Death Threw an Unexpected Curve Ball

I want to tell you about my dad needing to go to ER, feeling anxious to be comforted by you, only to realize you are not able to comfort me. I feel so alone without you.  Watching you breathe, knowing you won’t be able to take care of my hurts with a mere hug.

My dad died last night.

The evening already had its challenges.  Bill’s breathing was erratic.  He was unsettled.  At times like this, I lay there and listen as an invisible anxiety barometer escalates my pulse with each breath.

Somehow, my body gave way to sleep.

A text arrived that startled me awake.  It was from my sister.  Just three words:

He is gone.

I caressed Bill’s hand as I told him about my dad.  I know he heard me even though his eyes remain closed.

I told him my crazy thought that maybe my dad wanted to be there with his dad, side by side, to welcome Bill home.

I take comfort in this thought.

Bill is near the very end of this horrendous battle.  A long battle that has caused so much pain.

I hear the words play in my head all morning of a song by Mercy Me, titled, “Finally Home”

I’m gonna wrap my arms around my daddy’s neck, and tell him that I’ve missed him. And tell him all about the man that I became, and hope that it pleased him. There’s so much I want to say,

There’s so much I want you to know.

When I finally make it home.

When I finally make it home.

Then I’ll gaze upon the throne of the King, frozen in my steps. And all the questions that I swore I would ask, words just won’t come yet. So amazed at what I’ve seen! So much more than this old mind can hold.

When I finally make it home.

I take comfort in him being home with His Savior.

Thank you for your continued love, encouragement, and prayers for us.

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An Unexpected Love Letter

I noticed the paper, folded in half, with only my name on the outside.  I quickly closed the laptop, not ready to read its contents.

Eventually though, I open it and absorb his words. Words carefully penned from Bill to me.

As you know, I’m the wordy one. What you may not know is Bill writes love letters to me on occasion, and am almost always guaranteed a sweet paragraph on Valentine’s Day. But this heart-filled year, I was heartbroken by the omission of his words, and my tears betrayed my nonchalant demeanor when I realized there were none.

I assured him it was ok, because truth was, it was ok.  But, still.  I think the turmoil of losing so much to this nasty disease got the better of me as this cancer has stolen many precious moments on its path.

Two months later, I’d long since forgotten Valentine’s Day.  But, apparently Bill had not.  Since Easter has already been a roller coaster of ups and downs, the fact that he loves me that much to place such effort onto paper, makes me adore this man even more.

I’ve included it, with typos and all (so maybe my grammar-friendly friends will let up on cringing on the other side of the computer at the sight of my many errors :)) so you can know the determination it took to write this short sentence, since exhaustion and the encroaching cancer has taken so much from him.

Hi Josie

I wanted to say especialy today-happy Easter. Remember is our celebrating of passing from one life to the after life. 

Regardless of what happens we still havee each other. You have been the light to me for so many journies. You have been so strong, keeping this house together both pysically and spiritually. Our path has never been easy we have gone through a lot. And we are still running. We will be a strong family until the end

Bill Boo

Today, I bask in this moment that I will treasure for a lifetime.

Happy Easter my friends.

 

Desperately Seeking Miracle (A Gethsemane Type Prayer)

For the life of me, her words elude me.

Did she say, “It won’t be long.”

Or was it more like, “It will be soon.”

What did she say?  This is too important to forget. That, and what did she mean anyway? She, being a Hospice nurse. They came to the house on Monday.

I was Hospice trained while living in South Dakota.  I’ve always had a tender heart for the hurting and thought this was an avenue to be of help.  Didn’t know it would be my own husband when my training would be most utilized.

Anyway, the question was put out there on how much time they thought he had left, like we were calculating something as simple as a mortgage rate.

That is when she made reference to his time being short.

Really, it is not as if it is any surprise.  We know it is not long.

“Personally I want it over.”  These words exit Bill’s mouth.  I cannot blame him. Pain can make life unbearable.   I wonder if it is death he desires, or an end to his pain.

