A Tale From A Death Bed

Clergy Guy presents another poignant slice of a part of life to which clergy have unusual access:

It was one of those late night vigils where the family was trying to find the resolve to turn off the machinery that kept the man breathing. His wife was hysterical, refusing to believe his brain was gone. She yelled at him to open his eyes, to get up from his bed, that he couldn’t leave her. But he was already gone, leaving behind a hissing ventilator and a screaming wife.

Her grown children tried to help, holding her tenderly, speaking softly, but she turned on them, and verbally attacked each of them. I found it hard to feel kind toward her. I wanted to tell her to pull it together because while her children were grown, they were still young and they needed her. But I resisted the impulse.

Read on for more of this story and ruminations on how most people deal with death in his experience.

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Agatha J.

    This guy seems to be a little lacking in sympathy. Ok, so the woman lost it. As she had JUST LOST HER HUSBAND, well, I should think she did!

    To “excuse” her by saying that she had “other ordeals”- what, that one wasn’t enough?!

    • Daniel Fincke

      While of course it is understandable that if ever someone will act badly it is in the throes of grief over the loss of a spouse, the point he is making is that lashing out hurtfully at other people—especially those also subject to the same grief you are—is not a necessary reaction, is not the normal reaction (in his experience), and is attributable to other unresolved issues. It’s one thing to grieve but another to displace your grief by attacking people who are not responsible for causing it.

  • http://clergyguy.blogspot.com Clergy Guy

    Daniel, thanks again for mentioning my blog.