of the different stages in a dying person's life:

***Sometimes it's difficult to write something especially when my mind works on metaphors... People could be sick in different ways (psychosomatically too)... or they could already be dead while living (zombies)... Dying could be brought about by distressful situations...

In any case, DABDA is relevant in understanding our own feelings when faced by certain difficulties aside from illnesses.

Crossing Over:Living Forever, A Myth? part 3

 With the intelligence endowed on us by God--- allowing scientists to replicate genes and create test tube babies--- NOBODY has ever concocted a potion nor developed a pill for staying young forever (living forever)...

In the medical field, we were trained to use all possible means to resuscitate life...Medicines, researches and treatments only serve to prolong life...but GOD is its source...

On a reflection shared by Fr. Brendan on the Kenosis Hymn (Phil 2,6-11), he said:
"We resent being human; we do not forgive God for making us vulnerable--- we reject death."

Hence, the propagation of a hedonistic culture and total eradication of God in our lives...

Illnesses, mishaps, misfortunes pull me away from myself... they remind me that I'm not in control...I'm not totally self-sufficient... I am in need of others...

I repeat this statement everyday until it becomes a positive thought... and I become grateful to LIFE and the people who surround me...

Death is inevitable---inescapable... It becomes exciting even because we do not know our specific hours... This invites people to become ingeniouses ... to make life worth living...

Death could only come to our physical bodies...but NEW LIFE awaits us hereafter... this is the root of my hope...

Let me conclude with Saint Teresa d'Avila: "Signore, ci siamo tanto sospirati, finalmente e' ora che ci vediamo..." (Lord, we long, finally it is time to see each other)


  1. I am so happy that I read this,with my sister passing away..this has been good to me...Thank you, you.

  2. God Melissa your writings reflect your inner beauty. How satisfying it must be to able to nurse people back to health and yet also accept the fact that some may never recover. I love the last line "Death could only come to our physical bodies...but NEW LIFE awaits us hereafter...this is the root of my hope" We have to believe that there is something more beyond this life after we leave our physical bodies. Very inspiring. Loved it

  3. Melissa this is very well written.. very touching and it is obvious you have a feel for people and their emotions.. Your able to express feeling that people do not like to think about in a comforting way. Thank you for writing this

  4. This is the first time I visited your blog and I was touched by this post. You have such a loving and compassionate heart. I look forward to reading more of your articles.

  5. Melissa, you possess a serene and beautiful spirit. Your writing displays great depth of soul and purity of heart… and hope! I will remember this quote by Saint Teresa of Avila, “Lord, we long, finally it is time to see each other.” And I will return here again and again for spiritual encouragement.

    ~ Debra