The Second Stay

It happened quickly. One day she was home and I could talk to her several times a day, and the next day…she was back in the hospital. No conversing. No energy to do so. We kept up-to-date by texting with Mark. I remember calling my friend’s good friend at Alltel and telling her I needed text messaging added to our plan — and almost said “STAT”. Now. That’s what I meant. Don’t dawdle. I need to know how and what is going on and I need freedom to do so. Ann called me back quickly, got my plan adjusted and away I went. Texting my love over a few hundred miles. Texting prayers up to heaven. Texting news back and forth with Aimee. Just in case. Mark was good though—he would usually text us both at the same time.

The second stay didn’t last as long as the first. Started out on a Wednesday (I think) and ended on Tuesday of the following week. There was no Olive Garden Cuisine involved this time. She couldn’t swallow much—very little in fact—only small amounts. The fluid had been building at such a rate that her throat seemed squeezed by the pressure.

Pressure. We all felt some sort of pressure from various places in our lives. I was back at work—it was a busy time for us. I felt pressured in my own mind to not take off any more time than was necessary. It put an unspoken strain on others—no one ever spoke it—they were very kind—but I didn’t want to take advantage of their goodness. They were very good about me being off–as were Aimee’s employer. Although we wanted so bad to be with Wanda— we knew there was nothing we could do. Mark was there–helping her with every need that came up. Praying over her, loving her, caring for her intently.

So we stayed. Our intentions were to go back on Friday night. But Mother and Grandbuddy were going down to the hospital on Thursday, and Aimee and Juno couldn’t go yet. (Juno’s birthday was on Saturday and Aimee needed to be with him.) But her heart also wanted to be with Wanda. Her nurse’s eyes needed to “see for herself”. I decided to wait with Aimee. That is, to wait until she could go. I knew that if I went —she would just feel worse for not going. So we both waited.

I am not a good waiter. My mind needs to be occupied with other things—in order to wait without driving Jeff or anyone else insane! So—I told Jeff on that sunny Saturday—“I want to paint the bedroom.”

“Huh?” Jeff was not really surprised—because he knows me so well—but then again—he knew this task would wind up involving him—no matter how much I said “I will do it all myself—you don’t have to help.” (Yeah right.)

I told you….got to have my mind occupied. Works even better if you get the body motivated. Work. Something that gives you a big prize at the end. We trekked off to Lowe’s and I bought my paint. Green. Soothing. Peaceful. Serene. Like a windswept field on a late summer day.

The furniture was moved (pushedpulledcoerced) to another room, except for the large chest of drawers and dresser. The paint pours smoothly into the pan. As I push the roller into the green, I am sending up prayers. I don’t remember all the prayers, but I know I prayed constantly. Listening to praise and worship music as I worked, I praised HIM for creating our lives, for making us a family. For giving us the greatest gift of all. Salvation. And yes, I cried some too—but I tried to hold in as much as I could. I knew that Jeff was aggravated with me just a teeny bit for the painting thing. I didn’t want him being more aggravated by all the green watered down with tears. When we are upset—the way we handle things is some “alone time” —solitude. (May sound odd—but that’s the way it is—we just sort of let the other have space and peace—he NEEDED his space just as I did—but my crazy job of the painting the room—messed up our normal routine of handling a crisis!)

All the while I am texting back and forth with Aimee and Mark. Must stay informed. I knew I would drop the paint brush in a heartbeat and hurry off. The green went up on the walls—and the walls were as tense in my heart as they have ever been.


The moving back of the furniture and making of the bed was a blur. What happened next that stuck in my mind —happened in the prayer room. Well—it’s what I call the prayer room.

Just a small room, with the “granddaddy chair”, a mulitcolored striped rug—my “rug of many colors”—as in Joseph’s coat, and a table and bookcases. Simple room. No fuss—no frills. But God called me to that room that night.

After I had laid down—to try and sleep—I received an alarming text message. Very little output. She had gained 4 lbs. of fluid during the past day or so. I got up, trying not to disturb Jeff, and went to the prayer room.

I started out kneeling by the chair. I had hardly gotten any words out and I felt compelled to get on my face. To the floor I went. Laid out prostrate before God. Crying out to Him with all my pain, heartache of what I feared most. Losing my sister. I gave all my fears up to Him. After I had prayed it all out in what I could understand….the Holy Spirit came in with such a peaceful calm and as I wept before God—I began to pray in a language that I didn’t understand. But God knew.

I can’t explain how or what exactly happened, all I know is when I got up, I felt that I was not carrying the burden any longer. I had given my heartache and fear over to God. It was His. She was His. Always had been. He would soon take her home. I think even then, I knew that.

I lay down and slept. For a while.

At 4:00 a.m. I awoke with a sudden urgency to “go”. I checked my phone. No new text messages. I texted Mark. I knew he was awake. He didn’t sleep much at all. He texted me back her stats. Not good. No progress.

I dozed fitfully, praying in my heart and mind for what I didn’t see. Didn’t want to see. I waited until around 6:30 and then I texted Aimee. “Are you up?” She was awake. We got on the phone to hear the comfort that we needed from one another. I told Aimee what I felt. We needed to go. She felt the same. Her nurses instincts were telling her things I didn’t know. She knew. I didn’t.

We discussed it with our husbands. Her preacher husband had a message to deliver to the people. My dear “painting” husband had a job to do. Drive his wife to her sister. Aimee and I had already decided we were going with or without a driver. I was very ready to drive. Fortunately, I didn’t have to.

As we were just getting to Tallahassee, the call came that we did not want to hear. “Come now.” With tears in Mark’s voice, I knew what he meant.

Picture taken at OakHill Country Cottage Bed & Breakfast Sisters Retreat 2007 and the second picture is the “green”–with the quilt my friend Vivienne made me for Christmas 2008.


8 responses to “The Second Stay

  • ktwalden

    Dear sister in Christ, thank you for sharing these sweet stories about your precious Wanda. When you spoke of the time in your prayer room, prostrate before the Lord, and His sweet Holy Spirit comforting you with His presence, I felt that same Spirit wash over me. What would we do without Him? How do people survive that don’t really know Him? Thank you for sharing your heart and your stories for they are such a blessing.

  • Marsha

    I felt like I was there with you, Angie. What a beautiful testimony of God’s grace and comfort.And by the way, Mike and I handle stress/crisis the same way…we need our space. I totally understand. It makes sense to me.Praying for you.

  • LisaShaw

    Precious Sister, my heart is with you as I read every word about your precious sister Wanda. Love you.

  • Gail W.

    Angie, this is so beautiful! I know that is not what you were aiming for, but God had a plan for your sharing that would inspire the rest of us. I am praying for your comfort, dear one and praising the King who paid it all. Love you and Ms Wanda!

  • Sassy Granny ...

    What comfort He is when no other comfort with do. Beautiful telling.Kathleen

  • Melanie

    Oh, dear Angie…. as I read your words I feel as if I was there. Though I know they can’t compare to yours in any way, I have tears, too, as I read and feel the pain you experienced at the time in your words.Praise God that He gives us the comfort and the peace we need in times like these!

  • Denise

    Thanks for sharing this journey with us sweetie, I feel like I am right there with you. Be blessed.

  • Linda

    Dear Angie,This is such a heartbreakingly moving post. It blesses and encourages too. I think it is good for you to write it all out.Do you read Ann’s blog (Holy Experience)? She has written two amazing posts on death and dying. I think they would minister to you.P.S. I’m here – just not showing up on bloglines for some reason 🙂

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