I went to Millsboro this afternoon, armed with Baby Magic, baby powder, No-rinse Shampoo, toothpaste and two towels and two washcloths. I never can find what I need when I am there and need to bathe or clean Gertrude up. When I got there, she was propped up in her bed with her glasses on, clean, DRESSED, with her favorite movie playing on the DVD player. I could not believe my eyes!
Last Sunday, when I went, I thought it would be my last visit. When I walked in she was lying cross-scissored, exposed and nearly comatose. Her gown was soiled, and her sheets were tangled and the top sheet had food on it. I got her straightened out in the bed, saw that it was getting late and that she needed mouth care and bathing. I asked her if she knew who I was, and there was absolutely no response from her staring eyes. So I bathed her, straightened chucks and bed sheets. Got her into a clean gown and obtained a clean top sheet. I tucked the sheet and her favorite blanket from home into the foot of the bed securely and brought the blankets up around her shoulders. I brushed and flossed her teeth, and swabbed old food out of her mouth. I brushed and braided her hair and then I held her and prayed for her and wept into that snowy white hair while I told her how blessed we have been to know and love her. She never once gave any indication that she knew who I was or that I was there. I was sure that I would never see her alive again. This week, everytime I called, they said that she had no change. She was pretty much unresponsive, just on “comfort measures” and not eating much, not drinking much. Deborah was in on Thusday, and was able to get some response out of her, but she still wasn’t doing well.
But today, they tell me that she has some good days and that this is one of them. She knew me — said “Mary Ann” when I asked her if she knew who I was. Wanted me to do mouth care, didn’t want me to do anything to her hair, and tried to talk to me. I chattered around there while I brushed and flossed her teeth, and she followed the conversation. When I was leaving she reached out her hand to me and said what sounded like, “Tell Don I’m being good.” When I repeated it back to her, she nodded and then tried hard to say something else about “Tell ya-ya-ya-ya-and ya-ya-ya-ya–” I said, “Tell Stifflie (Deborah) Rachel and Christina to come see you?” “Yes!!!” she said happily. And that was how I left her. She was watching a Christmas video from Bill Gaither, and she promised to eat her supper.
Do you feel like hearing some feelings? I feel so frozen. Too many things that if I let myself think about will start an avalanche of tears that will not stop. Gertrude is never far from my mind, but there are other things, too–
Tomorrow I go with Daddy to an oncology appointment that is of critical proportions. Some things are not good. I see the grief in Mama’s eyes and wish I could fix it.
I miss Youngest Son. I want him to be obedient to The Father, and I believe that God has called him, but I miss him. I miss his friends crashing in and out of the house, and their chatter and laughter and appetites.
I am saddened by the violence against our school — not so much because of the damage that was done, but by the damage in the hearts that perpetuated it. I keep thinking about the parents and siblings of these young men, and I weep for these families. “Lord Jesus, where could we have helped?”
And then, on a really carnal side: This week we learned that our farm is in the direct line of the proposed by-pass for 113. In fact, where our house sits is to be the median between the north and south bound lanes. If they choose any of the proposed plans that go west of Milford (and that is the probable route, given the farm land here and the expensive housing developments to the east), it will take our entire farm. Our chicken house lane will be one of the exits or on-ramps for Route 36. Yes, they will compensate. Yes, they will be fair. Yes, it isn’t going to be for a while. But I don’t want to think about it. We’ve been so happy here. In my “Please, Lord Jesus, don’t let this happen,” I hear, “I’m but a stranger here — Heaven is my Home!” and I’m trying hard to think “eternal” in the middle of the “present” (but it isn’t too easy!). Daniel laughs at me, and waxes eloquent in his ability to “leave it all” but that is not at all comforting.
There are some other things, too. We all have them, and they are either too personal, or the right to share them isn’t ours, but they are still on our hearts. Tonight I choose to remember that we are never out of the Father’s care. He knows about Gertrude and Daddy and Lem and broken hearts and people that are too attached to earthly things. He made us, and it comforts my heart to acknowlege that He LOVES us, He promised to never leave us, never forsake us. And none of this surprises Him. And probably He saw that “this world’s empty glory is costing me too dear” and is answering a life-prayer that He would help me to remember that what really matters is His eternal Kingdom. That means that all of this is good for me. I think. And on that note, I am ending this too-long post.