Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Measure (01/10/13)
By Linda Buskirk
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When her doctor recommended hospice care, in the glare of the hospital, she told my husband that his mother would likely live another two days to two weeks. "Let us make her comfortable."
It was overwhelmingly sad, but we knew immediately it was the right thing to do. Watching her in slumped agony as they drained her lung, having noisy monitors beeping over her head, seeing her too weak to hold a spoon... We longed for her to be comfortable.
The hospice home room is lovely and quiet. With its soft colors, crown molding and comfy furniture; it is a living room for her dying. Initially she responded so positively even her doctor was surprised, although we learned such a rebound is not unusual. When a patient leaves the harsh, sleep-deprivation environment of a hospital and enters the lovely surroundings of the hospice home, the first response is often rejuvenation. Sleep and comfort-care can rally the senses and the desire to live.
That was ten days ago. She still has little rallies, which are precious for their humor and spunk. What a privilege to be there when her eyes open and she asks for a drink of peach tea. I kiss her forehead and she smiles. She likes the day nurse so much she teasingly threatens, "I'm going to have to hurt myself so he'll come see me."
Getting to say "I love you," and hearing her say that to me is a blessing. How many times has that exchange occurred? I don't count such things. This is truly living life in each moment. Singing hymns and the Indiana University fight song, praying with her, crying with her, laughing with her, fetching her peach tea and soda water (she likes the fizz) - these are the small acts of love that are a blessing to do and are received with such sweet appreciation.
She sleeps more now. Time for musing over memories and mysteries. I wonder... How much does God really tabulate? In His boundless ability to know, are our days really measured? How about our breaths? Does He really keep track? Does He say, "When she has 537,224 more breaths, then she will come home."? I think not.
I think He set the whole thing in motion and we are swirling from our original outpost closer and closer back to Him. We cannot measure the loops we will make to get there, although I can count many of the bumps that have thrown me off course.
Mom thinks about her bumps too. I don't know what else to do when she voices regret but read scripture about grace and forgiveness. I am so grateful that the Bible contains God's word on very struggle we might face, including death. She seems at peace now, and that is peaceful for we who love her.
I cannot know the measure of her love or even of her breaths. I only believe that when she breathes the last one here, Jesus will be there to see her eyes open in heaven. Maybe He will hand her a glass of peach tea as He invites her into glory. She likes it without ice, Jesus. Please give her a kiss on the forehead for me.
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