The Long Goodbye : Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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12 Responses

  1. Michael says:


  2. Em says:

    i was an only child and tasked by God with the responsibility of an aging mother also… i wasn’t her favorite person as my father was unfaithful during her pregnancy and it seemed to her that, somehow i had caused the problem. Thus there was an undercurrent of hostility between us all my life. Time and again she’d accuse me of being cold hearted and cruel. She, too was a fashionista of the highest order and an active member of the Republican party (i consider myself an independent BTW).
    Yes, i was tasked by God – caring for a person in their 90s is time and thought consuming even if that person is friendly… my mother wasn’t and even though she was in assisted living and well cared for – we visited daily as did a caregiver – in her mind i was causing her “incarceration.” But she had no choice. She had to rely on me and, in some ways she did trust me. Deep down perhaps she knew that i was not the bad person she told me i was… Perhaps, i will be surprised to find the person she was deep down inside in eternity….
    i realize the trauma she went through, never quite recovering from my father’s betrayal and that it was easier to place blame than to deal with unpleasant realities – her way of coping.
    AND i do think, however, i will see her again in heaven as she never lost sight of what redemption was or who Jesus was… We aren’t perfect and we shouldn’t run from that fact…

    Just rabbit trailing off of memories that Dr. Duane’s post has brought back to mind… be there for your parents… it will make life easier for you when they are gone
    God keep

  3. Michael says:

    Good stuff, Em…

  4. Captain Kevin says:

    Really good connection, Duane.

    Em, it’s not nice to make a grown man cry.

  5. Pineapple Head says:

    Thanks Duane. Insightful and eloquent. You affirmed my thinking of late.

  6. Duane Arnold says:


    As with the church, it’s often not easy, but it’s what we need to do…

  7. Duane Arnold says:


    Many thanks. I think many of us are coming to similar conclusions…

  8. Em says:

    Captain, don’t feel badly for me – i grew up in my grandparents’ home and they were Christians of a high order

    Dr. Duane, it is easy to say God’s way is best – words are cheap, but Gods way REALLY IS best, amen

  9. Michael says:

    The hardest part of both situations is the inevitability of the end…

  10. DavidM says:

    Duane, thank you for your words of wisdom. What particularly got me was your reference to wanting you mother to be the way she used to be. After my father passed away in 1996, my mother was left managing an apartment building in the LA area, as well as working as a librarian for a large law firm in downtown Los Angeles. She had already suffered the loss of my sister and would shortly suffer the loss of my youngest brother, each gone in their prime. So, she would ask if I would drive her to Laughlin, Nevada for a few days. She and my dad would go there a few times a year and she really enjoyed the experience. (She was not a gambler per se but would play slots and enjoy the desert air). So, I agreed. I don’t know how many times we went together but it was more than a few. I would drive and we would listen to music and laugh all the way there and back. On one trip, she asked if people paid me for officiating weddings. I told her that I did not require it but that I always received an honorarium. She asked me what was the most I had ever received. I thought about it and then told her that I had once received a gold coin. She turned and looked at me and looked shocked. “Really?”, she asked. I said yes. She was quiet for a minute, then asked, “Why would someone give you a bowl of coins?”. She was thinking that her poor son was getting a few pennies and nickels. We laughed so hard that I almost drove off the road! We always looked forward to those times. But then her health began to deteriorate and those trips became less frequent. She passed in 2018 but those last 5 or 6 years were not easy for her. I would go to Palm Springs to visit her and it was very difficult for her to simply go to dinner. But . . . I wanted her to be the mom she used to be. I had a hard time transitioning from having fun together to being more of a care-giver. When she passed at the age of 88, it was the mercy of God that she was taken. Her life would only get increasingly worse. Now, however, when I think of her, I don’t think about the last few years of her life but I think of the good times we had and I smile and give thanks for a most loving and wonderful mother.
    When it comes to the church, I find myself times looking back on the “good ol’ days” and smiling. It was a privilege to be a part of an historic time like the Jesus Movement. But, in looking back, I am missing what I can do now. It is more difficult in many ways, as I am also aging, but as long as I have breath I can serve and love others and be an encouragement to younger believers.
    Thank you for reminding us of what we do have and what we can do and that transition is unavoidable.

  11. Michael says:


    Thank you for that…

  12. Duane Arnold says:


    After knowing you all these years… so much in common. Yes, we need to look at what we can do in the here and now. My wife often scolds me for taking on “lost causes”, but I think it is in the supposed “lost causes” we can find the greatest opportunities to love and serve, as you so rightly say…

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