Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Waiting Game

Death. It's such a strange thing to think so much about. But the past 3 days, it has occupied most of my thoughts both day and night. My dear Pepa is lying in a hospital bed on the 4th floor of the Carillon house. It's where people go to die. The minutes and hours continue to creep by and he continues to breathe and moan and slip in and out of sleep. I've never experienced anything like this before. The last time I lost someone this close to me, I was 12 years old. I remember being called out of my 7th grade math class and finding my dad waiting for me in the office. Mama Jo was dead. It happened so suddenly. The words felt like someone punched me in the gut and my eyes were stinging and I was searching for air. This came out of nowhere. No warning. Just death. But this is so different. We are all waiting for him to breathe his last breath. We know it's coming and his deteriorating body is somehow getting worse and showing signs of the "final stages." And we all just wait. The feelings are the same. My gut still feels pummeled, my eyes are still stinging. But it didn't come with one sharp blow. It's a slow, constant beating that has me reaching for air at every turn but finding no relief. Or maybe it's me that's holding my breath. I'm just waiting for the call or the text message. Surely I will get a call. Can you imagine hearing the AT&T default ding and reading those words across a phone screen? Like it's just another Facebook update or RSVP to Ava's birthday party. But maybe the death will bring about a release. Maybe the knot in my stomach from waiting will slowly go away. I don't know why he's still here. I don't know if he's hurting or scared or just ready to be gone. But God knows. And I have to trust that He's here in the midst of this waiting. He's doing a work or He's teaching a lesson or He's testing our faith. I don't know the why yet, but it feels so good to know that I don't have to know all the answers. I just have to try and find the breaths when they come. And I just have to keep waiting...until he's gone. And then I can start missing him. I can cry a different set of tears. Tears of loss and grief. There will be a few tears of joy for his heavenly homecoming. And I will try to be strong and help my kids understand and I will fail, and I will cry and that will be ok. And I will remember all the things I loved about him. And I will be thankful for the last few years he's gotten to spend making memories with my kids. Memories of peppermints and "rides" in the hospital bed. Of singing and dancing and laughing. Of quiet moments shared gazing out the window. I will have my own personal memories of his motorcycle, walking calves, calling him Ralph and him calling me Sydney. So many memories of life and joy. And those are the things that will make the death bearable.

1 comment:

The Barnyards said...

Sweet, friend. With tears streaming down, I connect with your pain and will remember to pray every day. Please let us know if there's ever anything you need.