This Morning

Friday, 16 Nov 2001

I wake this morning with a pain like I have never felt before. It doubles me over as the tears pour out. It builds in intensity until I think I will die myself. I want to touch Phil. I want to hold his hand, tell him I love him just one more time, tell him how much I miss him. Did I hug him enough, did I tell him how much we would miss him? Did I let him go too easily? I encouraged him to go home. That his job was finished here and that we would be fine. God would take care of us, just as He has always done. And now I agonize over releasing him without showing him the agony that would lie in the aftermath of his departure. Like he needed to see that?!! No! I asked him to please share with me anything and everything he was going through, because he knew I like to write and I told him someday I may write a book to help others get through these times. Maybe there were others who could not share with each other like he and I could, and that it would be of help to someone else. He was so sweet, he would share whatever he could when he could speak. We shared so much in the week previous to his leaving, and during that week he cried more tears than he ever had before as he poured out so many different feelings. I know God was preparing him as he worked through that. Then on Saturday night we sat on the edge of his bed as he told me more of how he was feeling and what he wanted to do and I thanked him for the decisions he was making, so that his dad and I would not have to make them. We would honor his decisions. After that, he was done with the tears. He spoke very little, retreated into himself very peacefully, and just enjoyed the family being around him. We went to church on Sunday morning, he was in his wheel chair, and then we spent the day together as a family, and watched the Raider game. He slowly left us from then on, and we let him, and we cared for him, and we read to him, and we wiped the sweat off his face, and held his hand, and kissed his cheeks and his forehead and looked into his eyes many many times as he would just gaze around the room and at us. The only pain he had was a sore throat because of a cold he had. There was no pain in his body, no discomfort other than congested sinuses. Isn't that an amazing thing considering that his body was dying? We prayed for so many years that if it came to this, to please God don't make him suffer, and he didn't. He was here, in his bed, with us and his dog, and he waited for the "train" to come. The last night I was laying in his bed with him and his breathing was very rapid. He said, "Mom, I know my breathing is bothering you, but really I'm feeling better, this cold medicine seems to really be working now". I said "Phil, you're not bothering me!". He was such a sweet kid. Earlier in the evening he had coughed and then he apologized for not covering his mouth.......!!!! Oh my. He kept mumbling things, but once in awhile I could understand what he was saying. I thought he was hallucinating because I had given him a little morphine to take the edge off his very sore throat. He said, "Mom, I feel like I'm putting everything away. Am I putting things away Mom?" It didn't really need an answer....but I didn't realize until later why he was "putting everything away". His breathing became louder and more rapid, and his heart was beating so fast. I thought maybe I should get up and get some of the medication that we had just gotten from the hospice nurse to calm him a bit. When I walked to his door, Chris was standing outside it because he had heard the commotion going on. I told him to get Dad, and then I went back to Phil's bedside. Phil looked at me and he said, "Mom, I think God is healing me!!! I'm really feeling a lot better. I'm going to feel good tomorrow Mom!!". I said "I love you Phil", and he said, "I love you", and then Chris and Jim were there and Chris said "I love you Phil", and Phil turned to him and said "I..." and he couldn't say anymore and Chris just put his hand on his forehead and said, "It's okay bud, you don't have to say it", and then he started to leave us and it took about 15 minutes for him to go, and at 10:19 PM he breathed his last, and we said good bye and told him what a good job he had done and so many other things. We called younger Jimm (he had just left an hour before) and our minister to the house. When they got here we all sat around Phil's bed and we talked and shared stories through the tears and just spent a very special last hour or so with him, and then we prayed and left his room. I would go back from time to time while we waited for procedures to be done, and he had this smile on his face that I hadn't seen before. Just a little look of "ahhh, I'm done". Phil was not there, just the body he no longer needed, but he was still my son, and I still kissed him and hugged him tightly. I could, because I no longer had to be concerned about hurting him. The process of dying reminded me of the process of being born. We were there to coach him through, to encourage him, to bring him ice chips, wipe his brow, and he was focused. No glasses on, no TV on, just quiet. We read to him all the verses and messages of love from you, and scripture from his Bible, so much, much scripture. Now when we hear verses, we think, I just read that to Phil. It is so comforting, which is probably why I'm in here writing to all of you. To thank you, for helping Phil through his "labor" in being born into heaven. As I left my room this morning in agony of spirit, I went into his room, laid down on his bed and cried, and then I got up, and knelt by his bed, right where I had been while he was dying, and I picked up all the e-mail messages and started to read through them little by little, and they were so comforting to me. To know that these were some of the last words that Phil heard, that they helped him and now they were helping me. I just want you to know that. You were all with him, as we were. Although it was a very private time, it was also a shared time with all of you. And now if you don't mind, because writing this is very therapeutic for me, I would still like to share this journey with you for awhile, maybe for a long while, maybe this is how I will write my book. Maybe some of these thoughts are too private and you wonder why I would want to share them, but life and death happens to us all. Why should we not share that? My tears have stopped for awhile this morning, and it feels good to work through it "on paper". Will you take this journey with me? Or if you like surprise endings, you could wait until the book comes out, and I could take your name off the list for now. Just let me know. Although, we already know how the story ends....we all live happily after, for "to live is Christ and to die is gain". Phil liked that!
So do I!

Just to let you all know, we are still working out details, and will let you know when we know. What we do know is that we will be having a private burial, just the boys and our minister at the grave side. Then, we will be having a joyous celebration service of Phil's homecoming with music and a service and food and lots of sharing about the life of Philip Andrew Shore. What a boy! This will probably be on Dec. 1st, but hold on for confirmation on that.

Many have asked about flowers, contributions etc... We have some ideas about what we would like to do to so please hold on. We'll let you know very soon. Yesterday, we tried not to do too much because we just wanted quiet time to reflect on everything. That was good, and now we'll start to get on with taking care of everything. The food and flowers we have received are being enjoyed greatly! Thank you so much! My sister is working at spacing food out so if you want to contact her you can. Her number is (removed) (Karen). This has been a very long journey with Phil, and one of the greatest lessons we have learned is to take things one day at a time. We are trying to continue on with what we have learned and not hurry through this process of making arrangements and finishing what has been started. (Philippians 1:6 - he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.) We appreciate your out pouring of love and affection but please know there is no hurry with flowers and food and whatever. Slow is good. A little at a time. Our grief will continue on day by day. Flowers and cards today are appreciated, and if you would like to wait, flowers and cards next week or next month would also be appreciated, so we can enjoy each for the special meaning that it holds. When you feel a tug in your heart for us, that would be the time we are needing to hear from you. God knows what we need, and He answers it through all of your love and kindness. You are all wonderful!