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A Family Crisis: Is Everyone Doing Their Best Or Their Worst?

A Family Crisis: Is Everyone Doing Their Best Or Their Worst?

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Published by Gary Konecky
A discussion about how to behave when a close family member is dying in a hospital
A discussion about how to behave when a close family member is dying in a hospital

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Published by: Gary Konecky on Mar 01, 2010
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03/01/2010

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A Family Crisis:Is Everyone Doing Their Best Or Their Worst?By Gary Konecky
“Honor your father and your mother…” – Exodus 20:12“Every man shall fear his mother and his father…” – Leviticus 19:3
Imagine the scene: A hospital in Florida. The family’s mother is dying. The family’sfather passed away years ago. The daughter lives in Florida. The mother lives in NewYork and was visiting when tragedy struck. The son who lives in New York flies downto Florida.Money is tight. The son lost his job sometime ago. He has no place to stay because thearea hotels are very expensive as this is peak vacation time in that part of Florida.The son and daughter do not get along because the son is gay and the daughter feels thather children will catch being gay from him, besides she believes that all gay men areAIDS carriers and you could also catch that from them. She has therefore prevented himfrom having any contact with his nieces and nephews for years. She has also made it a point to be hostile to him at every opportunity. She has also taught that hostility to her now grown children. Now the mother is dying. The mother’s health care proxy and living will are in NewYork. The entire family is in Florida.The family springs into action. The son and daughter fight. The nieces and nephews takesides and actively participate in the family feud. The daughter makes groundlessaccusations to hospital staff that the son is trying to kill his mother. The hospital thenrestricts the son’s visitation privileges. The son and daughter agree on only one thing,not to tell the hospital staff that the mother expressed her wish not to be resuscitated,thereby violating their mother’s wishes.Is the above scenario honoring the dying mother?What would happen if this were the case? The son flies down to Florida. As a greatcrisis has fallen upon the entire family, they set aside their differences. The daughter opens her home so that he has a place to stay. They meet with the hospital staff and tellthe staff of their mother’s wish not to be resuscitated. Instead of fighting, they pulltogether and honor their mother, the woman who gave birth to both of them.G-d is not a wishing well. G-d listens to our prayers because He wants to. G-d grantsour requests because He wants to. Is it possible that because of their respect for their mother, as shown in the second scenario, G-d will be more likely to show mercy on their mother and grant their prayerful requests for their mother’s recovery? Could themshowing G-d how much they want to honor their mother make a difference in G-d’sevaluation of their situation? I am not a prophet and I do not claim to know the answers

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