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Death is Like Birth

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Creative Commons License photo credit: h.koppdelaney Creative Commons License photo credit: rumpleteaser

I want to share a letter written by my daughter to a family member facing eminent death from a catastrophic illness. In it Jaquetta shares the similarity between the processes of birth and death. I hope you find it to be as beautiful and powerful as I did.

Ray,
I was thinking about you this morning and for some reason I was reminded of the day before Isabella was born. I was two weeks late but I was determined to have a natural birth process. I went to the doctor to find out if I might go into labor soon. Instead, to my horror, I was told that I needed to have a cesarean asap. No inducement, no trying for a regular delivery – just an appointment for the surgery.
In shock, I made an appointment for the next morning.

I went home and became increasingly angry – how dare they take away this opportunity!
How dare they give me no choice!

So, I called my Doctor and told her I was not going to be there in the morning and that I was going to have this baby on my own terms. My doctor came to the phone right away when her nurse passed along the message. She explained to me that it was dangerous for me to wait, that my life, the baby's life were at high risk. And even if we both survived, I could have all sorts of complications and the baby might become brain damaged as a result.

So, I resigned myself to go through this dreaded operation even though it meant my recovery would be slower and I would lose the thrill of delivering a baby “naturally.” I reconciled myself to the fact that natural birth would not be something I would ever get to experience. But the reconciling did not come easily – First I had a tantrum. I sat on the bathroom floor screaming, kicking, sobbing “I DON”T WANT A CESAREAN!!!!” I cried for a long time.

Early the next morning, still raw from crying and in disbelief that I was just going to let this happen, I arrived for the surgery as planned. And then the miracle happened. Just moments before it was time for the c-section, it hit me. I was about to have a BABY. (And I didn't know if it was a girl or boy yet) and I truly settled into the experience. Minutes later I heard my baby crying and the doctor said “You have a girl! – And she has a nice set of lungs on her!”

I was so overtaken with the joy and wonderment of it all that my grief was completely washed away. It was all worth it. There were no regrets. I cried different tears now, ones of joy and gratitude.

Well, I don't know what dying is like, but I think it might be a lot like being born. At first it seems horrible and scary, but I think, just like my experience with the c-section, it might just turn into a thing of pure joy. Can you imagine what God has waiting for us on the other side? There must be a reason they call it heaven.

This sudden sickness has been a shock to all of us. It is hard to believe that this could possibly be the end. Even though I am very sad and I know that every ending is scary, it's also true that the beginning of your new life is ever so close and whatever form that new life is, I'm sure it will be exhilarating and wonderful.

I love you. I love all the joy you have brought us. You are a sweet, sweet soul and you have honored our family by being part of it. Thank you.
May God bless you with courage and strength in the times ahead.

With much love,
Jaquetta

One Response

  1. Quetta – what a beautiful letter you wrote to Ray. You have made some keen insights on life, i. e. God gives us what we NEED, not what we want (the C-Section v.s. natural childbirth) and death v.s. life).

    Thank you for sharing that letter with us. And I’m glad Isabella is here and spreading her joy around Another Way Center…..one beautiful shoe at a time.

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