I can hardly believe its been 3 weeks and 2 days since that day. On December 22nd, 2010, Mike, my nephew, Abraham, my BFF, Kelli, and I set off on what appeared to be a road trip to spend Christmas with our families. Would that I have known how my world would have turned upside down such as this in that short of an amount of time…
Even though 3 weeks and 2 days seems a relatively short amount of time, I cannot believe how these days have packed in such intense extremes: joys and sorrows, laughing and weeping, grieving and celebrating, teaching and learning, giving and stretching, sweetness and snapping…on and on and on. Each day contains too many things to really try to do justice in sharing more of it now. And honestly, often times from lack of sleep, trying to deal with mine and others intense emotions, working with our Hospice Team and helpers to manage Mom’s care & meds, still settling Mike and I into the spare bedrooms, slowly discussing with the local awesome retired Priest our wedding preparations (FYI, no we don’t have a date or location as of yet – discerning that still), receiving the calls/emails/cards/visits from so many family and friends that love my Mom and want to express it while there is still time….well, I simply haven’t had the energy to write a blog, respond/read all my emails, return that last phone call, or respond timely to all the texts. Thanks for your understanding, and please do not stop them!!! As I am convinced more than ever that I am far from being alone in this, thank God.
I must also say that what the Priest told me in Confession the other day has perfectly captured what I’ve been living. The Christian life, and our experiences within it, is meant to be “played like a team sport.” He explained it using this metaphor: I’m a Cheerleader at the top of a Pyramid, and all the others are supporting me to do my thing up on top. Well, unlike my sister-in-law, Jennifer (who we picked up from the airport last night as we dropped Paul off at his hotel for a 6:00 am flight back to Dallas) who as a high school 4’11” Cheerleader did this frequently, I’ve never physically experienced standing at the top of a Pyramid formation. Frankly, just thinking about it makes my knees quiver a bit, ha ha ha.
Yet this morning, with my sister-in-law, Jennifer, here for a short visit and spending time with Mom and taking care of her needs with my Dad now up too, it gives me a short bit of time to write and reflect. I actually was trying to sleep, since 4 hours or whatever it was between the things Mom needed to be comfortable, but with too many things swirling in my head, it was time to write.
Some people love the thrill of standing on someone’s shoulders, or whatever they do up there, at the top of a pyramid formation. As for me, being a “solid girl” as Grandma used to say as she touched my powerful physique (wink), I’m used to being lower in the base to support the tiny girl on top. I’m used to that, it’s comfortable, and I can do it well, I humbly admit. Now being asked to climb up a few levels quite suddenly, well, it’s a whole other routine now. Bit-by-bit, with your prayers and God’s grace, I’m “getting my sea legs”, so please continue to pray. So many wonderful family and friends have been supporting me, it sometimes is overwhelming. From something that appears as small as a whispered prayer, to dropping off a meal and giving a hug, to the huge blessings such as the local wedding shop owner coming to our home with 10 dresses (1 of which is now MINE – and no, pictures will not be posted here since Mike visits my blog) so that my Mom could cross off the 1 more important “Bucket List” item of dress shopping with her daughter…well, all I can say is that, “He loves us.” But this really isn’t about me, now, is it.
I know you want to know how my Mom is doing, so I will give you a brief update. We’ve had her set-up on Hospice for about a week now, and they have been a tremendous support. I really like the team of caregivers we are working with, such a relief. They told us the only thing we can do wrong is not to call them, so we’re getting pretty good at that. 🙂
Mom doesn’t have a lot of pain at this point, thankfully it is more discomfort. She is on lots of medications to help everything possible, but probably the best one she takes is what they call the “wonder drug” – a steroid that helps manage her pain and increase her appetite. And she certainly has been eating better and more in the past week. From one day to the next last week, Dad and I saw her legs stop functioning enough to support her, and that was really hard to witness. She is bed-bound now, which is beyond difficult for an almost 64-year-old ‘Life Lover’ who likes to get-up-and-go. I believe that between that and her own emotional battles, let alone what the ugly Bone Cancer is doing to slowly destroy her body, it’s causing a lot of Anxiety and rightfully so. So we’ve been working with Mom’s nurse to get the dosage right on something to “take the edge off.”
Sleeping through the night is always a difficult thing for all of us. God help me if I ever take for granted again the simple comforts of being able to turn over, get up and go to the restroom, move my own pillows, grab my own glass of water, etc… Yesterday I called the Nurse telling her we needed a new sleeping aid, as the Ambien stuff just isn’t cutting it, and believe me, we’ve tried. Last night, we gave her something new, and after a couple of dosages according to instructions, Dad said the restlessness finally abated after an hour. Yet, throughout the night she still will wake up and ask for things.
Although she is “cloudy” from the meds, she still is mentally coherent mostly. And she of course still pulls out that dazzling signature smile, will make us laugh, or start coughing from laughing herself. She doesn’t complain, only asks for what she needs, and doesn’t say all that much anymore. Again, that’s really hard to witness from a woman who even talks to herself out loud.
Well, I’m getting sleepy now, so I’ll end with an excerpt that I received from St. Faustina’s Diary this morning. If you don’t know, St. Faustina was the one that Jesus revealed a lot about his Divine Mercy to. This is quite paradoxical to what the world screams out to us- I’m sure it may raise some eyebrows. But this is what He reminded me about redemptive suffering, and for those striving to follow the Lord, you may find the spiritual meat also satiable…
From the Diary of Saint Faustina
“Jesus says; ‘My daughter, I want to instruct you on how you are to rescue souls through sacrifice and prayer. You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone. I want to see you as a sacrifice of living love, which only then carries weight before Me. You must be annihilated, destroyed, living as if you were dead in the most secret depths of your being. You must be destroyed in that secret depth where the human eye has never penetrated; then will I find in you a pleasing sacrifice, a holocaust full of sweetness and fragrance. And great will be your power for whomever you intercede. Outwardly, your sacrifice must look like this: silent, hidden, permeated with love, imbued with prayer. I demand, My daughter, that your sacrifice be pure and full of humility, that I may find pleasure in it. I will not spare My grace, that you may be able to fulfill what I demand of you.”