One week ago today
I got the dreaded call to come fast…
In a moments notice,
I jumped on a plane rushing
to my mother’s side
hopefully to see her one last time.
I was afraid to see her.
But when I walked in
her bedroom, where she
wants to be,
all of my fear
It is my mamma lying there.
Her fragile heart
continues to beat now one week later.
We sit and wait, listening to her breath.
The doctor cannot believe it and says
she is a miracle!
Why, I am asked is she still here?
She only sleeps now.
But, I know why.
She continues to give.
I place my hand in the crook of her arm
and I feel her warmth.
I am comforted
sitting by her
in the quiet.
She has been
and my rock
my whole life.
She is slowly saying good-bye.
Slowly dimming her light.
Sometimes she holds my hand tight.
I feel her light and love
flow inside me–
and I will share it.
For some reason
this comes to my memory
as Thanksgiving comes closer…
Several years ago, I had signed up, with my community, to take dinners in to a family who was grieving a fluke summer accident. Their middle school boy had been watching a baseball game at summer camp, and a line drive struck him in the head and he was tragically killed instantly. This boy had been in several of my son’s classes over the years and we knew the family as acquaintances. As I gathered the foil pans of food in the car, I was impressed to grab a tree branch that had fallen in our yard. I ran back inside and gathered some scissors, ribbon, a black Sharpee marker, and a pot with marbles. (I am an artist what did you expect! Not hoarding, just prepared spontaneity and how my brain works!)
I will never forget when I entered into their home. It was November. I felt like I was intruding. The parents were not home and the child who was expecting the dinner, opened the door and then disappeared, without much talk. I felt awkward as I entered into the dim empty kitchen. The house felt sad and cold. I set my dinner tins on the counter, and then I placed the pot in the middle of their table, with the tree branch stuck in the middle. I hurried, like I was doing something wrong and didn’t want to get caught. I set the marker and cut ribbon next to the potted miniature “tree” and left a note. Write down what you are thankful for, on this ribbon, and tie it to the tree. Then I walked out by myself, with the door clicking behind me.
In the spring I ran into the mother of this family. She came right up to me. She said that for a long time that tree branch sat on their table empty. No one was thankful. They were heart broken and angry. But, then one day, she noticed that the Sharpee had been moved, or the ribbons left messy. She said, then one day, one of her children wrote on the ribbon and tied it to the branch. Then on another day, one more ribbon was tied to the branch. Gradually the tree became filled with ribbons and she said, most of the comments were about the son that had died. But then, it began to be gratitude for other things as well. They left the tree up long after November. She said to me, thank you, for helping our family begin to heal with that simple little branch.
I did not plan it. I carried out a spontaneous impression. I believe it was angels whispering to me. Perhaps this family needed just a little branch to help them express their love and gratitude during their sorrow. Healing takes time, and often with a nudge.
I love this memory. It reminds me to listen when the angels prompt! God know us and I am thankful for that.
Babies bring anticipated joy;
All the firsts.
The time is pure, innocent, and exciting.
Life is full of wonder—
when the world expects baby
to meet the charts,
to meet the goals,
to meet the base lines,
and to act like all other babies,
then the question is posed,
“What’s “wrong” with THAT baby?”
“Does he… ?” “No”
“Does he…?” “No.”
“Does he…?” “No.”
To us, baby is perfect!
We are at the beginning stages of that “what is wrong” journey.
“Special,” is the new term.
We feel frightened, concerned, and often heavy and heart sick.
Baby to us, is beautiful.
Baby to us, is sweet.
Baby to us, is joyful…
Our family’s gift.
But the world keeps asking…
What’s “wrong” with THAT baby…
Baby doesn’t know anything is wrong with him.
He is just right!
He doesn’t know why we take him to see so many people who
place him on crinkly paper couches,
take blood from his little arms and feet,
place him under machines which make strange clicks,
and keep pushing him to do things which hurt, or feel strange.
He is frightened all these strangers keep touching him.
He is Happy—All the Time—At Home.
But the world expects so much from him.
And what they are expecting,
he may not need to do…
He already has changed how WE view things…
He has a very big job
to teach us!
He shows us each day all the “rights” he possesses
and how courageous HE is to live in a complex world
where HE is viewed with lots and lots of “wrongs.”
I think we are in for an amazing journey ahead!
But some of the best journeys are the hardest ones.
He is perfect, pure, and…so right!
Here we go…
hold on to us tight earth angel–
Together will be the best way!
Come along with us…
(Babers has been diagnosed with a neurological condition. We are still waiting for further test results and information to better his progress and prospects. We feel blessed to have him, and he and his mommy and daddy can always use lots of prayers.)
A cancer diagnosis is shocking and frightening!
I will admit that I felt angry and hurt over and over through the process.
Everything felt too much
and it was very easy to get caught in bitterness.
But bitterness sucks life out of you.
It does not heal you.
I found a quote which I read often to remind myself:
“Bitterness is a poison that snuffs the light of our souls,
hardening us to life’s pleasures, and joys
by keeping us focused only on what is wrong.”
The best way to combat bitterness is to begin to notice
simple things in your life
during your moments with cancer,
that you are grateful for.
Some people even keep a gratitude journal.
“I want my soul to shine with an overflowing of love,
and practicing gratitude is one of the best ways i know how to do it.”
I still catch myself feeling bitterness at times.
But I choose not to stay too long in that place.
It’s too dangerous.
“Gratitude is an inner light that we can use to illuminate our souls.”
Wow, have I grown!
(Quotes from m. j. ryan, Attitudes of Gratitude)