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.)
The furniture was moved (pushed–pulled–coerced) 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.
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.