Sunday, January 17, 2010
Our Family Experienced a Christmas Miracle
(Wearing my Mama's wig, she thought we were being so funny!)
I have some very sad news to share and also much rejoicing. I want to preface this blog and I apologize in advance for it's length, some of you may not have the information necessary to understand the Mercy and Grace of what I am about to express to you, so I will begin with the sad news first. On December 17, my brother, (73) passed away. On December 24th my Mama, (90) passed away.
There has been much strife in our family due to our Mama's alcoholism. I had not spoken to her in two years. It was very difficult, but I had to do it for my own sanity. My brother had been Mama's caretaker for the past seven years, to this day I don't know how he did it and I will be eternally grateful for his strength and devotion.
August of this year, 2009, our Mama took to her bed and never walked again. My brother cared for her as best he could, but after the years of living with an alcoholic he had become extremely bitter and resentful as anyone would.
After our Mama took to her bed, God began His work to heal this family. Mama had four children, my oldest sister (75), my brother(73), my sister(56) and myself (50). Over the years Mama would get mad at one or all of us and we were torn asunder. But once Mama took to her bed, after 42 years of drinking, it is our understanding after spending the last seven days of her life with her that she had detoxed all by herself with no medical intervention and God began to heal her heart. She had begged our brother to allow her to call us girls but to no avail, he was the dam that stood in the way for our Mama along with God's assistance to heal this family. After speaking with a Chaplain from Hospice we are of the opinion that God took our brother home to be with the Lord so that Mama could finish her "work" and go home to be with the Lord as well.
On Thursday evening, December 17th, I received a phone call from one of my brothers sons that his father had passed and they wanted to know what we wanted to do with "Grandmother" because they had no interest in caring for her. My sister and I went over on Friday morning and began proceedings through probate court to become her conservator and her legal guardian. (At the time the grandchildren had arranged for a private home health provider to be with our Mama on Thursday night til we could get there on Friday) That Friday, December 18th was a long day, we had no idea where to start, but we trudged through it. You see we had none of our Mother's information, the grandchildren had come into the house on Thursday with Mama in bed and cleaned out her house, even taking her pocketbook. At the eleventh hour, 3:30 on a Friday afternoon, we finally discovered who her doctor was and he faxed a letter to the probate judge stating our Mama's condition and at 4:50 on that Friday we received and Emergency, Emergency order to take care of our Mama.
It was a long weekend, our Mama still had not been told that her son was dead but she was asking where he was and if you know me and how strong my personality is, she is who gave me that personality and she was getting pretty inquisitive about where he was. She was very weak but lucid, we finally told her of his passing and had no other choice but to tell her that her home had been raped and that we were now her guardians and that she was NOT going in a nursing home.
As the days passed, she began to tell us about the work God had been doing in her life and her heart, she wanted to call us so that she could apologize to us and bring us all together. There was never a happier Mama in this world. She kept telling us how happy she was to have her girls and we kept reassuring her that her work was done and that we would take care of each other.
By Sunday, she was still lucid but told us that her Savior was hiding from her. I asked her why he would be hiding from her and she said he told her that her work wasn't finished. I asked her what work she needed to do and she told me that she needed to see my oldest sister(her first born child). Well I called my sisters son and told him to go to her house and she would be waiting with bags packed. I then called my sister and told her that Mama would lay in that bed and suffer waiting for her if she didn't find a way to get here. She arrived on Sunday night and all was well with the world for our Mama. Her work was done.
During those seven days, there was much crying, even more laughter, there was dancing, she loved to see us dancing, there was singing, she always sang with us and played the piano, she loved patriotic songs, she loved gospel music, we did anything we could pack into those days. We read her poetry, she loved "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer. We tried on her wig and made her laugh, we wore her clothes to bring her peace and comfort, we cooked her favorite pinto beans and cornbread with spring onions, we made her "hot" coffee, we gave her her favorite butter pecan ice cream and yes, you won't believe this, but she dipped snuff up until the final two days. We prayed with our Mama as she cried out to God to have mercy on her, that was the most difficult part to endure.
On one of those occasions praying with our Mama, we were all standing around the bed holding hands along with our Mama and one of my sister (who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer) told us while we were praying that she felt like and electrical charge was running up and down her body from the top or her head to the bottoms of her feet, we were all jealous and wanted some of whatever that was, but after much thinking and talking with the chaplain, we are claiming that Mama was praying for God to heal my sister, and giving her all the strength that she had left in her poor old worn out body.
Mama talked about all kinds of things she was seeing and they included her Mother and Father, when she would wake up from sleeping we would ask her if she had been working, we can only assume that God was preparing her for heaven.
From my point of view, God's timing is perfect and I can only assume that there are those of you my friends that may have thought that I should have tried to make peace with her before this happened, but because of my Mama's personality and human nature, none of this was possible until the end. I stood the chance of living out the rest of my days with this hanging over my head but again, God in all His mercy spared my sisters and myself from having to endure that torture.
Each of those seven days was different, we lost all track of time, we lost track of what was going on in the world, we were preparing our Mama for a journey, a journey that would take her to places unknown to us, a place that none of us can even begin to comprehend.
On Thursday morning, December 24th I asked my sisters if they wanted fried eggs and toast for breakfast and we all did. I walked into the living room where my Mama's hospital bed was set up and asked her if she wanted some breakfast too, we continued to treat her as if nothing was wrong. When I walked into the living room, my sister was asleep in a chair near her bed, I knew my Mama was gone, I spoke gently to her, laid my head on her chest and there was no sound of life, I called out to my sisters and we knew she was gone. It was Christmas Eve and God had given us the most wonderful gift imaginable, he had given us our Mama back. Please do not grieve for us, praise God, the Father of the universe for all things great and small. We will see her again one day.
I crawled up in the bed with our Mama and held her tight, she was no longer in pain, it was a moment I will never forget. We waited for the Hospice nurse to come and then the funeral home. Hospice suggested that we not be present when the funeral home came but I knew our Mama would be right beside of us if it were one of us and I stayed right there while they transported her from the bed to the gurney. With the Hospice Chaplain following the gurney, I walked down the sidewalk and started singing, "Some glad morning when this life is over, I'll fly away." It was beautiful, the staff from the funeral home along with the Chaplain joined in and took our mama away.
Faith is as individual as snowflakes. God speaks in all languages. If we listen closely, we can hear him in the wind, we can see him in the trees and the clouds, our only responsibility is to listen to Him and when He gives us direction we only need to follow. Our God is an awesome God, He surpasses all our understanding, we can never comprehend His power or His Glory, but I can tell you this, if you knew the destruction that the darkness of alcoholism had caused our family, like myself, you would have never believed that a miracle such as this would have ever occurred. God is a God of miracles and I give Him all the Glory for giving us our Mama back. I will never know why til I see God face to face why our family endured this destruction but I praise Him for putting us all back together.
In closing, our Mama was a Patriotic woman, she loved her Country, she loved her family and she loved God. Her first husband was killed on Guadalcanal Canal on the USS Juneau, WWII, leaving her with a seven year old and a five year old. She made many sacrifices for this Nations freedom. You may ask what you can do? I only ask that you pray that the same God of Mercy that reunited our family, have mercy on our Nation, to heal our divisions to heal this land and spare us the turmoil that may lie ahead.
PS While going through my Mama's bank statements, she had been donating 10.00 a month to a political organization and in the "memo" portion of her check she simply wrote one word in all capital letters, she wrote "FREEDOM". From this day forward I dedicate this blog to my Mama, she also had a framed photograph of President Ronald W. Reagan in her bedroom, I have that photo now. Keep the faith, keep up the fight! VN8