Thank You Lord for this new day.
It has been 24 hours. In some ways I was prepared for this day but I found myself unprepared in some others. After several sleep-deprived nights I thought that last night I would sleep from sheer exhaustion. Instead, I found myself awakened with severe muscle spasms several times. Then in the early morning my thoughts kept coming and I knew it was You, God, calling me to come to You, to talk to You, offering me comfort. And so I write.
We talk about strong-willed children. She was a strong-willed woman. That can make for difficult relationships at times. But there were several occasions in these past two months when with her strong will she made her weak, tired body accomplish tasks that it should not have been physically able to do.
Until one day she could not. No matter how much she wanted it to, her body simply could not obey her demands on it. She was not understanding. She considered that to be an act of disobedience. And didn’t hesitate to let the rest of us know how displeased she was at the situation.
The night before last she was determined to make her body obey her wishes. She insisted that she wanted to get up out of that bed. I explained to her that her legs just could not hold her up any longer. They had served her for 93 years and they were tired. From that moment on, no position suited her. She was angry at her body but since her body wouldn’t listen to her then we would. And from eight o’clock in the evening until three o’clock the next morning we did. She finally fell asleep exhausted from all that effort and slept most of the day. A niece came to visit and she seemed aware but didn’t speak. Her caregiver got her ready and she settled in for the night. I sat with her, played her Christmas music, and a little after midnight I went to bed.
I got up to check on her in the early morning hours and thought how good it was that she was finally resting. She was. At times her breathing was so shallow and other times there would be what seemed to me these long pauses between breaths and I would wait thinking is it time? But then there would be a rise in her chest and I would know – not yet. But that morning she looked so peaceful and when I touched her she was warm. As I waited the chest did not rise and I knew.
There were phone calls to be made. The hospice nurse came the and made it official. My daughter-in-law came and then a brother and sister-in-law. More phone calls were made, and another brother posted to her social-media page, so the family and friends heard of her passing.
I found myself at odd moments throughout the day thinking she was calling. Someone would move in another room and my head would turn, was she needing something? Then I would remember. I thought that I was weird until my daughter-in-law mentioned that she had experienced the same thing.
After the others had left we worked around the apartment, clearing out the minutia collected over a lifetime. People accumulate the strangest things.
For her it was greeting cards, small tape dispensers, nail clippers, postage stamps, small change, rubber bands, packets from restaurants (sugar, artificial sweeteners, salt, pepper, and even a few butter tubs).
These were tucked in the desk, in kitchen cabinets, and closets – kitchen, living room, pantry, office, bedroom, bathroom. No room was without some of these things.
There is more to be done, but right now I am thanking You, Lord, for the parents that You gave me, for the family that You set me in, and for leading me on an this exciting adventure we call “Life,” I know that You will continue to lead me through these next days, for You promised that You would never leave me. Thank You, Lord.