Even those who are suicidal, do they really desire death, or is it more of a longing to depart from living in turmoil, which causes one to want to prematurely end oneself?

I woke up the other morning thinking of King Hezekiah.  He was given a short time to get his affairs in order because he was given a death sentence.

His fate was forecasted, and he earnestly begged for his fatality to be at a future date.

And God gave him an additional 15 years to his life.

Now, there is speculation on whether this was a good thing in the end, as this king did not end on a good note.  His legacy was tarnished by pride along with offspring that happened to be one of the worst in Israel’s history of kingship.

So, I asked Bill what he would do if he had another 15 years.  He said he wouldn’t want to live like this, referencing the pain of cancer.

I assured him I don’t believe that would be a miraculous healing to live for years upon years in intense pain.

He said he would proclaim Jesus.

We began praying for a miracle.  Don’t get me wrong, we have been praying for this all along.  But, without any other options on the table, this prayer is desperate.

I think of the desperation of Hezekiah, or even King David, when the course of his son’s life was determined to end soon, David continued to beg God to intervene until the very end.

Unfortunately, David didn’t receive the same answer as Hezekiah.

Hezekiah was yes, David was no.

I think of Jesus, in the garden, on his knees, dripping of anguish, desperate–expressing his desire for the cup to pass from him.

His wasn’t only a matter of life and death, but so much more.

Still, through it all, his heart was one with His Father.

My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.

Afterward, he rose from the garden, and went onto a torturous death.

So we may live forever in His Presence.

The soil is prime for a God-size miracle.

A Gethsemane-type prayer is prayed.  Raw.  Desperate.  Through tear-stained eyes.

Maybe it will be the physical healing we so desire. If not, our hearts are focused on a future when the existence of pain and suffering will be extinct.

In the meantime, I try to be like Jesus, asking, but accepting all the same.

Peace When Life is in Pieces

“I know Bubba. I know. “

Oscar, AKA Bubba, stands in the doorway as if reading my thoughts.  Yes, he may be a Border Collie, but it is as if he knows something is just not right.

For days I contemplate writing.  Something.  Anything.  Yet my words fall short and fragmented.

The days are abrupt and long.

We found out the cancer made it to his shoulder bone.  Not a surprise.

Your hands cup your head as if it cannot hold the weight alone. Pain relief is a pill and a pillow away.

I haven’t seen much of you the last couple of days. Family left for home, and your eyes have been closed ever since.  It seems the energy extended has left you without reserves.  After Hawaii, it took five days to see your gaze again, outside of a glance here and there before closing.  I hope it won’t take that long as I feel our time is short.

I haven’t mentioned much about the trip except I cannot say with authenticity that it was worth it.  At least not yet.  Guilt accompanies this statement. Maybe because my hope was something entirely magical, all pain diminished, energy restored, and every thought and moment illuminated with the intense clarity of a new high definition TV.

Maybe when the pics from the photographer arrive, I will see with fresh insight.

The flight home made me tense as I struggled with turbulence over the large body of blue.  The flight there was similar.  Reminds me of Tom Hanks and the movie, Cast Away, waiting for the crash and wondering why I didn’t pay close enough attention to the attendant when instructions were given about the location of my flotation device.

Anyway, on the ride there my mantra went something like this:

Calm the air Lord.  I know you can.  Calm the air Lord.  Smooth it.  PLEASE LORD.

I hate having the fear of flight over bodies of water.  Still, I refuse to allow it to get the better of me by keeping me land-bound.

Anyway, as the choppy air surfaced early on, my mantra was replaced by something different:

Please God, cradle this plane close to your chest.”

At my petition, the choppiness became calm.

I’m not sure if the air actually smoothed itself out, or a peace from within smoothed the anxiety away.

After we landed in Los Angeles, my girls mentioned the turbulence was bothersome to their slumber.  I mention that I recall the flight to Hawaii being much worse

“No mom, that flight was worse,” one of them remarked.

“Oh.”

Sometimes I wonder if it’s not the surroundings that necessarily change, but the realization of His nearness in the midst of adversity, holding us close, that results in the peace we so desperately covet.