Pope John Paul II: The Last Phase of His Life

2nd of April 2005, the world cried at the loss of one of the greatest personalities, a man of god, the bearer of peace, Pope John Paul II. The successor of Pope John Paul I ascended to papacy on the 16th of October 1978 and continued till the very last day of his life. With infinite accomplishments and contributions that he made throughout his existence, (as the Pope and before) he was claimed to be one of the most influential and loved leaders of the 20th century. His rigid stance to resist communism in his homeland and also the whole of Europe cannot be forgotten for ages. His faith in Christianity and his efforts to inculcate true Christian beliefs in the hearts of the people inspired millions around the world.

Although the Pope lived and worked for the greater part of his life to make positive changes in the world, the last few years had been grueling for him. Italian physician Renato Buzzonetti was the personal physician of Pope John Paul II since the time he ascended to papacy in the year of 1978. According to him, the Pope even in the midst of extreme suffering, refused any sedatives and pain medication and gave himself completely to Mother Mary (‘Totus Tuus’ or, ‘totally yours’). His suffering, like the works of his life, was heroic.

The ex sovereign of the Vatican was diagnosed of Parkinson’s disease as early as the year 1991. Then, Buzzonetti had assured the Pope saying that ‘no one has ever died of a shaky hand’. The world watched as the disease progressed, and his condition deteriorated from bad to worse. He had developed very intense joint pains especially on his right knee that made it difficult for him to walk or, even stand up. Following this, he had to use a cane and then a wheel chair. It was very hard for the world to witness the ‘Pilgrim Pope’ – the one who had traveled the distance of almost three times to the moon and back, in this condition.

In the last few weeks of his life, loosing all autonomy on his own body, the Pope lay prostrate on his bed or, chair, totally dependent on his helpers for any kind of movement. Sadly, he was completely physically disabled. His voice was weak and feeble and his breathing was labored and short. Buzzonetti also had to perform a tracheotomy on him that took away his ability to speak. Once he arose from anesthesia, he wrote on a board with chalk “What have you done to me. Totus Tuus”.

The last few days were a test of patience and suffering for not only the dying Pope, but also for the ones who had witnessed the suffering and could do nothing about it. Buzzonetti knew that this brave struggle against the inevitable will result in defeat. And so it happened. 2nd of April 2005, the Man of God joined the Holy Father in Heaven. Millions gathered to show their respect and bid their final farewell to the Pope. People today are still connected with the aura of the Pope through bronze statues that are carved almost to perfection. Many have claimed that this statue emits a feeling of peace and harmony in and around the house where it is kept.

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