A close friend spent this past week at the hospital bedside of his brother. Happiest of all possible endings to a long week! Not only was his brother released to go home yesterday, but he accepted Christ as his savior! Angels rejoiced!
I tell you that, to tell you this…
Thinking about the scenario of sitting at a loved one’s hospital bedside took me back. A couple of years ago (has it been that long?!) my mom was in the hospital with congestive heart failure. She’d been extremely restless so they sedated her deeply enough that she was basically in a medical coma. I sat at her side for a week. Watching her on a ventilator and unaware that I was there. I touched her and talked to her.
I was approached by medical and hospital staff who did not expect her to survive. I was asked end-of-life questions and asked to make final decisions. I had no signed document stating that it was MY decision to make. I felt it was not only my decision. We haven’t had a very strong relationship for many many years. I felt it was the decision of my brother and my uncle (mom’s brother). But rarely were we in the room together when these people came to call with their questions.
About Thursday of that week, they decided to take her off the ventilator and allow her to slowly “wake up”. Leaving her survival uncertain. On Friday I went to visit again. She was slowing coming around. She was talking and answering the nurse’s questions appropriately. They were amazed!
As the nurse questioned her about her children she named me and my brother. And then, my other brother. She recounted to the nurse how he was born with the cord around his neck and had died. And how sad she was and how she still misses him. Her speech was very slurred and she was still in and out of sleep. But I understood every word and repeated it to the nurse so she knew mom was making sense. (why are my hands shaking as I type this?) It was a precious day. A day mom does not remember.
I live about 45 minutes away from mom and the hospital So, knowing she was waking up and having been assured the staff would call me if needed, I chose to stay home that weekend.
When I returned on Monday she was fully awake and surprised to see me. I said “look at you!” as she smiled. “Yeah, look at me”, and then said something about how she’d been there for a while. “I know”, I told her, “I was here all week”. She had no idea, but seemed to gain a little comfort even after the fact.
I don’t remember if it was the Friday or that following Monday, but there was a day when a hospital Chaplain came to mom’s room to visit. I have no idea what religious denomination she is affiliated with. I don’t even remember her name. I do remember she had some kind of little book with her…a small New Testament maybe? What I DO remember is that my mother requested that she read her the 23rd Psalm. You know the one…
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. KJV
It wouldn’t be my first choice, but it’s what gives mom comfort. In fact, when my grandmother (mom’s mom) was dying she requested this verse also. Grandma passed away shortly after.
I probably wouldn’t even remember this if it weren’t for the fact that this hospital chaplain DID NOT HAVE THE PSALM WITH HER TO READ! Whatever little book or Bible she carried with her was not complete and she couldn’t recite it.
Daughter and technology to the rescue! I picked up my trusty Blackberry smart phone and opened my You Version Bible app and read her the Psalm she requested.
Now, approximately two years later, mom is in a nursing home. She shares a very small room with another resident. It’s basically a long-term hospital environment. I still don’t visit often. In fact, much to my regret, I didn’t go see her this past Mother’s Day. I have some physical issues of my own that stopped me. Mom doesn’t have a phone so I can’t even call her.
I begin to digress so I’ll stop there. I just wanted to share that precious memory with you all. Thanks for stopping by and “listening”.
It’s Friday and we’re hoping that the weather cooperates this weekend so we can FINALLY get our garden planted!! See these previous posts for garden construction pictures: How Does Your Garden Grow? and This and That. Have a great weekend everyone!
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