Treva is in Cat Spring this week. In addition to helping negotiate getting grandchildren to and from afternoon and evening baseball games, she is also providing some assistance in helping pack belongings for the looming family move into their new home. As luck would have it, twenty inches of rain on Monday made it too wet to plow and too dangerous to drive. Consequently, all roads were closed in Cat Spring. Long-story-short, no one said “Play Ball” on Monday night.
I got a text message from my son on Monday morning. He wrote, “ All roads out of Cat Spring are closed. We are okay and have power”. Later her added: “I woke Mom up at 0500 to tell her not to get up. Kids are up, but she’s not”. Some time later he added: “Mom got up at 0800”.
That put a smile on my face. The General really does lead a charmed life! Can you imagine sleeping until 8:00 a.m.? She’s come a long way since retiring two years ago. Prior to that time she always got up at 4:30 a.m. I thought about the “charmed life” syndrome on my way home last night.
Immediately after work yesterday, I stopped by the hospital to visit the neighbor and friend I mentioned in Sunday’s blog. The “end of life” party he anticipated on Saturday morning had extended into the third day. I laughingly told him, he really knew how to throw a party. Actually, his continued presence is a gift.
At times I can attempt to meddle in someone else’s business and be almost as direct as the General. I am sure I learned that skill set from Treva. I mentioned to the man’s two children that they might consider it beneficial to tag-team the around-the-clock time with their dad. Instead of both of them feeling the need to remain at the hospital almost 24/7, because it was an exhausting and impossible schedule to keep.
Actually, Sunday night the daughter opted to spend the night at her hotel rather than stay at the hospital. Of course, both she and her brother had been present throughout the day. Last night the son was planning to go home and the daughter was going to stay at the hospital. Somewhere after 6:00 p.m. after the son left to go home and spend time with his children, I turned to the daughter and son-in-law and said, “Please go have a pleasant leisurely dinner. If you need a recommendation, I’d probably opt for the Roaring Fork. It is located in a downtown hotel in Austin”. In unison, they both said they couldn’t leave. I replied: “Of course you can. I am responsible and your dad will be okay. You’ll feel more rested and relaxed if you give yourself an opportunity to have dinner in a nice setting. Even if you’re not eating hospital food, eating food in a hospital still makes it less than palatable.
As it turned out, while they were away I had an incredibly pleasant visit with my neighbor. We talked of many things. At some point in the evening, another visitor arrived to express encouragement, prayers and gratitude for the privilege of having shared time with the man who was now on day three of his end-of-life venture. As the other visitor stood to leave, my neighbor motioned for me to come lead in prayer. The three of us joined hands and bowed for prayer. As soon as I began to pray, I had the strange sensation that the bed was rising.
So was the bed levitating by itself or was there another explanation? Personally, I found it a little eerie. As it turned out, the other visitor inadvertently had stood a little too close to the bed and his leg was pressing against the “UP” button. Laughter is good at a death bed vigil and we found the freedom to laugh heartily.
As I drove home last night, I had the thought that my life may not be charmed, but it is privileged. I have been provided the gift and privilege of sharing with families through some of life’s darkest times. That experience always provides a sense of connection and a level of closeness that defies explanation. I am privileged.
Thirty-seven years ago, I had the same privilege of sharing the exact experience with my neighbor’s mother. She had just moved back to Henly from San Antonio with the intent of building a new home and moving into the next chapter of her life. Before her home was completed, she made her way to her Heavenly home. I had the opportunity to share a lot of time at the hospital with her and her family. I was present at her bedside when she died. Actually, both my neighbor’s mother and father died within ten months of each other. I participated in both of their funerals.
Last night my neighbor’s daughter said, “I’ve got a funny story for you. Shortly after Grandma died, you came over to visit with my folks. I was ten at the time; almost eleven. I was absolutely exhausted. After you left, I went to get ready for bed. Without knowing, my six-year-old brother decided to see if he could scare me. He crawled under my bed and awaited my return. Just as I laid down, I heard this deep sounding voice coming out from under my bed: “Leeeissha ! Leeeissha!”
Leisha cried out “Grandpa” and was literally beside herself. She was frightened out of her wits. Her mother rushed into the bedroom and leaned over the side of the bed to promote her daughter’s comfort and attempt to calm her fears.
It was then that her little brother reached out with his hand and grasped his mom’s ankle. To say that the mother was extremely calm and took it all in stride is not exactly how it played itself out. She, too, found herself screaming and scared out of her wits. You can only imagine.
I am privileged that people at the point of need invite me to share in their lives. It is a gift I don’t deserve, but one that always gives me a sense of purpose and meaning. The past three days with my friend, his two adult children and their spouses has proven to be a memory that I will always cherish. We have drawn close together. Times like this prove to be special and cement a bond of love that continues to bless and enrich. Mine my not be a charmed life, but it is a life filled with privilege. I am blessed.
All My Best!