Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Haven't we danced this dance before?

"You're looking at probably four to six months, at best."

We stood in the hallway outside my mother's hospital room. Her beloved doctor, for whom we all had the utmost respect, had tears in his eyes as he delivered the blow. I held my father's hand, wincing when he squeezed so tightly I thought my fingers might break. I looked at my brother, saw his head down, eyes closed tightly, as if he could somehow block the images those words produced. Tears streamed from the eyes of my sister-in-law.

I felt removed from all of it. He couldn't be talking to us, couldn't be saying that MY mother's days were numbered in such a way. Snippets of their conversations flitted in and out of my consciousness, words like "malignancy" and "brain stem" and "terminal" bumping into each other and exploding like fireworks inside my mind.

My one coherent thought was to pray. These people in front of me, with their tears and their sadness and their blind acceptance of doom could talk their talk with the doctor, but the REAL work, the work of communicating to the Father, the work of calling forth a miracle, that work would be begun by me.

"God," I began. "I cannot pretend to know your will. And I do not have the beautiful words to create a prayer that would be music to your ears. All I can do is bow humbly before you and beg your forgiveness for my sins, and beseech you to spare the life of this woman who means so much to so many. Please, don't take her away from us." I took a deep breath, and added, as earnestly as I was able, "Nevertheless, not my will, but Thine, be done." I wanted to mean those words, with all my heart, and if I was not quite truthful saying them, I figured God would understand.

"...and so the doctor says we have, at best, four to six months..."

I feel the warmth of the sun on my face, watch a lazy cloud float across the sky. A silent tear slips from my eye and I wipe it away, and turn to face my husband. "The doctor could be wrong," I whisper. But I don't believe the words of hope I'm trying to offer, and my husband recognizes this.

"No," he says with resignation, "I don't believe he is."

Later, my beautiful Thing 2 sits with me on the couch, trying not to cry. I want to tell her she doesn't have to be so strong. I want to tell her that in the coming months, tears will fall and disappear, and fall again. I want her to understand that things were going to get worse, so much worse, and she couldn't hide her pain away. But I remain silent, holding her hand. She is Papaw's girl, and they share so much together, hunting and fishing and church and trips to Wal-Mart for ice cream and mowing the yard together and so very, very much more. My heart aches inside my chest for what she is going to lose. As her sister, Thing 1, lost so many years ago, with the loss of her Granny, who loved her "all the way to the moon and back."

"Mom," says Thing 2 as she cries. "this is going to be hard."

Oh, my sweet baby girl, you have no idea yet, how hard it's going to be....


Avitable said...

This has to be very hard for you, reliving this. I'm sorry.

Bina said...

This is so beautifully written, and so very sad. I am so sorry for all of you, to have to go through this. I can't imagine your pain, because I've never been there. But I'll be thinking of you and sending positive thoughts your way.

Jen said...

Just reading that was hard.

Whatever words you use to pray to God is music to His ears. Always remember that.

Lots of hugs, prayers and positive thoughts for you and your family.

the planet of janet said...


baseballmom said...

We're with you guys all the way...just know that.

Burfica said...

all my prayers and hugs with you all my dear dear friend.