End of Life


My daughter died recently at the age of 26. She was severely disabled. She was microcephalic, seizure disordered, blind, had a tummy tube for feeding, was spastic quadriplegic and functioned at 3 months. I adopted her when she was 5 years old, though she had been with me as a foster child since she was 11 months old. After 4 weeks in the hospital, I made the decision it was her time. I prayed that if she had karma left that it be placed on me to work out for her. Did I do her wrong?

—Pat Cummings, USA


Dear Pat,

First, I want to offer you my deep condolences on the loss of your daughter. You became very bonded to her and were dedicated to her. I also want to thank you for your big heart. You adopted a severely disabled child and raised her to age 26. You imply that you had to make the decision to take her off life support. And it seems that you waited 4 months to do so. I imagine that the medical professionals had looked all of the options, and this was the best one left to you.

Please look at it this way: your daughter was trapped in the severely disabled body for 26 years. She could not feed herself and had to be fed by a tube. She was blind and functioned at the level of a three-month-old baby due to microcephaly, which I assume was a pronounced case. On top of all of this, she also suffered seizures and was spastic and quadriplegic. So, I assume that some infection landed her in the hospital, and after considering the medical advice and bleak options, you consented to withdraw life support.

It seems to me that it was God’s time to call your angel home. The Divine Light wanted her to be free to fly, walk and talk and see colors and light. She served her 26 years and God released her from that prison of flesh and bones. No love is ever lost. You will see her again in all of her soul glory.

You did the right thing. Her medical case was overwhelming. even before she got her final infection or illness. Twenty-six years is a long time to serve out such a sentence.

The only thing that I disagree with is that you prayed this way: I prayed that if she had karma left that it be placed on me to work out for her.

Some souls may still have boatloads of karma to work out. A profound Guru can see how much karma is left, and he may opt to take on some of the karma of his disciples who are almost in the free and clear.

It is usually not wise for the average devotee to take on the karma of another soul because 1) we don’t know how much karma is involved, and 2) we don’t if we are strong enough to handle such a spiritual burden. Bottom line is that a person should pray very deeply before offering to take on the karma of anyone for any reason. You should feel a sense of divine permission. But, again, tread very carefully. Most of the time it is much better to pray for a person rather than to offer to take on their karma.

God looks at the heart. I believe that at the heart of your prayer is this intent, “Lord, if I am somehow cutting short her opportunity to burn up this karma, place that remaining burden on myself.”

Yours was indeed a pure-hearted prayer of a mother, but I still caution against it for the others reading this post. Your lifelong love and devotion to your adopted child allowed her to burn up most or all of the karma, whatever it is. My guess is that the particular medical karma is already finished, or greatly decreased. If any karma remains, the divine would give her a chance to work out the remainder in a milder manner in a future life.

When a parent has a severely disabled child, there is always the question in the parent’s mind, “What happens when I leave this world? Who will care for her?”

God has resolved this issue through your daughter’s dire illness that landed her in the hospital for the last time. You served her soul well. You listened well. I know it is hard, and a parent second guesses all of the choices made, but from what you have shared, it seems to me you made the best choice and the only choice.

Paramhamsa Yogananda writes, “Death is not as terrible as you think. Death comes to you as a healer… When death comes, all our mortal tortures cease; they cannot go beyond the portals of death.”

Rejoice that your daughter is now free at last from all of those bodily troubles. Pray for her soul expansion and enlightenment. As a mother, you could not immerse your self in watching your child learn and grow because she was so disabled. But you can pray now for her soul to blossom in God’s Light. She will benefit greatly from your loving prayers. Transmute your grief and fears into love and good wishes for her ongoing soul development. No love is ever lost. You will see her again.


Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry