Friday, June 04, 2010

The Inheritance

Wednesday I went to see Mom with the girls. She sat up in bed and let them drape her with all sorts of her jewelry (plus trying it on themselves, of course), and Elaine got out a pad of paper and took all our orders at her pretend restaurant, except she was out of most of the things we wanted, she told us.

Today I went back, by myself, and one of Mom's nurses, Jackie, met me at the door. She sat down with me in the family room and told me that things have changed, they are changing. As of yesterday, Mom was not eating and couldn't swallow her pills. Consequently, within hours, her body--which is now addicted to all sorts of drugs--went through withdrawal. She moaned and cried out in pain all day, begging Jesus to help her. The nurses stayed with her all day, and finally a hospital bed was sent, so they put her into it. They were finally able to get her pills into her, too.

Jackie told me, "I know you have things planned for this weekend, but..." I said that we were planning to bring some treats on Sunday to celebrate Lucy's birthday together with Mom. Jackie started to cry and said, "You should do that tomorrow. Your mom is transitioning to death now. She may rally and stay a week or two, but she may not."

On Monday, they will be moving her to the serenity/hospice house, so after our birthday celebration tomorrow, I'll be staying at my parents' and the hospice alternately.

I went back to Mom's room--she was heavily sedated and sleeping peacefully, but she opened her eyes when I touched her shoulder and put her arms out to me. "Come here to me, my precious daughter, my baby," she whispered. I asked her how she was feeling, and she said, "I'm happy now. Alice has come to have a cup of tea with me."

I gave her some water and told her that I'd brought her some new pajamas to wear. My dad went to run some errands, and the head of the hospice nurses came in because she wanted to pray with Mom. She prayed with her and cried--I can see how much these nurses love her; one of them told me that they fight over who gets to come take care of her.

While she prayed, my mom assented throughout--she can't articulate her own prayers anymore, but that is the hallmark of her life. My mom is a pray-er like nobody else. I can remember as a child, hearing her, behind her closed door, calling out to God in prayer. Last year my dad said he found her on the floor--she was on her knees in prayer, but the pain was so much that she couldn't get up.

When that nurse left, I held Mom's hand and she murmured some incoherent things to me. She said something about the Internet (she's been stressed about the Internet ever since her mind started to fail) and I told her, "Mom, you don't have to learn the Internet. In fact, you never have to think about it again. You're just going to fly up to heaven, and that will be totally off your shoulders. Don't worry about it anymore."

She smiled at me and said, "Thank you. That's so wonderful!"

Then I told her, "In fact, you don't have to learn anything down here anymore. You've learned it all, and you've taught it to me. Don't worry, Mom, I remember everything you've taught me. I promise I won't go out in public in cut-offs. I just did it the one time when Elaine kept me up all night and I had a migraine and had to go to Wal-greens. I'll make sure I look decent and have my lipstick on. I promise I'll stop cooking with Cool-Whip so much, too. I know you want me to use all good ingredients. I'll be sure to use the china and silver and not paper goods. And don't worry--I'll take care of everyone. I'll take care of Dad and Chuck and Rome and Darren and Lucy and Elaine."

"Good, good," she answered. "They need it. They need you to take care of them."

She drifted back to sleep then, and soon a new nurse came to give her a bed bath and put on her new pajamas. Before I left to go home and pack and do all the other things I need to do before being away from my family for a bit, I told her I loved her and that I'd be back soon. I put my grandpa's picture close to her--she loves to look at it and think about how he's waiting in heaven for her to get there. I got her lipstick and carefully applied it for her.

"There, you're all fixed up now, and you look so pretty," I told her. "And your lips won't be dry either."

"Lipstick feels better," Mom whispered. "No reason to go without."

Afterwards, I began to pray. With one of the strongest prayer warriors preparing to leave this Earth, I set forth a stream of intercession like I never have before. I prayed for the world, for those hurting and starving and caught in human trafficking. For refugees and orphans and widows. I prayed for the missionaries.

I see your glory, covering the earth, Lord
Just as the waters, covering the sea
I see the millions, coming to salvation
I see revival, fire in the land
I see the lost, nameless ones remembered
I see the widows, shouting out your praise
I see the friendless, loved and celebrated
Orphans fullfilling, Lord, your calling on their lives

I prayed for all the people I could think of that Mom would be praying for--her friends, those with cancer and other illness, those who are unhappy, those with troubled families. Then I prayed for my friends and all the things I could think of that they're going through. I prayed for our family members who are broken and wounded and trapped in alcoholism or whatever else.

I see the brokenness of families brought to wholeness
I see the prodigals, running home to You
Fathers' hearts, now turning toward their children
And the children's hearts, turning toward the fathers

I prayed for my own family--for my husband and sister-in-law, whom my mom has loved like her own children; for my girls; for my brother; and especially for my dad...for grace and peace.

I see your Church, all rising up in power
Laying down their lives in unity and love
I hear the sound of every tribe and nation
Giving glory to Jesus Christ the Son

And lastly, I thanked God for this awesome, unwavering saint of His who came in disguise as my 5-foot-tall, humble, sweet, dearest mother ("Five-foot-ONE" I can hear her saying). I promised that I would do everything I can my whole life to pray like she did. It's the most important thing I can do.

This is my prayer, oh God
This is my desperate cry
In these days that we're living now
Let Your kingdom come
Let Your will be done
...that Your glory may be seen...

As I left, I felt the mantle my mom has worn all her life drift gently off her and on to my shoulders.

It's on me now.


Alysa said...

You share your heart so beautifully, Al. Go in peace to be with your mother, these final days with her on earth. She has taught you well. You are wearing the mantle with grace and you are a beautiful example of the next generation of pray-ers. I love you. I am sobbing with you tonight, my friend. Praying alongside you. Love.

Laura Brown said...

All my thoughts and prayers are with you and your mother, Alice. I'm so glad that your mom is being cared for by people who love her so much (and yes, I mean you as well as the hospice nurses).

And the part about going out in cutoffs made me smile through my tears.

Katie said...

Oh Alice - I'm weeping, rejoicing, pleading, thanking, and remembering with you. Bruce briefly prayed for you at supper last night and it hit me hard - she's leaving that house and not coming back. I just wept and wept. It's like leaving for collage but this graduation is so much better, and yet, so much more severe. I treasure you're post today. Carry than legacy - for the glory of Christ! Much love, K

Becky said...

My thoughts, tears, and prayers are with you and your family as your mom goes home to the presence of her dear Savior whom she has loved and served so faithfully on this earth. What a example she is to us all! Thank you for sharing her life with us. Love, Becky

julie k said...

Alice, you really have a way with words. So beautiful and heartfelt. Oh Lord, that we all might be able to leave an inheritance such as this. What an inspiration. Thank you for sharing the depths of your soul here. xo in love and prayer.

Juliet said...

Dearest Alice

Just talked to Darren a little while ago. Our prayers are that God will take your Mother home soon.

I know my mother before she went home to heaven told me,"I want to go home and I want to go soon." God granted her that desire.

Praying for all of you. Not an easy time. But God does grant us all His wonderful grace for such time like these.

Melanie said...

Sending you all my love and prayers right now, Alice.

Heather said...

Sending you lots of thoughts and prayers to you and your family...

Cindy said...


I'm praying for you and your family during this time. I praise God for your mom's life. She is an awesome woman.


Kacie said...

Whew. Your stories from your mom's bedside are so powerful, so between worlds.