Friday, March 30, 2012

Time Out

Somewhere through the muddled sleepiness of dreamland I had an epiphany. If you don't have anything to say, you shouldn't say anything.

Somewhere in the muddle of the past few weeks, I've lost my way with the blog. I find myself rambling about things I don't even care why should anyone else. The blog has suffered, along with pretty much everything else, from lack of time and lack of energy.

Today, I declare a time out.

I'm not sure when I'll be back. It probably won't be long, but I need to give myself room to breathe, time to enjoy my kids' spring break, and permission to crash for a while.

I'll be back in the game soon.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Broken Hearted

As hard as it is to lose your mother, it's got to be a million times worse to lose your spouse. Dad chose Mom, committed to her, and stuck with her through ups and downs, thick and thin, better and worse for over 48 years. When she was gone, his heart was ripped in two, as if his "one flesh" had suddenly been torn apart.

Broken hearted, that's what he was. The doctor confirmed it.

On Monday morning, an angiogram confirmed it too. He had a 95% blockage to one side of his heart and a 95% blockage to the other. He would not be released from the hospital, or even from his bed, but would be sent straight upstairs to the cardiac ICU and put into the first slot for heart surgery, first thing Tuesday morning.

3 bypasses later, he's already shuffling around the progressive care unit. He took a ten minute walk this morning, more than he could have done before. He'll go home tomorrow or Sunday, but not in time for Mom's scheduled memorial service, so we've postponed it until a later date.

Dad's heart is healing up. They say in 6-8 weeks he'll be good as new.

I wish his other broken heart could heal so swiftly.

Prayers for you, Dad. I love you.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It Takes a Village

They say it takes a village to raise a child. After living in Africa, where kids roam about under the watchful eye of everyone, I've seen how it's true. What I've recently experienced, though, makes me realize that it is as much a group effort to usher someone out of life as it is to welcome them in.

It takes a husband...

Over the past 6 months, Dad tended tirelessly and without fail to Mom's every need. Day and night, he waited on her, doled out her meds, made sure she was eating and drinking, covered her when she was cold. He moved her from bed to chair and back again as many times a day as she wanted to move. He gave up his hobbies and his love for puttering outdoors to be close to her. He fulfilled his promises of 48 years ago... "For better or for worse, in sickness and in health..." He faced the worst and made the best of it.

It takes a son or two...

Both of my brothers put their lives on hold to serve their mother and father. David spent as many weekends as he could with Mom, always coming up with something he thought would please her. He painted the kitchen. He took family portraits. He brought over tidbits of anything he thought would taste good to her. He presented her with one of the most precious gifts she ever received, a video of our family that she watched over and over, insisting that everyone who walked through the door would watch it with her. He curled up next to her on the bed and held her hand. And when Mom was gone and there was nothing left to do for her, he ministered to Dad, spending a whole week helping him get adjusted.

Geoffrey made the trek down from Alaska an astounding once a month since October. It made me proud to see how he cared for Mom, how he was able to be still and quiet and minister to her, especially on his last 2 visits. He, too, brought gifts of joy to her, drawings by his son, pictures of his children, and the gift of laughter.

It takes some in-laws...

Without 3 wonderful spouses, my brothers and I couldn't have been there with Mom and Dad like we were. All three of our spouses said, "Go. I'll take care of things at home."

It takes a church...

Mom and Dad have a wonderful support groups from church, both local and universal. People dropped by with flowers, food, funny stories to share. People sent movies, cleaned up the yard, dusted the cobwebs. People surrounded us at church. A couple of ladies invited me for an occasional lunch or coffee, just to revive my spirit. People flew in from Alaska and Idaho, drove in from all over Washington, Oregon, and California. And people sent cards...dozens and dozens of beautiful, heart-felt, hand written cards that brought joy to Mom every day.

It takes a nurse...

I don't know what we would have done without nurse Cathey. She offered a bit of sanity to our Mondays over the last few months. She was the one who could answer our questions, who could tell us what to expect next, or that it was okay to not know what was coming next. We learned to trust her to do her best for Mom and for all of us. We'll miss her.

It takes a boss...

My co-workers blessed me so much with the freedom to be as available to Mom and Dad as I needed to be. They covered for me, they prayed with me and for me, they understood. My brothers experienced the same thing... "Go." When Geoffrey ran out of leave, his co-workers donated leave days so he could be here. What a tremendous sacrifice.

It takes a pharmacist...

I can't tell you what a blessing it was for Jim to reach through his pharmacy window the night before Mom died, grasp both my hands, and pray with me. If I ever hesitate to pray with someone who is hurting, I hope I will remember how it touched my heart for him to ignore the line behind me and minister not only to my mother's body, but to my soul.

It takes a generation...

The grandkids brought such joy to Mom in her last months and weeks. Even when she didn't feel like doing anything for herself, she had an ear to listen to her granddaughters. Little videos of the young grandsons were sure to bring a smile to her face. When I said good-bye to her the last time before she went to sleep, I told her I was going to pick up my daughters and I'd be back later. She reached out to me and said, "Tell them I love them very much." It's a memory I'll cherish always. My mom's last words to me were of her love for my children. I'll tell them, Mom. Again and again.

It takes a family.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

A Loss for Words

For someone who revels in using words to communicate, to paint pictures, to express emotion, I find myself at a loss for words. There is nothing I can say to tell you how truly special my mother was. She lived with grace and died in grace on Friday, March 2. And though I miss her already, I wish I could make you understand the gift of peace she left with me as she stepped in full assurance into the arms of Jesus. I'll share some stories of her legacy here from time to time, but for now I'd like to hold those memories close to my chest. There's plenty of time for story telling later.

My Mom
Betty Wyatt
January 3, 1943 - March 2, 2012