The Last Heartbeat

August 2018 244

On August 29th, I sat at my son’s bedside and looked at his sweet face remembering the child he once was; imagining his laughter and smile that would fill and light up the room. I remembered the big hugs he gave. I watched as the machine moved his chest up and down rhythmically and sweet, lulling me back to the memories of the days when he would run through the house with excitement over just about anything. I remembered the time, just a month earlier, when he was drug free and we spent the day together hiking and he said with so much joy, “I’m on top of the world, Momma”. I remembered the loving way he looked at me. I remembered the young man who would drop anything to help someone; the young man who held the door open for his mother; who sat at the bedside of his friend in the hospital when others turned their backs; who carried his friend up fifteen stairs to take a shower because he couldn’t walk; who encouraged others and lifted their spirits on a bad day; the son who called me to ask me to pray with him for a friend who didn’t know Christ. I remembered the tender, loving heart underneath that big laugh. I remembered the son who hated to see me cry and hated more when he was the reason I cried. So, I held back the tears, and I thanked God for this beautiful child. I thanked God for this beautiful hand that I held.

I held my son’s hand that night for the last time. I watched as his heartbeat grew weaker and weaker. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the hard part. No, the hard part was the last four years watching a disease consume my child; watching a drug turn my son into a machine that functioned only to replace the drug that was keeping it running; watching him so desperately try to fight it on his own; try to save his family the pain it caused; watching him die inside over the shame- the shame people heaped on him.

As I watched the last heartbeat, I let go of the pain that he suffered. I let go of the pain that I had suffered watching the drug take over my son’s life. I let go of the pain of watching him cry over an illness that he couldn’t control. I let go of the memories of watching him desperately fight a battle that he didn’t yet have the tools to win.  I let go of a child that never knew his worth. Yet I mourned. I mourned silently deep inside for the time he would no longer have to find a way to keep fighting to live; the time that was taken away from that one lethal dose. That one lethal dose that his addiction made him need more than anything else at that moment.

As I watched his heartbeat slowly fade, I let go of the pain and thanked God for the gift of the twenty short years I had with him. I thanked God for the gift of life that my son, through organ donation, was giving to others, as his last gesture of love, with the passing of that last heartbeat.

With that last heartbeat, I vowed to be the voice that he wanted to be; to be the voice he could no longer be; the voice that would carry his story on, as part of this fight….this fight to end the stigma……this fight to end the “opidemic”.

Parker Alan Gill

You are missed. You are loved.

Your life had a purpose.

God is using your story.

The drugs did not win!

You are free. You are home.

August 2018 256

God loves me at my worst….

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There’s nothing you can do to make God love you more; there’s nothing you can do to make God love you less.  I remember the first time I heard this. I said, “Yes”! That is the God I know. That is what the Bible tells me. I don’t have to try to be different so God will love me. He just loves me. The Bible doesn’t say, “For God so loved the world (Paula) when you act right; when you forgive quickly; when you keep that mouth of yours shut; when you obey all my commandments all the time. The Bible says He loves me. Period. After I heard that, I started thinking. I think God wants us to just let go of the pressure of trying to please Him; to spend less time worrying about not being able to earn His love and spend more time just simply loving Him back and getting to know Him better. Whew!! I’m going to tell ya straight,  getting to know Him better by reading His Word and by talking to Him in prayer is a LIFE changer!! That’s time spent I have never regretted!

“For God so loved the world” (that’s you and me). Isn’t that beautiful! At my worst, He loves me. At my best, I fail Him. Yet He loves me the same. Thank you Lord!

“Whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life”. Man that gets me so excited!! I can live this life with confidence knowing this- this life here- is not all there is. All the pain and the sorrow; all the evil and hate in the world; it’s all fleeting. By believing in Jesus and following Him, we escape death! We escape this world!

Believe! Say YES to God, today! But don’t stop there. Go tell someone. Pick up His Word. Get to know Him! Oh what a difference it makes!

Father, thank you for loving me enough to send your Son to die on the cross to save me from my sins and from myself! Thank you for loving me even when I fail you. When, I take my eyes off of you daily and put my wants and needs before you and others, you still love me. Help me to do that less and less and to turn to you more and more! I pray those that don’t know you, might say “Yes” to you today!