I Got the Call Today

trees

The first part of an old Don Henley song keeps going through my head.  “I got
the call today, I didn’t want to hear, but I knew that it would
come…..”

It was my Mama calling.  They, she and Daddy, have decided to
call in Hospice.  Daddy is getting weaker, and it is more difficult for Mama to
help him in and out of the bed.  He had two doctor’s appointments next week that
I honestly didn’t know how or even if we would be able to get him there
comfortably and safely.  He is also having more pain.  The oncologist’s office
said sure, we can prescribe more.  Come in for an appointment, and we’ll
write the prescription.

I don’t think they get it.

So Hospice
being called in was inevitable at this point.  They can take care of all
of Daddy’s needs–medication, medical, CNA assistance, etc.  And Daddy doesn’t
have to make the difficult journey that begins with a nerve-wracking exit from
his bed.  Having worked with Hospice for over two years as a social worker and
grief therapist, I am a huge fan of the program and all that it is.  I have even
talked about this as an option with my parents.

A while back.  Before
it was close to becoming reality.

Today was a huge turning point.

Are we all still praying for the miracle?

Yes.
Absolutely. 

Can he be discharged and treated again if he gets
stronger?

Sure.  We used to cheer for our patients we could
discharge.

Is Daddy different than he was Tuesday when we last saw
him?

Not really.

So what has changed?

What has
changed is we have named it.  The elephant in the living room, what we didn’t
want to admit or discuss, is right there in the open.  A big gaping hole blast
right into my hope.  Into my denial.  Into my believing that things were
actually better than they seemed, that maybe he was just having a bad
day.

I went on a walk with our dog Tater and my little Moose this
evening.  It was a beautiful evening, despite the lingering heat and the
humidity.  I thought about the moment I got off the phone with Mama earlier, and
I had turned to the window. The sun had been battling with a dark cloud for
control of the sky.  “Oh Light, please don’t leave me here in this
darkness
.”  As I walked with my Moose’s hand in mine, I remembered my last
walk before all of this started.  Two years ago.  The walk abruptly changed with
my husband walking out to find me.  To tell me that Daddy was in the hospital.
It wasn’t good.

Then too, we had known things weren’t okay.  We kept
telling ourselves that it was the medication he’d been on.  Maybe he just was
under the weather.  For months Mama had insisted something wasn’t right.  But it
had been too painful to process, so I had tried to come up with logical
explanations to share with her.  That trip to the hospital, that ultimately
lasted weeks and came to a close with a scary diagnosis and even scarier game
plan, did then what the call today did.

It brought everything into
precious focus.  The voice of my Mama, the comforter.  The feel of my baby’s
hand in mine.  The smell of the air as the sun went down.  The sound of the
humming of the crickets.  The light blazing from around the cloud of
darkness.

Tonight was so like so many summer evenings from when I was
young.  When we would spend most of the day outside–helping Daddy in the
garden, riding bikes, jumping on the trampoline.  When our greatest worry of the
day was being so tired, but still having to make up our beds with the clean
sheets from the clothesline.  I can remember the smell of Daddy’s clothes when
he came in from outside working in the heat and the smell of those sheets dried
in the hot sun all afternoon.  Precious focus.

Tomorrow we are going over
to the same yard where I played growing up.  To the swing Daddy made from an old
tire for my almost sixteen year old’s first birthday.  To sit at the table where
I did homework, cried over mushrooms in my food, ate homemade goodies, and
listened to Daddy explain many a complicated equation.  To hang out in the
living room where we used to have marathon western movie weekends, watched tv
together, and celebrated Christmas year after year.  To hug my Mama and make my
Daddy laugh.  So much the same.

And so much different.

Oh
Light, please don’t leave me here in this darkness
.”

September 11th

 

My story of where I was ten years ago is no more special or important than
anyone else’s story.  I do remember I walked into work and it was eerily quiet,
as everyone who had come in was in the trailer next door, watching the news.
Once there, I saw what was going on.  After coming out of the shock, I
remembered my brother was in New York before heading to Washington D.C.  I ran
back to my office and called my Daddy, who was and always and still is the voice
of reason.  He later shared he was more worried than he let on.  It was a while
before we heard from my brother, but he was safe, trip to D.C. cancelled.  We
were blessed that his greatest concern was how he and his group were going to
get home.  He was safe.  Praises.

I was working with Hospice then, and
I did have families scheduled to meet for the first time and others to visit.  I
did my visits, but the tragedy was all anyone could talk about.  For several
days.  One family even shared about a daughter who went to work in one of the
towers, but decided she didn’t feel good, so went home just after getting
there.  Praises.

I have no original thoughts to share on this day,
because I think others have said it best.  One group, Unvirtuous Abbey, sent out
into the social media arena:  “For
those who reach for the flag instead of the cross when they are feeling
vulnerable, Lord have mercy.”  I think for some that may have been the first
reaction, flying the colors instead of falling to our knees, bowing our heads,
or reaching out to hold a hand.  It might still be. A normal reaction I guess.

I think Alan Jackson
speaks to my heart in the midst of the heartbreak and anguish and memories of
that day…..

But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I
remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things
He gave us
And the greatest is love

I give thanks for my parents
and family who first taught me about faith, hope, and love and for my friends
who continue to show me what those things really look like.

And for all
who put love above all else, I give thanks.