a reluctant atheist

I'm an atheist who wishes she wasn't. Life would be so much easier!

Miracles or Fairy Tales?

1 Comment

I don’t usually write about anything so personal, but I just have to vent. My father is terminally ill and the doctor recently told the family that there is no hope that he will ever recover. He said we had to prepare ourselves for the fact that he will pass away in the next few weeks. My sisters and I have known this was coming for a long time. It was obvious to everyone but my mother, who clung to false hope. The doctor’s brutal outline of what the end would be like and how we could minimize his discomfort was just what she needed to hear.

Then the priest showed up. He prayed with my mother. He placed his hands on my father and prayed for a miracle.

man and wheelchairThen he regaled my mother with a personal story of a woman who was declared brain dead and who was in a coma for months, then woke up. He hailed it as a miracle from God. He told her that miracles happen every day. Now my mother doesn’t want to remove him from his respirator or acknowledge that my father is no longer present in the shell of a body he has. He is in constant pain but can’t talk, eat food (he has a feeding tube) or even move his own body.

I wanted to smack that priest right in the face for pedaling false hope to my mother! She was prepared for my father to die until her priest came in with his tales of modern-day miracles. So my mother is praying for a miracle that won’t happen. And then what? She’ll think she didn’t pray hard enough. Or that my father wasn’t a good enough person to deserve a miracle. And when he passes on, she will be devastated all over again!

Miraculous tales of recovery aren’t soothing or inspirational when the patient is terminal or the patient is non-responsive. It is a castle of sand and it will be washed away with my mother’s tears of shock and disappointment. I hate what this priest has done to my mother.


One thought on “Miracles or Fairy Tales?

  1. I’m so sorry about your dad. I lost mine to a long illness back when I was in college, and I still miss him every day, all these years later.

    What an awful parasite that priest is. He’s telling her what she wants to hear right in that moment, instead of what she needs to hear. He’ll walk away thinking that he helped her, while that one moment of smug piety on his part may leave her with a lifetime of pain and guilt. Ugh.

    I’ve included a specific “no preachers” instruction in my advance medical directive.

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