Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How did she get so brilliant?

I was talking to my daughter about life, how I really felt like a failure because I don't have energy to do anything. (stupid Rheumatoid Arthritis) My oh so wise daughter reminded me that pain in our bodies, the aches, the fatigue is so temporary. That in reality it is our spirit and heart that are well and doing what God wants us to do in the this season. That we need to keep our mind on the spirit and heart and move away from thinking about our temporary bodies. How did she get so brilliant?? It sparked in me, like a light bulb, like the switch was turn on. Why had I never thought about it that way! Here I was defeated, thinking I was a failure because I can't do what I use to do, can't do what I want to do. I was letting the enemy win! I might not have the energy and strength to run a marathon but I can keep my mind on the things that are eternal, that have real meaning, and in this way the enemy has no place in my life.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are[e] being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

I am sure that my daughters were all sent from heaven as a blessing to me, they remind me everyday of the truth, the light, the freedom in Christ!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The heavyness of being me

Why do I feel like I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders? Frustration, overwhelmed, under prepared, I feel all those things at once. Have you ever thought so many different thoughts at once that you could not sort them out? You look at your calender, your schedule, your life and think that there is no way you could possibly take care of everything you HAVE to do. I try to chip away at the list of responsibilities and it still grows bigger. I ask for help and get procrastination and that in turn makes my list longer and more complicated. Today I began to think that I should just give up, throw in the towel, quit, walk out, run away. Instead I just wrote to you.
I could list for you all the things I have going on right now plus dealing with a life long disease but I won't, complaining is something for children and not for us moms. Let's just say there are too many pots on the stove for me to deal with, everything is boiling over and burning.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Remembering mother's day

