For those who have been praying for Brother Denny, this is the latest update this morning on the CaringBridge site - PLS keep him and his family in your prayers...
Longing to be released.....will you join us in his prayer? by Andrew Weaver
Written Jul 2, 2012 3:05pm by Jackie Kenaston
We are grateful that all the friends who connect with us through this site have allowed us the freedom to be honest about our experiences, and to share the difficulties as well as the joys of this journey. The last 24 hours have definitely been among the most difficult we've experienced yet, and it seems that all our faithful friends and prayer warriors deserve to be updated.
Papa had some pain in the region of his heart during the night Saturday night, but the caregivers were able to keep him relatively comfortable with a small increase in his regular morphine intake. He actually had a wonderful beginning to his Sunday morning then, asking for a bowl of his old favorite Life cereal (the first time in months), engaging everyone around him in conversation, and praising God for His goodness, all while sitting in the kitchen in his wheelchair.
As the morning progressed, he became very uncomfortable with increasing pain that failed to respond to the morphine. Since family members were expected back from church shortly, the caregivers moved him from the wheelchair to the quietness of his bed, which was an excruciatingly painful move. Even after being settled in bed, Papa's pain continued to increase even as we offered him all the medications we had available to control his suffering.
There was little more we could do except gather around his bed, weep with him in his agony, pray earnestly to God for mercy, and do our best to keep him comfortable. Even in the most excruciating pain, he was thinking of others, expressing love to Mama between his groans, and apologizing for the pain we experienced as we watched him suffer. Anyone who has been through a similar experience knows the feeling of utter helplessness at those times. We have never known more keenly our own weakness and inability to control our lives, or our desperate need for God every moment.
The hospice nurse on weekend duty had several rare Sunday emergency calls to attend to, so we had to wait several hours for her arrival in answer to our call. There was little she could do for Papa's immediate comfort, but she encouraged us that the levels of pain medication could safely be increased as much as necessary to alleviate his pain. We continued to increase them through the long, long hours of the afternoon and evening, and gradually, ever so slowly, it seemed that the pain level was dropping from a 10 to 8 to 6.
As you can imagine, everyone was exhausted, but no one more so than the brave soldier who endured such indescribable pain. Over and over he had begged God to just flip a switch and end his suffering through the mercy of death, and we found ourselves echoing those prayers in our own hearts.
Around 7 PM we gave Papa his sleeping meds, and to our immense relief, he slowly became more comfortable and gradually dropped off to sleep. We took turns sitting with him throughout the night, and he eventually drifted into a deep, coma-like sleep that continues as of 10 AM this morning. We are so grateful for the relief he is experiencing from the pain, and we thank all of you who responded to God's prompting to pray during those dark hours.
We expect hospice to shortly bring some alternate medications, since Papa no longer seems capable of swallowing pills, and they also plan to provide oxygen for his improved comfort. The symptoms we are seeing all suggest that we need to prepare for his passing very soon, and we have all released him to God in our hearts. Watching him suffer was excruciatingly difficult, but it did help bring us to the point where we know we will rejoice through our tears when he is released from this body.
Standing helplessly by while he was in pain gave me the same feeling that I've had as my wife endured the pain of labor and childbirth. There was the same feeling of helplessness, of asking why this process must be so difficult. However, I trust that it will also end like a birth, with a glorious moment of triumph and celebration of new life. The glory and victory of that moment will erase the memory of the pain and suffering. What a glorious celebration when a child of God breaks free from the shackles of this cursed earth and fallen body, and bursts through the veil into the dazzling glory of the presence of God, at Whose right hand there are pleasure forevermore!
To those of you who have continued to pray for Papa's healing, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Your faith and zeal has been an inspiration, but now that he is longing to be freed, would you consider releasing him in your prayers? Yesterday during his suffering, he asked each of us individually whether it was okay for him to go, and one by one we gave him our release. While we know God often glorifies Himself beautifully through healing, we also know that sometimes He wills the story to end with His, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord." Papa is longing to hear those words, and for his sake we hope and pray that he hears them very soon.