Greetings Loved Ones!
Life with us has been some sort of crazy lately! When I survey the events, the profoundly personal and emotional moments, the bits of outright humor, and the inconveniences that abound as well, my mind doesn't quite know what all of this adds up to mean! But one answer comes to mind---life.
It started with the update that my grandmother had entered the actively dying stage of life. I asked James if I could leave for Houston. He came home a bit early, and I left at about 4 pm. I should have made it there by 5:30, but FOUR hours later, due to an accident on 290, I wearily walked through the door of my parent's home, and into a certain quiet and anxious atmosphere. Stretching my body out, achy from the long drive, and taking a seat, my mom proceeded to inform me of all of the changes, of the truly physically and emotionally difficult day they had barely survived just prior to this new turn in her status. I then walked into my grandmother's room. There she lay, in a sort of coma, and I spent time with her, speaking to her, although I do not know her level of consciousness. She did respond to my mom, however, opening one eye and half-smiling when my mom reminded her, clearly into her ear, that she would soon be in Paradise!
My mother was 15 when she met my grandmother! Their history is one of love.
The following morning, their pastor, David, and my uncle Dan, came by to be with Grandmother for a while. Throughout the day, Hospice nurses came for follow-up and comfort measures, not just for Grandmother, but I think for all of us, as well--mainly by reassuring us that things were natural, and that my parents had been doing an excellent job with her care these last four months.
Later in the day, my mom, my grandmother's best friend, Suzon, and I sang hymns from two hymnals around her hospital bed. Earlier, I had wanted to do that, but doubted my mom had hymnals in their home. The fact that they had been offered discarded hymnals from their church was the first surprise. The singing was heart-felt, especially songs like Rock of Ages. The words take on a new meaning, reminding us afresh of the brevity of this Earthly life, when sung beside a loved one within hours of meeting her maker, following 91 years of a life lived well, lived for Christ's glory.
At around 5:15 or so, I would guess, I remarked how my grandmother's breathing had changed, so my mom asked me to get my father. He joined us and within 20 minutes, her soul departed her body. Her moving on was peaceful, and her facial expression assumed a look of acceptance, which, for me, was comforting. To see the instant change in her appearance was confirmation that "Ruth Dollahon" was with God now. Oh the glory of that homecoming! Her body, an empty vessel. Her soul, in awe of the perfect peace, perfect joy and perfect love of her Creator!
Hospice had given us a poem describing our loved one as a ship, sailing off into the horizon and out of our sight, getting smaller and smaller until no longer visible. However! On the other side, her vessel is looming ever larger and others are cheering, "Here she comes!" Hallelujah!
I thank God for the ability to be with her when she left us. That was a deep desire I've had for months. I am thankful to James, and his job, for their sacrifice so that he could be with our kids in this time. The nurse had said it could be up to six days, but I knew it would be on this day. And within minutes of my mother's prayer, clutching my grandmother's hand, that our Lord be merciful and gather her up in His love, she was in His arms.
Another special fact was this: "Christine Martin saw her into this life, and Christine Martin saw her out of it." This was the name of my grandmother's mother, as well as of the nurse who pronounced her. And the nurse had a Martin-like appearance as well, and a gentle demeanor.
The intensity of the experience was met with bits of humor, goofs stemming from fatigue and emotion. Those mistakes were the levity we needed, and had my grandmother been privy to them, she'd have laughed uproariously!
Anyway, witnessing birth, witnessing death, these things remind me of the big picture that overshadows the trials and tragedies of this life. We glimpse but a piece of the plan. And the rest is a marvel of which we can merely dream, anticipating that one day,we will understand enough to obtain that peace that passeth all understanding. In the middle of my internal turmoil over Wendy's health, I must remember that she is the Lord's, that her body, and all, is up to God, and that I am to do my best as her guardian, having my confidence in Him, her true father. We shall all receive resurrected bodies, devoid of diseases, disorders, injury and age. I hope I'm a size 2. Ha ha!
Yesterday morning, I took Wendy to Fine Arts Friday, and Linc, to Power Sports for the first time (which he loved, gave me a sweet kiss and hug g'bye, and ran off for the fun!) And I crashed. About 2 hours later, or less, a phone call that Wendy had had a slight incident at recess and wanted to come home. I bolted out of bed, and grabbed a cup of Joe on the way out, so that I could snap out of my sleep-state sooner. I was so tired, get this, that I am doctoring my coffee and look down to see these peculiar flakes floating on my coffee! I think "what's up with the Sweet N Low?" and then glance at my left hand. It's holding a packet that reads, "Color-Enhancing Flakes for Beta Fish."
Later yesterday evening, I'm bathing the kids and getting Wendy ready for the Daddy Daughter Dance at the Children's Museum, spiraling crystals into her hair, and all! James and Wendy are there under an hour when a tornado touches the ground, and as James is on call, he has to bolt out and take Wendy with him into the office! I then drive, in the hard rain, with Linc in tow, to get Wendy. Fortunately, another man had had no choice but to bring along his two older daughters. Wendy wound up telling me, "It was okay because I had EVEN MORE fun with the girls at Daddy's work!" They'd shared their popcorn with her and pics of their dog, etc. Tonight, he can take her again (this time, girls ages 6 and up), so she'll feel like a big girl!
James stayed on and worked all night long until abut 9 this morning, when he came home, slept maybe 2 hours, and then was back out the door to work. I hope he is able to enjoy the dance tonight!
He flies out Monday and returns sometime Thursday, making it hard for him to attend my grandmother's funeral, but this he's already changed this trip once before for one of Wendy's doctor appts, so this time, he'll see what he can do, but I'm mostly thankful that I got to be with my grandmother.
Sometimes there are obstacles, twists and turns, but then all these things are the compilation of our life's experiences, and we are blessed to have this life. And even more blessed to be given the chance to see the triumphant conclusion to one such exciting life.