Note: This is published with permission from my dear Daddy.
It has been one month since I saw my stepmother breathe her last here on Earth. For the next few days, I was prompted to write. I was in awe that God changed my plans to fit into His plans.
Often times, I feel that the Lord works in my life, but there are times when I look and wonder if I am missing some of His urgings due to my lack of prayer and focus on Him. I get so busy and caught up in the life that He allows me to live – but that I sometimes feel I’ve created. This may sound a bit contradictory, but it is my reality and God blesses me through my own versions of “Lord I have faith, please help me in my lack of faith”.
My stepmother went into the hospital with some abdominal pain from a lack of movement in her bowels. She lived a challenging lifestyle for over 5 years due to health challenges yet this one was not as common for her. She was admitted and was going to meet with a surgeon in the morning to decide what the best course of action was. By morning, her responsiveness and coherance had dramatically decreased and it was found that her blood pressue had dropped dangerously low and she was likely septic. From the point of determining the blood pressure and coherance change until her death was only a matter of maybe 4 hours. For the privacy of my family, I won’t go into all the details. The point of writing is to display for all to see – or atleast those that read this – that God DID work in her life and in mine that day, the days prior and days since.
Backing up, the night before her death, I had discussed with my husband that after I got done with everything I needed to do in the morning, including dental appointments for four kids, I’d run up to the hospital to check on my stepmother. I usually didn’t visit the first 24 hours of her hospital stays, as that was time the hospital would be determining the best course of action. But the morning of, I awoke early and had this “strange” feeling that I needed to go up to the hospital early. I checked emails and googled bowel obstruction in elderly, as I wanted some background before walking in the room. Providentially, I came across a blog written by a medical professional that talked about some of the causes of death in elderly. In it he wrote about how some families, with all good intentions, will do “everything possible” to maintain life and that many people today struggle with accepting that death is part of life. The blog detailed some of the many things a hospital will do if you say you want “everything” done, and again, I had this prompting that it was time to go to the hospital.
I know now that the Lord was allowing me to be prepared for the conversation I would have with my dad, stepsister and a Rapid Response nurse just hours later. The Lord allowed me to be a voice for my stepmother, in a way I never would have chosen or imagine. I was able to help my dad, in the fog of severe grief for his beloved wife, see that she would not have chosen all of the extreme measures the ICU would have required, all with a very small percentage chance of survivial or recovery. I was able to be by his side, holding his hand, hugging his aching body and doing my best to explain what the nurse was urgently asking him.
As my children rushed to the hospital that morning, along with other family members, my children cried. Some cried for the eminant loss of their grandmother and some cried because they didn’t know the condition of her heart towards Christ. In the midst of the tears and strain, my youngest girl, not quite 5, was quick to tell us, that Grandma wasn’t hurting anymore, and that now she could jump and run. It was through the lips of her sweet soul that God spoke to us to comfort us.
Again, I looked back at just 24 hours earlier in our lives and remembered a sweet girl at church who spoke during a special Student Sunday. She shared her testimony and in it spoke on how it took her a few years to find peace after her grandmother’s death. She shared, to my memory, on how it hurt, but that God had a plan and she was finally ok with that. Little did I know that my children would be experiencing similar grief so soon, and I know that her words impacted their lives.
God, also orchestrated a rare day, where my entire family was not working. My husband had taken the day off, for other reasons which allowed me to go up to the hospital; my college daughter was home and not working on that one day; my other working daughter was able to ask off. God knew, before we did, that we needed that day to just be together and be shoulders to cry on for eachother.
In the days that have followed, we have had such sweet conversations about salvation and God’s handiwork. We’ve shared memories of grandma and we’ve cried. My youngest daughter has a fascination now with knowing her grandparents, their parents, etc. Every few days, I’ll hear her say, “I miss Grandma Pat. I know she’s not hurting anymore though.” This youngest girl adores her Grandpa and, in my opinion, has been gifted with a sensativity beyond her years, to realize when he needs a hug, kiss, or smile.
Death is hard. I am so sad that she is not here with us on Earth, smiling into my dad’s eyes, calling her daughter for their daily talk, or cheering my kids on in their activities. Yet, I know that He orchestrated the day in a way that we could all be together and have the memory of love and support that was ever-so-present in the hospital room that day.