God’s in his heaven–All’s right with the world! ~Robert Browning
Journal -The evening of October 4, 2018:
I arrived at my parent’s home on August fourth prepared to stay with them for a week. I knew it would give my Dad a break from caregiving and give me a chance to spend time with them. Mom’s eyes lit up when I walked in – she was happy to see me. I told her we were going to dance and sing while I was there.
My Dad told me she had been singing all day. He said she’d been singing a lot over recent weeks. My friend had stopped in one day a couple of weeks earlier and said she was singing that day as well. Music was definitely something that made her happy. It was one of the ways she worshipped. Before the Alzheimer’s she would sit at the piano with her hymn book and play and sing. That was her time with the Lord. One of the saddest things for me was when I realized that she was no longer playing the piano.
Singing was something I tried to do with her. Sometimes when Rocky wasn’t available to play I’d sit at the piano and beat out some melodies and sing with her. If Rocky could play, then it was even better. We’d sit for an hour or more listening and singing.
After we moved last year I would try to go down every few weeks and stay a week with them and on those trips, I’d stay downstairs with Mom some nights. Once she was settled in bed I’d sing songs to her and pray with her. I always started with You Are My Sunshine and I’d sing Que Sera Sera then I’d move on to For God So Loved The World and a few others and we’d usually include Amazing Grace. Sometimes she’d hum or sing along with me. She might not get all the words but the tunes were familiar and they brought her peace.
Those nights singing to her became times of worship for us. We would feel God’s peace wrapping us in his love and everything would seem “right with the world.”
To hear that she had been singing a lot made me happy. I was looking forward to a week of singing and dancing. Then, on Sunday afternoon she fell. Sunday evening she was restless so I sang to her and prayed with her. After we prayed she said, “I want God to come to me.” Little did we know that he was going to do just that in a few days.
It became evident that this fall had caused her more distress than others in the past. She wasn’t able to stand so we called her Hospice nurse. They admitted her to their facility and ordered an x-ray to see what was going on. There were no outward bruises or scratches, so everything was internal. When the doctor gave us the results he said that her injuries were inoperable and that this would be considered a terminal illness. He predicted a few days to a week.
That was a blow to the gut and hard to wrap my head around. If I’m being totally honest that part is still hard to digest. I have struggled to understand why, if she was declining from the Alzheimer’s anyway, did she have to suffer an inoperable injury that would lead to her death.
I had known for some time that she was slowing down. The hospice nurse had been telling us for weeks that she was showing signs of the cardiovascular system slowing. There were skin changes that were clues and she had been moving slower and there were times that getting out of bed in the morning was hard on her. Most nights my dad had to lift her legs into the bed. I knew that if she lived long enough she would become bedridden. I didn’t want that for her either. My prayer for several years was that God would allow her to still be mobile, to be able to eat, to not suffer and when it was her time to take her peacefully in her sleep.
I had been sensing for several weeks that it wouldn’t be long before she left us. I kept praying for God’s mercy and strength for her and for us when the time came. In addition to my usual request, I had also been asking him to prepare her for passing and give her peace when the time came. I prayed he’d allow me time with her before and if possible to be with her when she passed. That seemed important to me. As much as I didn’t want to think about losing my mom I knew it was coming and I felt we all needed to be prepared.
When we were told that the fall was ultimately what was going to take her life it seemed inhumane and unnecessary. I wasn’t angry with God but I felt betrayed. God had answered all the other prayers I had prayed. My question was not why did God let her die but why, if her time to die was August 13, 2018, at 9:40 p.m, didn’t he take her peacefully in her sleep.
I don’t feel rebellious toward God. I fully believe in his sovereignty. I believe that he has a purpose in everything and that his ways are not our ways. He is God and I am not. I know in time, he will help me to make peace but right now it is still an open wound. To tell you otherwise would be a lie.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
This 31-day writing journey is a calling of sorts. Some days, like today, will be harder to share than others. After I wrote these thoughts yesterday evening I wasn’t sure I’d share all of it with you. I thought perhaps I’d stop with the line about God wrapping his love around us and all being “right with the world”. However, after sleeping on it I have come to the conclusion that if I stopped there I would be doing a disservice to you the reader, and to me because I would be leaving out an important part of the grief process and I wouldn’t be sharing my truth. I think questioning in our deepest grief is normal and I think God understands. I’m trusting you with my deepest hurt in hopes that it will speak to you and you will know that we are not alone in our grief and that God does, in fact, wrap us in his love and He makes all things right. In his time.
Grace for the journey,
Come back tomorrow for more of the journey? Just a reminder that I usually post later in the day. Clicking on the ladybug graphic will take you to the first page in this series with links to the daily posts. Thanks for reading!