Not every day is this day

After spending yesterday afternoon and evening with our Mom as she became less and less responsive, as the hours she has had no food or drink lengthened into days, I was afraid.

On the way back to Worcester on the Mass Pike, praying for our mother in my heart I heard myself say aloud, “Lord, I am afraid.” And that was truth. Fear and faith both lived in me.

I was afraid the day had come for her departure from us. I was afraid of living a future without the one person who had been part of life every single day of my past. I was afraid of loss. I was afraid of the unknown. I was afraid of my own weakness. And it just came out of me, out loud, “I am afraid.”

It came as a prayer. It was addressed to God, whose faithfulness I have witnessed more times than the sands of the shore or the stars in the sky could count. I was afraid, and I needed God (who knew it) to know that I knew it too.

This morning it was harder. She was less responsive, in fact almost not at all. Myself and two siblings talked about what might be done, or not done. We decided to have Mom taken by ambulance to Cambridge Hospital ER.

The guys came. One of them looked at the family photos around the room. One of them asked where she was from in Ireland. They let her become a person, and not simply a weakened body. That meant a lot to me.

Ann and I followed over in our cars. We found a hospital open, functioning, and at the same time closed to much movement due to the respect that is due to Covid-19.

In the background, hundreds of people had been praying for Mom. Some know her. Many know one of her children. Some know neither, but they know that prayer is a power that surrenders to the Power.

It was the most amazing ER visit I’ve made or seen. A nurse, a doctor: two women who saw, who knew what to do, who did it. Without hesitation or delay, and with exquisite attentive skilled humanity. Blood sugar low, dehydration, a UTI. ‘This, we will do. This, doesn’t appear necessary or helpful.’ The monster diminished in size and ceased to roar as loudly.

Those two good women of medicine spoke to us like fellow travelers on the rocky road of life. They spoke to Mom like she’s real. Like she counts. Like her life has been amazing. Like her life still counts.

And all of that, all of that, is true.

The Doctor invited us in to see our mother. We entered. Mom, there, bright-eyed and speaking (both, miracles of restoration), called us each by name.

Home she went to Somerville. She’s confused a bit. Confidentially, so am I (and not just about these last two days)!

Much and many contributed to this reversal toward life. At 91, who knows? Every day, every part of a day, is a miracle. And the power of loving prayer I’ve seen today is an ongoing constant miracle in this certifiably crazy world (that still has God’s fingerprints all over it. Some of those prints left as lately as … today).

7:20 am, by Galway Bay, November 2012

And so, thank you to the pray-ers. Thank you to the medical professionals who are miracles in motion. (And that’s not easy to sustain). Thank you to the gift of our family, near and far, across generations. Thank you dear God for this moment and this day. And help us live the next and the next, come what challenges may. And thank you Mom. There is in you a spirit that can only have come from the Spirit. Such a gift.

Carry on.

3 thoughts on “Not every day is this day

  1. John, thanks for sharing this. We go through similar experiences (UTIs, falls, flu, worry over COVID, etc) with our 94-yr old mother. It’s always so wonderful to see her, whether via Zoom or in VA. Always a worry to be far away. Always in our thoughts, prayers, and smiles. God bless your Mom.

  2. Your account is both deeply moving and familiar to me, John. God bless your dear Mum, her children, her caregivers and the community of prayer that supports you all. Thank you for this very personal reminder that we live our lives in God.

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