Saturday, February 6, 2010

memoirs on the passing life

Entry #1, here goes something...

He had a stroke in early November, exactly 3 months before he was buried.

Hearing he was sick didn't bring to surface many emotions, initially, until I came home to visit and the serious tone in my mother's voice called out to my tears.

And seeing him in the hospital bed was even worse. How could this man, known more than most things (to me, anyway) for being a opinionated, controlling, and a bit bossy, be lying in this bed so completely vulnerable and unable to speak clearly? It's a question many ask as they watch the once strong and healthy lie in a bed, now described as sickly and immobile. And it's a disheartening sight.

But I think it was particularly difficult for me because he had never let himself be vulnerable before me, never really needed my help, my hand. But now? It was his very sustenance, the help of someone else. Completely dependent on the grace of God and the love of Family and strangers. And for 5 hours that day, I sat with him, mostly wordlessly, and tried my best to discern his needs. Do you want an ice chip? Do you want a cold washcloth on your forehead? Do you want me to just stand here and hold your hand and watch the football game with you? All of the above.

It was a meaningful day for us, to be able to care for him for the first time in my life. Odd, isn't it, how too many of us only become vulnerable when we're forced into it? That we wait until the end of life to let ourselves need someone else? I left that hospital thankful - thankful for the chance to be needed by him, for some sort of reconciliation to take place, thougth not by any means fully completed.

I drove home listening to Sara Groves' new album, "Fireflies and Songs" and crying because in some way, I'd just experienced feelings similar to what she felt when she wrote down these words:

"It took me by surprise, this old house and these old feelings
walked 'round and looked inside, familiar walls and halls and ceilings...
sad, fruitful, broken, true."
[This House]

Grace and peace be ours, those who know full well that sadness and Italicreconciliation and brokenness and hurt can all co-exist, who hold it in our hands wondering what to do next...

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