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  • Mj Pettengill

If It Is in You, Pray


Praying Rocks, Solitude, CC0
Praying Rocks, Solitude, CC0

Recently, I wrote about social death and how it is very active in the world today. I came across this term when researching the current novel that I am writing. In the case of the orphan girls in my study, they were often taken from the streets and other friendless settings and placed in institutions, Magdalene Laundries, for the duration of their lives.

So, how this translates is that these individuals who are at risk had no one looking after them. There was no oversight. If they were taken into these horrific institutions, no one knew that they were missing. Hence, in society, they were as good as dead. In actuality, they may have had an exhausted spirit, but they were alive and breathing.

After looking further into the circumstances that are considered social death, I came to the elderly. In many cases, our aging grandparents and parents become a challenge to care for. With most homes having both adults in the workforce, it is already difficult to navigate daily life with or without children, never mind trying to care for an aging relative.

The cost associated with private in-home care is nothing to sneeze at. This is when it’s time to send the old folks to assisted living, nursing homes, and similar facilities. Sometimes, it means sending them far away. It depends on the cost.

If one has the financial means, this can be a calm and peaceful transition. Those without access to the finances to afford decent care are committed to what we can compare to the County Homes of the old days. Yes, some of these places are nice, and it’s not a big deal. This is not the case in all counties, states, and regions of the country.

I know that when it was time for one of my grandmothers to be placed in a home, it was very far away—you had to drive through a dangerous pass in the North Country to get there. This made it hard to visit her, especially during the winter months. So, my grandmother experienced a social death. She was alone, cut off from her loved ones.

I was a young college student at the time. I remember voicing my concerns to my father. Although he was in agreement, it seemed to be the only solution. She did not have any signs of illness when she was admitted. However, she was unable to stay alone.

When her health started to deteriorate, there was nothing specific to pinpoint as an ailment or disease. She stopped eating, and she was disinterested in any activities that were part of the daily life at the nursing home. She was a quiet woman. It does not surprise me that she wasn’t into playing bingo or watching television in the common area. She died a social death first, which led to her physical death.

I know of many others who have fallen prey to this sad state. Now, in these times, the social death rate has expanded and risen. Not only are the elderly still placed in homes, but the ones who would have had a more quality life because of their loved ones being able to visit are also cut off. They are meeting their end alone. This is tragic for the dying and for family members waiting outside of the walls mourning a death for which they are unable to participate.

Ah, yes… you may shout out that they are vulnerable. If the elders contract the virus, they will surely die. What happens when they are dying and are hospitalized and still unable to have visitors in the hospital? What about the fact that they and their loved ones have had the “shot” and are masked and still unable to see them? How many have died alone? How many more will have this end-of-life experience?

I lost both of my parents—my mother in 2018. She was spared from this global disaster. Her relatives were there and said goodbye. I held her hand, and my daughter and I were able to sing to her. She was surrounded by family in the hospital and then at home. She did not die alone. Someday, when I am finished with my memoir, Marya’s Mother, I will share the story of her life and death.

I have been made aware of several agonizing situations where families are kept away from their loved ones. The most recent is a friend whose mother suffered a dramatic fall, sustaining severe injuries. The daughter was informed of the injuries and told to wait it out. At this point, while her mother is in the hospital, she cannot see her.

Not only is the daughter concerned for her mother’s well-being, but the mother is in serious condition, separated from her family. With all of this swirling and twirling information about masks and vaccines, why is this happening?

Then, some are riding the roller coaster of workplaces shutting down, facing reduced circumstances wrapped in the uncertainty of it. Drugs are rapidly funneling into the country, making the cartels mega rich at the cost of so many. Where are these drugs coming from? Who manufactures them? How are they getting here?

The suicide rate is increasing. I recently watched a video about this colossal event directly connected to the present state of affairs and how it is not being reported. This brings me to our country’s borders. We get bits and pieces of information, but there is much more in play that is being suppressed. What do we know? What don’t we know? Now is the time to question everything.

I have witnessed in this present suffering that those who find their light reignite their inner fires. Even if one is down to an ember, it can be rekindled. Fan the flames. Let them burn brightly, brighter than ever before. These individuals are reclaiming lost fragments of their souls and embarking on a healing journey, seeking the flames of courage.

Once on their feet, they will carry a torch through the deepest darkness—a perilous path, indeed. They are re-learning self-trust and how to see in the dark. It seems frightening at first, but with dedication, faith, and proper guidance, there is illumination. Yes, the shadows are menacing, but we are equipped to find our way.

Hold space for those who are afflicted. If this is you, reach out to a trusted family member, friend, or professional. Do not give up. You need not suffer alone. Choose to part with your pain and unworthiness. Find the lessons that accompany them. Call for help.

As I remain here in God’s country, I make decisions for myself. I am a sovereign being whose intuition and instincts are well intact. I practice a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. It is from my observer’s perch that I have a limitless view.

At this time, I suggest that you pause and take time to access your deepest self. The way out is in. Make life-altering decisions only after you have given them much thought and done your research. By research, I mean looking beyond the mainstream and social media so that you have several sources for comparison.

Be strong, and be safe. You are much more powerful than you remember or think. I am not recommending that you just wildly buck the system. I am asking you, during this time of mass hysteria and conflicting information, to practice discernment. And, if it is in you, pray.