Sunday, June 28, 2009

Let it Be

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The June wind stirred the chimes out on the front porch, its six notes sounding randomly in that sorrowful soundtrack life seems to have been writing this past week. For some of us, this is not the fairy-tale story or that one with the happy ending.

I stumbled into the bathroom this morning and saw the image of a young old man staring back at me from the mirror hanging above the sink. The few grey hairs I’d been noticing lately seem to have multiplied tenfold, and the lines which previously had been weakly etched across my face now seemed to line it like that of a well-used roadmap.

Life was a highway—I was a municipality.

My mother lie in bed, her breaths coming in labored gasps. She took hold of my hand and gazed at me through her one good eye. Every breath she took I was sure was to be her last.

“Bummer,” she croaked from somewhere deep in her throat, attempting a smile in one of her lucid moments—which were rapidly becoming more and more infrequent.

“That’s an understatement,” I replied.

Really, it was.

The grip of her hand tightened around mine. How many hours had I sat here? I’d lost count. The only way I’ve been able to even track the days was by reminding her every time she woke what day it was, what time it is, where she was. She doesn’t ask, but I tell her all the same. If it were me, I’d want to know.

The worst part is that emotion—that dreadful little feeling of helplessness, that deep understanding that there is nothing I can do—I can only be. Doing is the easy part; it’s the being that is the hard thing.

It’s so much easier to run someplace, to buy something, to go on an errand; but to simply be there…that is the hard part. To be there when her eyes open, to see her when she smiles or grimaces, murmurs disembodied thought, and falls back asleep; and through it all, to not have the ability to stay the inevitable.

She asked today, “Am I going to die?”

“We all are,” I responded a few moments later, choking on my sullen reply. “All of us will one day die.”

There have been days now, days when the bitter fount of tears has been emptied and dried. Tears become no longer an option; they become something more of a luxury, like a well run dry in summer’s oppressive heat.

In the quiet of the back room I held her hand, the hot tears stinging my cheeks yet again from sources unknown. She continually faded in and then out of consciousness, her requests slogged and pieced together in a mismatch of jumbled words.

I simply held on to her hand; I could only be…there was no to do.

I found myself becoming angry at God in watching this suffering go on without recourse; I found myself questioning that which I knew—that which I’d always believed. If God really were merciful, he should either heal her, or let her die.

God—I unpremeditatedly decided—was cataclysmically cruel.

I felt a nettling anger surge within me, bitterness directed at heaven itself, at the God who allowed such suffering.

“What is your faith made from?”

I was taken aback at the thought which pervaded my mind—a whispered rivulet.

What? I thought in return.

“This is but a moment of time; if you remember, My son suffered for a moment, too.”

But that’s different, I countered. You’re God.

“Not while he was on the cross…she has you, but My son was left alone—if you remember. Now you have the smallest idea of what it was like for Me when he was helpless, and I could only watch when he was crying out in anguish.”

Then let it be finished. I thought. Let it be finished.

“When it’s time.”

The oxygen machine continued to drone in its rhythmic pattern as I held onto Mom’s hand.

For now, I can only be.


Mamma has spoken said...

Oh I feel for you. I watch my mother die of cancer too. I remember going to the chapel at the hospital and praying for God to take her so she wouldn't be in pain any more. Then when she passed, wishing for one more day with her. Still praying for you and your family.

Kris said...

Oh Jason let it be known you are not alone...Your Heavenly Father is there, and everyone that knows you here on earth is there by the thoughts and prayers we offer! Love is with you! May God comfort her also. And George.

Linn said...

Jason, That was beyond beautiful and made me cry. Thank you for your amazing words. Please know that you and your family, most especially your mom, are in our prayers constantly right now.

Bee said...

Hang in there. I will continue to pray for all of you. A big hug to you from Georgia. Please let your blogging friends know if you need anything.

007penguin said...

Love you.

Corine said...

I feel for you. It hurts so see others hurting and not understand why they must hurt. I know Heavenly Father feels your pain too, and loves you very much.

Being, is so much more important than doing.

You are loved, and so are your family. Have faith that good will come of this. You may end up crying tears of joy later in appreciation for whatever good God will make come of it.

You are all in many, many prayers.

One of many, many friends...

The Scotts said...

What a powerful message in such a painful time. Thank you. Thank you a thousand times for posting this.

Deo Volente said...

You and your family are in my prayers.

Gerb said...

I just relived a part of my life in that post. Your words describe it all so well. It may not seem so now, but these days will become cherished memories.

Hold on. You're in my prayers.

Lydia said...

I'm so sorry your having such a hard trial. Know that there are people praying for you here in Utah.

Julie said...

You expressed so beautifully the hard part we feel when we can't DO anything and just have to BE. Thank you. Hang in there...and know that you are not alone!

K.J. said...

Beautiful and so powerful is this post...
Thinking of you.

annette said...

It is so hard to watch someone you love go through something like this. How blessed your mom is to have you there. If this had been only 5 weeks or more ago, you couldn't have spent this time. My love goes out to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Goosebumps, Jason, and a few tears as well. What a beautiful message, and such an age-old, difficult question. It's a blessing that when we do have a relationship with God we are able to recognize that it's okay to get angry, and to be so for a while. And it's a blessing that we have that faith to lift us out of that anger--eventually, if not immediately.

Susie-Q said...

Our thoughts are with you. Thank you for helping to make our last days special. May you cherish your last days also.

Tera said...

I have checked your blog occasionally, and happened to stop today. I had no idea! I am so sorry for your loss. It is SO hard when there is nothing you can do. You said it so well. I can't stop crying. Prayers for you and your family.

Richard & Natalie said...

I now understand the "family emergency" you experienced this summer. I am deeply sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing something so personal, it is achingly beautiful. Sometimes we just have to BE still and know that he is God, even when it is the hardest.

Maridith said...

achingly beautiful.

Ally said...

Wow. I am so sorry, you are much too young to experience losing your mom. This is so very sad, yet your words are so beautiful. My eyes are filled with tears :(

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