Friday, April 12, 2013
"When peace, like a river, attendeth my way.
When sorrows, like sea billows roll.
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
'It is well, it is well with my soul'" ~ Horatio Spafford*
Some of my readers likely already know this, but since last November, I have neglected my blogging in favor of posting my thoughts on Facebook. Facebook has allowed me to get in touch with old friends and acquaintances from my past, such as high school friends and people who grew up in the same neighborhood as I did. It has been, overall, a wonderful experience, and many of those long lost acquaintances have become close friends. Many of them I didn't even know well back then.
On the other hand, posting my thoughts, especially my thoughts on religion and politics, on Facebook have made enemies of some of my old respected friends and relatives, and that is an unfortunate consequence I never intended.
Recently, my brother told me he wouldn't be surprised if I wasn't on the Secret Service's "people to watch" list for all my political Facebook posts.
So, I'm back blogging. My blog doesn't automatically appear on everyone's newsfeed whether they like it or not. I think a blog is a better medium for political thoughts.
OK. This is what's been happening: My short term memory is not so good, so I won't go all the way back to November, and will only highlight the major events in my life since March.
In March of this year, two major events were going on around here. One good, one not.
1. The men's basketball team from the college I attended, Wichita State University, earned a spot in the NCAA basketball tournament, and actually advanced all the way to the final four teams before finally losing to Louisville University, thanks to a couple of bad calls by the referees near the end. We lost by a mere 4 points. Louisville eventually won the championship by six points over Michigan. Personally, I believe that tells us something. I leave it to my readers to ascertain what.
2. My 92 year old mother, who has been in a care home since last year, took a rather sudden turn for the worse. While her memory has been slipping somewhat for the past few years, she suddenly began getting more and more confused. I visited her at the home every week. Up until March 14, she had been almost as sharp as ever, but on that day, I found her wheeling her wheelchair out of the care home dining room as if she were going back to her room, but she was going the opposite direction. When I tried to wheel her back to her room, she placed her hands on the wheels and said, "No!" But, she couldn't tell me what she wanted, She would start to say something, and then it was as if she forgot what she started to say.
This was distressing for me, because she had always been so strong, so smart, and now, she was slipping. Fast. She was awake and talking, but the light in her eyes was no longer there.I finally got her back into her room, and conversation between us was short. She wasn't thinking clearly. I told her I loved her and she told me she loved me, too, but when I attempted to leave, she pleaded with me to stay. "Don't leave me", she said. But I really had to go, and I felt horrible about having to leave. In retrospect, I guess I should have just stayed there until she fell asleep. Under the circumstances I know my wife would have understood why I wasn't home in time. I still feel a little guilty about that.
The next week she seemed improved, and we had a better conversation. Twice, though, she said, "I want to go home." I didn't know if she was talking about her earthly home or her heavenly home and she didn't explain. All I could think of to say in reply was, "I know, Mom." At this point Mom had a moment of clarity. She kind of smiled and looked me straight in the eye, and said, "Oh, how do you know that?"
The next week, I received a call from my brother, telling me I had better come to the home, because it looked m like Mom might not live through the day. I went, and found her lying in bed comatose, and, except for occasionally squeezing my hand, unresponsive. She didn't die that day, in fact, she lived another week, and finally, on March 28, she passed quietly into eternity to walk with Jesus.
I am not sad. I am rather envious of her, in a way.
The same evening my Mom passed away, The Shockers defeated the AP number one ranked team in the nation, Gonzaga, propelling them into the "Elite Eight" in the NCAA tournament. I watched it on television. That was fun.
Immediately after the game, I heard strange noises coming from my bedroom. Investigating, I found my wife lying across the bed, flat on her back, her head tilted back, her eyes and mouth open, and she was making noises, alternately snoring with each intake of breath, and a kind of whining sound with each outtake. I couldn't wake her up, and I began to be concerned so I called 911. Shortly the paramedics arrived, and, in short order, determined her blood sugar was dangerously low. It registered 31. They administered glucose or sucrose or some kind of sugary substance through IV and brought her around, and then, transported her to the hospital.
I lost my mother, and nearly lost my wife in the same day! My wife spent the next three days in the hospital and I was able to bring her home on Easter Sunday. She was able to attend my mother's memorial service with me the following Thursday.
Mom's memorial service was a celebration service. She was so close to the Lord throughout her lifetime that no one has any doubts she is in Heaven now, and my entire family is happy for her. There were no tears shed at her service except tears of joy. My oldest brother, a retired foreign missionary and pastor, officiated at her graveside service. All of my 5 brothers and sisters came from all over the country to participate in Mom's last farewell.
It was the first time since 1979 all 6 of us were together at the same time in the same place. What a blessing it was to be able to get together and swap memories and jokes with them all!
All in all, a very eventful March.
Let's hope April and the rest of this year go better. I will resume my introspective political posts later.
*I requested "It is Well" be played at my Mother's service. It is my favorite hymn, and I want it to be played at mine.