Monthly Archives: June 2015

Mama Sees What We Cannot

We were sitting there around her bed, Uncle Jesse, Aunt Gladys, Alma, Mark,Jr. and I.  Mama had been pretty much comatose for a couple of hours, barely responding to anything.  And never fully comprehensible in anything she said.  In earlier days, she would hear things in the bedside conversations that would shake her from her withdrawn state and she would ask, “What?” or “Who?” but today there was none of that.  Just watching the ceiling sometimes, following an unseen object that seemed to be moving from one area of the room to a far corner.  Sometimes she would have a small smile, sometimes a puzzled look. We were letting her rest and the conversation between the five of us was gentle.  Sweet.  Memories and concern and the sorrow of what we were seeing wrapped us in an easy camaraderie where time seemed to stand still..

Suddenly, without warning, Mama opened her eyes, her face awash with glorious joy.  She lifted both arms towards Heaven and made beckoning motions with her hands. And as clear as a bell, no mumbling, no stumbling, no trailing off, she said, “Oh!  Here’s my Sweetie!  When did you get back?  Come here!  I love you!” And then, just as quickly, she returned to her comatose state, but a look of puzzlement would sometimes fleet across her face like, “What was that about?” It was an incredibly Holy moment and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

This evening, she is still in that state, where it feels like one foot is on earth and one in Heaven.  She is seemingly less and less aware of this old world,  and is sleeping more and more. One of us local siblings is usually with her.  Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren come in and out.  We give drinks of ice water, and spoon a little bit of food in — if she allows us to.  These hard days are times of Grace and Glory–as well as the sadness that is part of every waking moment.

Surrounded by love, held tight in the prayers, secure in the eyes of The Father, we rest.

And my heart gives grateful praise

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Sweet Mama Update

There really is no new news to report when it comes to the state of our Mama’s health.  Today has been ordinary in that there were no swift declines or crisis, just a quiet watching over and some unexpected confusion. At one point today, while Alma was there, Alma asked her if she knew who she was.

She said, “I know you are Mark Yoder’s daughter.”

“But what is my name?”she persisted.

“I just can’t remember your name right now,” she said.

About then, Mark’s Tim came in and Alma asked her, “Who is that?”  “That’s Tim!” she said.  And that is pretty much the tenor of things — some times she is with it and seems to know what is going on.  At other times she is really out of it.

Please pray for us as a family that we will have courage and strength and patience and wisdom.  All of us are very tired.  All of us want to do what is best for our Mama’s comfort, but we realize our limitations.  Yesterday morning at the end of our family vacation, in our last morning family worship, as we were closing out, Lem said he had a word for us and he read these verses from Matthew 11.

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Then today, Clint gave to us as siblings the promise he had received for today and that was Exodus 14:14.

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.

On these promises, we choose to stand.  We are not superhuman, but we do serve an incredible God and we have — each one of us– found HIM faithful.

Here is a picture of My Sweet Mama with my Favoritest Oldest Grandson.  This was taken on the best of times we have known in the last week.  Si was longing to see his Grandma Yoder and She knew him and talked to him.
IMG_0114

For this and so many other best gifts,

~My heart gives grateful praise.

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When Plans change

I want to sit a little longer in my chair.  The breeze is blowing in the side window, and everything is so quiet.  All our Littles have given big hugs, collected their flip flops and belongings, and been safely strapped into their respective car seats and boosters and shouted their good-byes.  All my adult children that are “spoused” have packed their cars, hugged their Daddy and Momma and their sibs and in-laws and driven out of the lane on their way back to their normals.

It has been a bitter sweet weekend.  We had planned to go to Pennsylvania to Copeland Lodge (http://copelandspring.com/) for five days this week (Wednesday to Sunday) for our biennual family vacation.  Ten bedrooms, lots of bathrooms, big kitchen and great room — everything just so right for a family our size.  Daniel’s sister, Lena, was going to be with us, so that made a grand total of 15 in the lodge.  Eldest Daughter, Christina, had carefully planned and the rest had marshalled around her to help with food and expenses and activities.  I could hardly contain myself, I was so excited.  We had arranged care for OGA and BL, and time away in a neutral turf without home responsibilities sounded so wonderful.

Then Sweet Mama fell, broke her femur, had surgery, developed pneumonia, had a heart attack, developed a secondary infection and eventually came home from the hospital under the care of Hospice to a sunny corner room at the Country Rest Home where there would be care for her broken leg, and comfort for her remaining days.  Our children offered me the option of not going to Pennsylvania, but rather a “stay-cation” where everyone would come home and we would do the best we could while here at home.  I could almost feel the anxiety drain from my body as I discovered that this was not the offer of only one of our kids, but every single one of them, along with the three in-laws.  I gratefully took the offer.  It gave me the opportunity to be close enough to keep in touch, and my siblings graciously freed me up from having to be responsible for what happened with Mama for these five days.

And so, we’ve had some happy, happy times together.  Some of the stuff they did without me.  Some of the time they cheerfully held the edges of stuff together for me with Audrey and Linda and together, we just kept things going.  There was a middle of the night call as Mama went into crisis, and then daily visits and catching up with calls and texts.  I was so glad I was here, and could be involved in these critical days, even while others carried the brunt of the burden. The whole intensity of the situation felt so different than it would have from four hours away.

There was a time, Thursday night, when we did not think Mama would live through the night.  I spoke to my brother, Clint, and asked him to come.  Mark spoke to Nel and Rose and told them they should come, as well.  Mama took one look at her oldest son and things were immediately better.  When Nel got in the next morning, she went into a quiet sort of waiting that was much easier for us to handle.  And while she is not getting better, there is a peacefulness that is wonderful to see. However, though things are not as critical as they were, she does continue to deteriorate.  Clint left to go home to South Carolina around noon, and Nels plan to leave in the morning.  The four youngest of Mama’s children will see this through.  I’m so glad that Clint and Nel and Rose came.  Mama’s most lucid moments were for them this weekend, and their memories will be far better than we had hoped when we asked them to come home.  The days ahead look uncertain and difficult, but we are not alone, and we have incredible support from our families and the extended families.

And I am free to be more involved again.  Once again, having Lena here, having Rachel home, and having Deborah’s familiarity with our house routine and good help are blessings of no small measure.  There is much for which to be thankful.
And so, though our family  may not have had the vacation that we had hoped to have, I believe that we still have had the very best that these days could have afforded under the circumstances.

. . . and my heart gives grateful praise.

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