Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Farewell to yesterday's road

Today my oldest son John would have been 43. I'd like to think he enjoyed all the partying that took place last weekend in his honor... a celebration of his life with a wonderfully loving group of friends and townsfolk who shared stories, played John's music and toasted him with his favorite libation! Javalina Crossing-you're my new favorite BCC hangout, and Tumbleweed Junction... my favorite band!

Soon after I wrote my last post, John passed with a sigh and a grunt.  I'd like to think the sigh was having at last reached the top of that Stairway to Heaven ("our song") and the grunt? That was John pushing the gate of heaven open after his long arduous journey. I'm sure when I get there, he'll be waiting.  I heard from many of his friends that he talked about me a lot more than I might have otherwise been comfortable with.  In fact, he was often described as a "Mama's boy".  ...and that makes me smile!

In retrospect, I realized that in my last post, I was praying God's will. Before then, even as I prayed and believed God for healing, He kept saying no. I'm thinking that even as ornery as he was, the Lord has some important work for him in heaven.  I'll know for sure when my time comes. Though I expect it will have something to do with fishing or caring for all those dogs in heaven.

I'm on my way home tomorrow. Back to "usual" if there is such a thing after this particular road.  I've decided that I'm one month behind the rest of you and starting 2013 on Feb. 1--- and did you know, they're having a Super Bowl on my birthday!

1 John 5:14-15

Monday, January 14, 2013


Sitting with my son John in hospice. It has been five days since the decision was made to rescue him from the debilitation his illness would have left him with. A life that he often said he wouldn't want should that be the path his life took.  And so here we are.

He is looking very peaceful and comfortable thanks to the hourly medication he's receiving. His breathing is fast, with an occaisional deep sigh. Each time he does that my heart quickens-and then he breathes again... and that is where the confusion is. To say I am torn is an understatement. I'm his mom, he's my baby and here I sit waiting for him to die... or get up and walk out of here!

Over these days of waiting, his wife, family and friends and I have laughed, cried, had our "moments", as we call them of weeping and wishing we didn't have to be here. I know when I step away for too long, I want to be by his bedside...and yet I utterly despise that I have to be here at all.

I freely confess that I am angry! Angry with the Lord for doing this to me.  I wonder what kind of love this is, that He would allow my firstborn to go through all this, to hurt his wife like this, to cause this kind of pain to me- one who has been faithful to love, to serve, to do "all the right things" His Word directs.

I've talked a lot about Job in many recent posts...and as sad a tale as that is I cling most to one verse ( Job 13:15 ) . Not to say I always "feel" it, but it reminds me there is more to my current sense of sadness and grief.  I will still be here- and after the emotions I am currently experiencing have faded-my life will continue. The sun will still shine, and my Lord will be right there with me- and help me through (Psalms 23:1-6 )

I want so much for John's body to cease its struggle for breath- to reach the top of that "Stairway to Heaven" -but Lord, the waiting is so very hard! I pray most of all for the waiting to end.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Selfish vs Selfless

It's not often that I write more than 6 posts a year.  As I share my thoughts on this unexpected journey-feel free to share yours. I've always believed in commUNITY and hope that what I write may someday help you, even as your prayers, love and support help me.

As this journey continues, the question remains for Dawn and I: "Are we doing the right thing?"

I have been here before. I've lost a husband in the past and while he died at an unexpected time, it was something I knew was coming. I
can't say I was truly ready but it just occurred to me that at his passing he was just about my son John's age..43.  I was there when my mom succumbed to cancer (age 58).  ...and when my dad suffered heart and kidney failure and we said good-bye.

It is indeed true that the one thing we're sure of is that someday we're going to die. A common saying is that the only guarantee we have in
this life is "death and taxes".  I know that many, if not all of us have given some thought to how we'd like to leave this world. Whether one is a
Christian who believes in going to our heavenly home after our time is done; or, as my beloved believes... that we just cease to exist- you
know that as those you love die, you've wondered what it will be. Is there more after our bodies succumb? To put it bluntly we come face to
face with our mortality. This life WILL end.

Knowing that John is never going to have a quality of life even 50% of what he once had, Dawn and I are faced with the choice to
discontinue curative treatment. Essentially, we would need to tell the doctors and nurses to no longer administer the antibiotics currently
being given. To take him off the ventilator that helps him to breathe easier. To stop the fever-reducing medication and the blood pressure medicine and just keep him comfortable. It means saying good bye to John-even the John that we wish we didn't see in this helpless, debilitated state.

We want to be selfish and keep him with us. We want some indication that the doctors are wrong and that he'll return to the John that made
us laugh, cooked a mean "whatever is in the fridge" meal. Called his mom just because he was bored so we could share music, discuss politics and what shows we were watching on the tube or internet. We want!!!

We've discussed what John would want too.  And even if we were to continue, where he is now would likely not change. He'd really never
return to us as we want.  Right now, it is so painful to see him lying in the bed, connected to multiple monitors and IVs and a respirator. It hurts to know that he would shoot us both for letting him remain in this state. And so, we're going to do the self-less.

...and yet I pray even as Jesus did in Gethsemene “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
(Lk 22:42).

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Unexpected Path...

My vision for this blog, "Along the Way" is to share all the Lord is doing in my life as I journey on the road toward the narrow gate.  If you know me-from Facebook or some other place, you also know that the current road I'm on is not one I ever expected. Indeed, this particular slice of the journey is testing my faith more than even I want to admit.

As I write, I'm in ICU at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix, AZ. I'm spending the night with my beautiful boy John as soon we're going to discontinue treatment and "let go and let God" as the saying goes.

How often do we say that we're going to do this, and then take it back from Him? I know I've done it more often than I can count! I'm sure you have a few of those "Thanks Father, I got this one now" moments. And then He puts us in that position where He's the only one that can possibly show us the way, the right thing to do- His will.

On this journey his wife, Dawn, and I have had more mountaintops (when it seemed he'd recover) and valleys (when another infection attacked or his poor brain would fill up with fluid-AGAIN). We were talking about it the other night and had to wonder if God had given us the right path to choose even before we traversed another of the "valley" times. And oh how it hurts!! And trusting God is ALL I can do!

I know I'm not the first mom to lose a child. And yet it is such a solitary experience also. Thoughts wander to all my "bad mother" moments and how I'd like a do-over. Then, off to all the times John stole my car- even going so far as to bring back one stolen vehicle because it ran out of gas, then stealing the other one!  A few "John got busted" calls, and a time or two when he just needed his mom, even as an adult.

One call, quite a few years ago, he was crying "Mom, my car caught on fire".  When I asked if he was ok, the answer was " yes I'm ok but Mom, it's a '69 Camaro and now it's on fire".  More recently...just about a year ago, his favorite dog, Harley, was severely injured and he was heartbroken-and because he was, so was I.  Harley survived that just as John has survived so much throughout his life. Sadly, Harley passed away just before Christmas, and John never knew it.  And now, if dogs go to heaven, John will be united with him.

I've told John that he's forgiven for all the bad stuff he's done. I've asked John's forgiveness for all the bad choices I have made that affected his own path. I hope and pray most of all that when he stands before God that our Lord will see John's good heart. When it's my turn to go home-Lord, please let me once more see my firstborn.

Most of all, what I miss is the way he'd say "Yes, Mother" when I was having a soapbox moment. It was then I knew he'd heard me.  ...and now, I don't know,.