Friday, July 2, 2010

St. Brice of Tours (c.370 to 444)

I made a promise to my mother on her deathbed that I would have regular colonoscopies for the rest of my life. She told me that her colorectal cancer could have been prevented if she hadn't waited five years (at the suggestion of her doctor) to have a colonoscopy and that if her death saved another person's life then it wasn't a waste.
"From when you were a little girl, you always had faith," she recalled. "Don't give it up because of what happened to me."
My mom died on a 90-degree August afternoon. I was sitting on her bed with my cousin, Dorothy, and her baby daughter, Maia. Dorothy told my mom in a gentle voice that it okay to leave us. So, she took her last three breaths and that was it.
There was no horrible death rattle that the hospice book had warned us about. It was not frightening.
It felt like her spirit rose up above as a calm, serene feeling enveloped us. I looked out the window at the apple tree that my mom so loved, one last time, and after Dorothy and I left the bedroom, we never mentioned what happened that day ever again.
(I just found a recent article about five common deathbed experiences. To read it click here.)
As my mom was taken from the house in a black body bag, I thought about what my friend, Carl, told me about death. He said that once we die our bodies are only a shell that we've discarded. That the spirit lives on.
So as I drank a 64-ounce mixture of Miralax with Crystal Light last night to cleanse my system for today's colonoscopy, I thought about how brave my mom was and because of her I have a chance for a longer life.
St. Brice of Tours is the patron saint against intestinal diseases. He was born c.370 and as a young orphan was rescued by St. Martin of Tours and raised in a monastery at Marmoutiers, France. St. Brice succeeded St. Martin as the fourth bishop of Tours.
Legend says that after a nun in his household gave birth to a child rumored to belong to him, St. Brice carried hot coals in his coat to the grave of St. Martin showing the unburned garmet as proof of his innocence. But, the people of Tours did not believe it, so St. Brice travelled to Vatican City to have his sins removed by the Pope.
He returned to Tours seven years later and died in 444. His feast day is Nov. 13.

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