Category Archives: suffering

Manliness and a Perfect Funeral

http://jenniferfitz.com/manliness-and-a-perfect-funeral/

A beautiful tribute to my beloved John.

grayscale photo of wheelchair

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Matthew 23

We learned of the allegations against Fr. Flores at our local Latin rite parish, at the end of Mass, and we were just gobsmacked in disgust and bewilderment.  Last week, before I learned of this, I was in a discussion about priests and them not understanding women and children and family life, thinking of a particular homily Fr. Flores said that showed zero understanding of the disabled or families with children, and then this matter came to light.  SIGH.  Finding myself, yet again, trying to explain these situations that I am tired of explaining.
I have been reassured that seminaries are vetting such matters so much better when I asked how are parents supposed to trust our children at convents and seminaries, thinking of the orgies my uncle witnessed at Spring Hill College in the 1960s and he withdrew asap…this priest is a young priest…what are we supposed to do?  This is the fourth? priest in 4 parishes who has engaged in such behavior at parishes we have attended in the last 18 years–and they were all younger priests. The formation problems have not been resolved–apparently, one of the priests at his seminary agrees there needs to be major reform. The seminaries are NOT doing their jobs–but the question is– can they?!  How am I supposed to explain, yet again, to my children and try to comprehend this evil!
This is why we need married or widowers as priests you know, like the original 11. Old enough to have figured yourself out, have a wife to guide and support you in the realm of women and children, and old enough to stand up to sin when you see it. Old enough to have the wisdom the young need, to counsel through the ins and outs of life. The Rock the Church was built on was St. Peter, a married (possibly widower, but St. Clement said married, and either way, he had a wife!) fisherman, accustomed to constant hard work and intimately aware of the family life and knew how to preach on it, with the wisdom of his wife and children and his mother-in-law. That’s the Rock.
Also, he was directly counseled by Our Lady: the daughter, the virgin, the cousin, the wife, the mother, the widow–the spectrum of woman’s experience, including as well the wives of the apostles (why are they denied?) and other female relatives and friends. Are pastors and bishops and the Pope listening to women representing the fullness of the female experience and directly referencing their voices when they consider the implementation of policies, disciplines, and doctrine? (Hint: largely, NO.)
I think women being priests is as ridiculous as men being nuns, but I do think it should be a requirement for such visible counsel, as it is directly mirroring what the Church had, from the beginning–the Church is the Bride of Christ, not the Groom. And from the Beginning, before the Fall even, God said it was NOT good for the man to be alone.  If a priest is truly a celibate, he should be required to have his mother (and father) live with him in the rectory or another female relative and her family. You know, like Jesus did? If He chose to need it, why do we think priests, who are supposed to act in the person of Christ, do not?
And, yes, of course, I am praying for everyone involved–St. Mary’s pastor Father Wilson was breaking down in tears and shaking horribly when he bravely told us from the pulpit–versus NEVER telling us like in other parishes. Pray for him and for all the priests who are having to deal with this. He has consistently encouraged everyone to call the police right away if they have been victims of abuse and has signs up everywhere with that information and with the phone numbers–his leadership should be modeled by anyone who runs any organization with children.
My late husband wrote this 8 years ago with similar thoughts.
adult alone anxious black and white

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“A union of soul with soul more perfect”

My husband, John, the author of this blog, always said he was (_) with a life expectancy of 20. He had a genetic disorder, and so he and I discussed death probably way more than the average couple. I shared this in a discussion about what Heaven will be like, and I thought it might be helpful. It’s from a letter to a young widow by St. John Chrysostom:

But, as it is, we have been relieved from this apprehension, and we are firmly persuaded that in the great day he (the widow’s husband) will appear in much radiance, shining forth near the King, and going with the angels in advance of Christ and clad with the robe of unutterable glory, and standing by the side of the King as he gives judgment, and acting as one of His chief ministers. Wherefore desisting from mourning and lamentation do thou hold on to the same way of life as his, yea even let it be more exact, that having speedily attained an equal standard of virtue with him, you may inhabit the same abode and be united to him again through the everlasting ages, not in this union of marriage but another far better. For this is only a bodily kind of intercourse, but then there will be a union of soul with soul more perfect, and of a far more delightful and far nobler kind.

accessory anniversary band celebration

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People understand “cancer”

(John drafted this but never finished it.  His lifelong struggle was getting people to understand that his condition was as terminal as cancer.  It was very hard for me, as his wife, to see that people did not understand this, how delicate his precious earthly life was and every time they beheld my darling husband, they were beholding a wondrous miracle of God.  Humankind cannot bear very much reality.)

They understand “heart disease.”
They understand “diabetes.”
At least as well as they “understand” anything about someone else’s sufferings.
I’ll never “get better.”  I’ll never “recover.”  I have good times and I have bad times, but my “good times” usually lead directly into my “bad times” because my body can’t take it.
I have  a dissected aorta.  If such things can be quantified, articles on pain often mention aortic dissection as the worst possible pain a person can have (though it can also be asymptomatic).
I have 2 aortic grafts, including an artificial valve.
I have a 4.9 cm aneurysm in my gut that will, if it doesn’t burst first, have to be operated on once it hits 6 cm.  Right now, my left kidney and left leg are getting their blood supply. from scar tissue.  The most likely best outcome of my next surgery will be that I lose just one leg or kidney.
In fall 2008, I spent 2 months coughing and taking antibiotics for “pneumonia” and was told I had a nodule on my left lung that looked like a possible tumor, too small to biopsy or operate on yet.  After my dissection in 2011, I found out it wasn’t a nodule or a tumor–it was scar tissue from a lung collapse that wasn’t properly treated–the two months of “pneumonia.”  I spent two months thinking I had some horrible contagious disease and then 2 years after that thinking I had early stage lung cancer (attributed to my frequent CT radiation) because an urgicare doctor didn’t know that hearing no air in my lung (his words) meant it was collapsed and not pneumonia.
My natural lenses sit at the bottoms of my eyes, attached by a few zonules.  If those ever tear completely, my lenses will pose a risk to my retina and have to be removed.  As it is, if I turn or move my head too quickly, or lay flat, my lenses float up, disrupt my vision, disrupt the pressure in my eyes, and give me a headache.
I have, for simplicity’s sake, a brain aneurysm.  It’s in a vein, so they say it’s nonoperable and won’t burst.  But it’s right in one of my motor cortexes, and when it acts up it causes everything from slurred speech and forgetting how to sign my name to migraine to loss of motor control.
I have a tortuous carotid artery.
I *used* to have mitral valve prolapse, but that has apparently been healed by the Lord.
I have a paralyzed vocal cord, the cost of my last aortic graft surgery, which not only limits my speech but my swallowing and breathing.
I have gastroparesis, and eating too much or eating the wrong foods causes unbearable cramping, nausea and occasionally vomiting.
That’s not getting into my chronic joint problems and the side effects of my medicines.