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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Hunger (11/08/04)

TITLE: The Last Moments of Real Hunger
By Joanne Sampl


“Lord, don’t let her die alone. Let me get there in time.”

Get there in time for what? What could I do now? Then, it came to me. As I stepped onto the elevator, I knew I had to muster all my courage and lead mom in the prayer of salvation. Leading my mom in prayer? Me? Leading my mom in THE prayer? How do I do that? My conversation with God in my head was short and sweet. Just do it.

By the time I walked in the door of my mother’s hospital room, my sister was already sitting on her bed facing her. Thank God she wasn’t alone. I don’t remember all that happened next, other than I took my off my coat and took her hand.

“Hi, Mom. Do you know what’s happening to you?”

She looked at me with her gray blue eyes through her oversized oxygen mask, and kind of shook her head no. I didn’t know how much the nurses had told her, or what her and my sister were discussing, but I knew she needed it clearly said to her. My voice of reassurance had also become the voice of truth for her.

“Well, honey, you’re very sick. The numbers aren’t good this time. You are having a lot of trouble breathing and they can’t get your numbers up above 70.” If she were conscious she would know what that meant.

I looked over at the monitor that had become my friend just a few hours earlier, reassuring me it was okay to go home and rest. It was disconnected from her and turned off. OH, NO! They don’t want us to know how low the numbers really are. Don’t panic. She’s still conscious.

I talked straight to mom’s face and held her hand.

“Mom, I need you to say this prayer with me in your head, okay?”

She nodded yes.

I started to pray, “Dear Jesus, I love you and I trust you with my life.” I think that’s what I said. It’s still a blur to me. I said something about “I know I am a sinner, but you died on the cross for me.” I think that’s what I said. “I look forward to being with you soon.” I think that’s what I said. At the end of what ever I said, I said “Amen.” With her eyes still closed, she tried to say “Amen”, too.

Thank you, Jesus. Now what?

“Let’s say that other prayer, Mom. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread…”

Immediately, I was reminded that she had been so sick that she hadn’t eaten anything more than ice chips since she’d been in the hospital and that she hadn’t kept anything down food-wise in over five days. Dual prayers in my head.

“Lord, feed her. She needs your nourishment now more than ever.”

“…and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”

In all of her weakness, she said “Amen” again, proof that she heard me. Proof that she was sharing this prayer with me. Proof that she had made it her prayer. Now what? I looked at my sister. She was crying and facing away from mother. She already had the confidence that mother was going to heaven. I needed to be sure.

Copyright © 2004 – Joanne E. Sampl

Member Comments
Member Date
Cyndy McNaul-Nelson11/15/04
Your title is extremely appropriate of the need of one who is dying. The word hunger aptly describes the spiritual need in their lives. I'm thankful God has had me at the bedside of many and led them in the same prayer, as you did with your mother. Thanks. cyndy
Anthony David11/17/04
Dear Joanne, what a moving and touching tale! Well told with no frills. It strummed my heart strings. May God bless you!
Deborah Anderson11/19/04
This was moving. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.
Linda Germain 11/19/04
Perfect. In the end , there simply is NO TIME to play games or be embarrassed. Love pushes us to FORCE FEED if we have to. It is amazing how many, when confronted with the deadly truth, will open their mouths and say the words that will feed their lost spirit. Well done!