The short, blond-haired woman hurried off the elevator and lingered for a moment at the nurse’s station. “Excuse me. I’m Jennifer Brooke. My mother Beverly Chambers was just admitted. Could you please tell me which room she’s in?”
The nurse pointed. “She’s in the last room on the right.”
Jennifer took a deep breath and walked down the long corridor. As she neared the end, she experienced a moment of dread. Did they put her so far from everyone else because they think she’s going to die? She slowed her steps and forced a smile before entering.
“Hi Mom. I’m sorry it took me so long. I had to tell David and the boys, and the traffic was unbelievably slow.” She hung her jacket and purse on the back of a chair, placed her bag on the floor, and gave her mother a hug. “How are you feeling?”
“A little tired. I guess the doctor will be in to see me later.”
“Well, I asked the nurse for a cot, and I brought my pajamas and toothbrush. I’ll be staying here with you tonight.”
“Oh, honey. You don’t have to do that. I’ll probably only be here a day or two and then they’ll send me home like they usually do. I don’t know why I even come to the hospital. They just tell me there’s nothing they can do.”
“I know, Mom. But this time, we’ll hear it together.” Jen winked .
The night crawled along. After the doctor left without any enlightenment, Jennifer read until her mother dozed off. But, she didn’t feel sleepy at all.
She thanked God for the staff and asked Him to give Beverly peace. “Father, I’m almost afraid to mention it, but…if it is your will that mother comes home to you…will you give me the strength I need to say good-bye, and joy in my heart knowing she will be free of pain and suffering in your loving arms? In Jesus name. Amen.”
Eventually her eyes grew heavy, but as she drifted off, she was startled by a frantic voice. She hurriedly moved to her mother’s side and listened. The words Beverly spoke were utter nonsense, she was crushing the ends of the sheet with tight fists and her legs kicked wildly back and forth.
Jennifer sat down beside her mother. Tears of fear and sorrow exploded from her eyes. “It’s okay, mom. It’s okay. Rest now and don’t worry. I’m here and God’s here with both of us. Please be still.”
Jenny stroked her mother’s arm and offered words of encouragement, but Beverly still thrashed about. She spoke to her mother about her childhood and family holidays. Nothing made a difference. Jen squeezed her eyes shut and silently prayed again.
All at once, Jennifer thought she heard singing. Was it her imagination? She listened harder. It sounded far away, but it seemed to be soothing her mother because Beverly’s legs stopped wrestling about.
Jenny opened her eyes, and at that moment, she realized it was her own voice she heard.
Her lips were moving and the words of “The Lord’s Prayer” were coming out of her mouth. She listened to herself in astonishment. How could she not realize that she was the one singing?
Her mother stirred. “Jen?”
“Yes, it’s me honey. I’m here.”
“I’m not going to make it this time, am I?”
Jennifer’s heart was breaking. She wrapped her arms around her mother’s bony shoulders and rocked her back and forth. “I don’t think so, Mom.”
Then Jennifer sang another song. This time it was one from her own childhood about two little children who were lost in the woods and who were covered with strawberry leaves by the robins in the forest.
It seemed like hours. but in due course sleep came to both of them.
The next morning, Beverly died.
Jennifer rested her head on the edge of the bed and held her mother’s cold hand while she waited for the family to arrive. She felt cold herself. In fact, she was numb all over. How was she going to be strong for the others?
“Father? Will you help me again?”
And then she sang “The Lord’s Prayer“, one more time.
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