For the past four years there is an eternal battle that goes on especially around this time of year. Mother's Day is forever changed in my life, gone are the days of cards, flowers, and sweet phone calls. The last Mother's Day I spent with my Mother was in 2008. I traveled to California alone to meet up with my sister and see my Mother on her death bed in the hospital. When I arrived at the hospital she was awake, her eyes lit up but she was unable to talk. She struggled with pain, if you touched her she would scream out in pain, when the nurses would change her position or have to clean her up she could be heard from way down the hall. That first day I know she knew I had come for her. When the doctors came that day they told my father that she was in so much pain and that there was nothing they could do to help her recover, no surgeries, treatment or medical expertise. I don't think my father really understood what was being said to him, I think the shock and his partial deafness spared him from what the doctor was saying. The doctor continued with discussing my mother's living will that stated that she did not want to be in pain and that she did not want extreme live saving measures taken. The doctor wanted permission to take my mother off the pain pump with morphine and to put her on a morphine drip. My father agreed and we left her in her room resting comfortably. My sister and I left with my father and headed back to his apartment, we had come for mom but we had also come to help my dad deal with the situation. He is a quiet man, a proud man and often shuts down instead of facing situations head on. I wished he knew the Lord so he could feel comforted by him but he doesn't care about Jesus or God. My sister and I felt pulled back to the hospital but we would have to wait until the following day to see my mother again. That night we made a list of people that we must call to inform them of my mother's situation, Daddy would deal with the insurance company, burial & cremation insurance people. My sister would call my mother's brothers and sisters to inform them. I would call my mother's spiritual friends, the people who were closest to my mother over the 68 years she had been on this earth. I dreaded making those calls, calling pastor Bill who was my pastor when I was 5-11 years old! Pastor Bill was so sweet and recalled many fond memories of my mother singing in the choir, playing the piano and being a women of God. Pastor Bill loved my mother and his words were bittersweet in my heart, I had forgotten so much of who she was already and she wasn't even dead yet! I called Maryanne who was my mother's best friend for some 35 years. My mother had once called her the most spiritual person she had ever known, even though she was catholic! I always thought that was funny to include the catholic thing. Maryanne is now a Psychiatrist and published author, she said that it was my mother's own mental illness that got her interested and later on consumed with becoming a psychiatrist. Funny how my mother's mental illness which is seen as something so horrible and agonizing in my family, how God used that to inspire Maryanne. Maryanne spoke of how faithful, honest, pure and good my mother was. She also believed in the in-between life that when people are in between living and dying how the angels come to minster to you and Jesus comes in the end, how I should tell my mother that it was ok to go with them. I honestly thought at the time that the only thing I want to do right now is get off this phone because this women in completely out of line but I didn't I listen and politely exited the phone call. With calls completed my sister and I tried to go sleep at our hotel, it wasn't much of a sleep and when we were a asleep it was filled with vivid, wild, scary dreams. The next day we returned to the hospital to find that our mother was unconscious due to the morphine. I don't think any of us realized that she would no longer be awake but rather be resting as comfortably as she could. It is strange when you can no longer speak to someone, when there is so much left to be said and no way to say it. Now with cancer, liver and kidney's failing, and congestive heart failure she would lay in the bed and just sleep until the end. We all took turns sitting with her and talking to her, not knowing if she could hear us or not. When I took my turn I said with her and talked to her about my girls and my life in Washington. I could barely get out the words about how much I loved her and missed her. Then something in my clicked on and I prayed for her, outloud and held her hand. I also told her that both me and Alicia were here with Daddy, that we were going to take care of him, that he would be ok. I told her that when Jesus comes for her that it was ok to leave with him. We would all be ok and she could go be with Jesus. She squeezed my hand and opened her eyes, her eyes were searching and trying to tell me something although she could not talk. I told her it was ok, I would take care of Daddy and the boys and she could go with Jesus when he came. Her eyes softened and teared, I told her I loved her and then she fell back asleep.
The days passed until mother's day. What do you do for a mother who is dying, flowers, cards, presents all seem stupid and meaningless, you can not tell her you love her, not sure if she hears you. My sister and I decided that we would go to the hospital and pamper our mother. When we arrived we took the personal care kit from her side table and washcloths, we filled the basin with warm water and baby wash and began to give our mother a bath. None of the nurses had done this for days, she was sorely in need of a good washing. My mother stirred, could she feel it? We didn't know but we continued. There was a tooth brush and tooth paste and a little dipper with a sponge which I did not know what it was for. I thought about taking out her denture and brushing her teeth, scary to think about putting my hands in her mouth she could bite down not knowing what was going on. I asked my dad and he said that it was a good idea and that she hadn't brushed her teeth since way before the hospital. I removed her teeth and went to the sink to wash them, a surreal experience to be sure holding someone else's teeth in your hands and cleaning them. The nurse returned and I asked what the spongy dipper was for, she said that it was for giving sick people a drink of water. I got chills, the sponge not having ever been used had sat there for days while she was unconscious my mother had not had a drink of water in some 5 days! My alert level went up, my mom was always sipping water having struggled with a dry mouth for years and here she was unable to quench a burning thirst. Even though she was asleep I thought I would at least wet her lips. I put the dipper to her lips and rubbed the icy water over them, they were cracked and dry, parched. I parted her lips and tried to put the dipper closer to her tongue and more in her mouth, nothing. We wiped it up because it ran down her chin. I repeated the same motions and this time I could feel her sucking on the sponge! My sister and I thought it was so weird that she was sucking the water down and yet she was still asleep. She continued to suck the water and began moving around and then she opened her eyes and looked straight into mine. Oh how wonderful to see her warm brown eyes looking back at me. She noises like ohh and ahh, the water must have felt so wonderful to her and then she spoke, "The roles are reversed." She smiled and we all laughed, she drank some more and then fell back asleep.Those were the last words my mother said to me, she died two days later.
My heart aches to see her. My heart is empty because she is not here to pour love into it. My soul knows she will be with me when I go to be with Jesus, she is there with him drinking his eternal life giving water. I miss her...