Last week Kenny and I went to Carolina Beach to spend some time together and rest a bit. We had a wonderful time. Nothing exciting. I knitted a bit, cooked quite a lot, and got plenty of rest. I missed my parents terribly but knew I needed the rest. They were being well taken care of and so was I. I found myself quite emotional as the week ended and as I was going back to my parent’s home on Monday. I felt things coming in on me, seeing Mama deteriorate and knowing her doctor had mentioned Hospice to Daddy while I was gone. It’s like I could see “the end” down the road, but at times it looked close, and then again it was far away. I think that’s the not knowing. But I trust that God is in control of the timing and am at peace with that. My brother-in-law, Dan Secor, came down from MN on Friday and spent the entire week helping my parents…projects with Daddy and talking to Mama.
I spent a lot of Monday looking for a paper that Mama had written notes on about what she wanted for her funeral service. If you know my parents, they both tend to KEEP things with a passion. I say that meaning that they slightly lean towards being hoarders, but what I learned in my search is that my mother DOES keep things with a PASSION. I found treasure after treasure from our childhood, items from the grandchildren that Mama thought were precious, gobs and gobs of Bible study notes, and I think every card she has ever been given. What made some of these things so special, was that she had documented them. The envelope may have written on it that it was the first Valentine card from Kenny and I after we were married. A ziplock bag with dried flowers from a special event would also contain a small piece of paper with the “history” that went with that particular flower. There were simple birthday cards and other items that were oh so special. So Mama keeping things with a PASSION to me became seeing that my mother had a PASSION for keeping things. As I went through things all throughout this week, I shared those moments with Mama. I was able to let her know how much these meant to me. I was able to share things I found with my siblings and help them feel like they weren’t really SO far away. Keep in mind that I was LOOKING for something in particular. We never did find it. But the treasures I did find!
On Wednesday, Andrew had come for a visit. We had been discussing a song that Mama liked and that she wanted Denise Herring to sing at her funeral. I found it on the internet and began to play it for her. She immediately began to cry as she listened to the song. I laid on the bed next to her, stroking her arm and crying myself. The song, Surely the Presence of the Lord is in this Place, seemed to take her directly into the presence of God. She raised her hand in praise and worship to Him. After the song ended, she began to pray aloud. She prayed for every single member of her family, including future spouses that grandchildren had not met yet. Andrew was really touched by this, seeing a side of Mama that had been private in years past. He jotted down a bit of what she said and it was basically a summation of her entire prayer time with us. “Put your arms around each one of our children. Let there be love. Let there be no division. Hold us tight until you call us home.” It is a memory Andrew and I will always share and treasure.
Thursday was the day we signed up for Hospice care with Hospice of Wake County. It was a difficult day for each of us. The nurses were absolutely wonderful and we are very pleased with them so far. I think it was a difficult step for Mama and Daddy though, like it placed a concrete finality on the situation. Mama was very emotional and maybe feeling like she should say good-bye to people that she didn’t see very often, in case she didn’t see them again. The house was bursting with love from so many people. One thing about Hospice is they do not want their patients in ANY pain. We were able to get some liquid medication for Mama, she’s starting to have some issues swallowing pills, that we can use to help her with breakthrough pain. In the past she has just dealt with it. Now she doesn’t have to.
Friday was full of visitors. A very special visit was via the computer when we Skyped with Grace and Willy Kelly, and were introduced to her first great grandchild, Elizabeth Joy Kelley. “Ellie” was two weeks old and wide awake for her debut. They live in CO and don’t get to NC very often. I am so thankful for the technology that enabled her to SEE Ellie even if she couldn’t hold her.
Of the visitors she received at the house, she had an important message for each one. If she thought she would see them again, she expressed her love for them and they talked about things they shared together. For some she told them about her Savior and how she longed to know that they would be in heaven with her some day. She has had love poured into her and she is also pouring the love out into others. She doesn’t want to miss an opportunity to share about the One who died for her, the One who paid the price so that when she takes her last breath, she will be WITH Him in eternity. She will see Him; they will be face to face. Will YOU see Him? I pray you will.
So this week has been one of extremes; one of sadness and one of joy. One of anxiety and one of peace and rest. The joy, peace and rest come only when we keep our eyes on Him, the only One who can give TRUE joy, peace and rest.