*This is the second of a three part series. Read part 1 here
My husband CMadison died May 20, 2013, at home, literally in my arms with a smile on his face. God neither healed nor delivered in the way I very expressly requested. I asked believing and as much as possible I was in a place of obedience. Yet I can attest that my prayers as one of the righteous did avail much. Those prayers, in conjunction with the prayers of many others, coupled with the grace and mercy of God, are the reason CMadison survived a potentially deadly bone infection, a partial amputation, a broken neck, two spinal surgeries interrupted by a “cardiac incident” along with multiple medical “miscalculations”. The coupling of believed prayers with abundant mercy is the reason CMadison survived four months of hospitalization followed by three months of institutional rehabilitation. Daily fervent prayers, new mercies and amazing meals prepared from my garden and served by me, are why CMadison experienced a miraculous and complete recover from the anoxic brain injury sustained as a result of the cardiac “incident” and how he transitioned from a quadriplegic to someone with full upper body control and continued nerve regeneration through his lower body.
And ultimately God gave CMadison the death he always wanted, so maybe his prayers trumped mine. We married in our early 20s and his much beloved grandfather and namesake, Mr. Charles Smith, died within a couple of years. As we drove to Memphis CMadison explained his view of death as an inevitable component of life and that he preferred to experience his inevitable component privately, at home, in bed; and as we were now married, it would be fine if I were present. Further while he had family he loved and respected in the mortuary business he did not want traditional mortuary or funeral services because he thought buying and then burying a casket, “a small condominium unit,” was wasteful.
Finally, although his father and grandfather were seminary-trained, well-respected and doctoral-degreed, Baptist ministers, CMadison did not want an elaborate home-going service with a cavalcade of clergy. His ideal scenario? To die the night before garbage pick-up so his body could be left at the curb with a simple memorial service the next day at church. I gave CMadison (most of) what he wanted. Not surprising to anyone who knew his fierce determination, he died the night before garbage pick-up. I however did not drag his remains to the curb. His good friend and church brother, Mr. Benny White sent folks from C.D. White & Sons to collect his body. We already knew we were going to donate it to The Ohio State Medical Center but Evan, our youngest, was on his way home from Philly. (Evan’s an artist pursuing his MFA @UPenn. CMadison was (almost) obnoxiously proud;). Benny was kind enough to hold the body until Evan arrived because the police will NOT allow you to keep a dead body in your house, not even overnight. Who knew?! So CMadison died Monday evening, his body was donated Wednesday, I ran a small notice in the paper Friday and on Saturday we held the simple service he requested.
And I am still learning to deal with the challenge of faith when God says "No."
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