It was the driving message for Norman in Lost Without You. But it behooves us to take a closer look at our lives and everything that happens in them. This week's Living Letters contributor, Patti, found God in many things, even during one of the most difficult seasons in her life.
This year my Mom came north already weak...she was 92 (almost 93) and she had COPD. She was not a smoker altho my Dad was (4 packs of unfiltered cigarettes a day for over 50 years) Ironically, he never had a jot of lung problems and was 84 when he died (naturally). My Mom had her first asthma attack at age 18 - so literally for 75 years breathing was not something she took lightly. So this year when she arrived at our home and proceeded to get pneumonia it really hit her hard. You see, her lungs were literally worn out. But she recovered from that round, but proceeded to get pneumonia 2 more times over the course of the winter.
I know it might seem strange that we didn't worship together but my Mom was Episcopal and I am Catholic...I think she liked that we brought our faith from our own thought processes. One of my most important memories of my Mom was the year I questioned my faith in High School. We spent the whole summer going to church each Sunday at a different Religion. She was driving the point home to me that while religion may be man-made, faith and spirituality is from God, and the important thing is to worship and talk to God every day. So while we shared our faith, we attended different churches. As a consequence, my mom was known to both and both parishes prayed for her.
But as I alluded this year was different. She was weak and she repeatedly got sick. By March, she was on her third round of pneumonia. Mom was refusing to go to the Doctor or seek treatment. It was so disheartening to watch. So I prayed for guidance, and God gave me the words. I asked her why - and she said she didn't want to go into the hospital or the ER...that she was a peace with this being the end. I reminded her of the advance directive that was in place...that no one could make her do what she didn't want BUT I didn't understand her suffering. So she agreed to go to the Doctor if I could get an appointment with her favorite one. And this is where the living letter truly starts...it's about the GOD THINGS (at least that is what I have dubbed them).
Suddenly, I was home alone (for all intense and purposes). Now I am not an 'alone' type person - I am someone who needs people - I can fill a day faster than most. Here we are, finishing our Lent, and I googled "Signed Sealed Delivered" and the search added the word "blog." Well, I have never seen a blog- much less read one - and I certainly didn't envision I would add anything. Chandel had us in the Wilderness...and here I am - in the wilderness (GOD THING) and I find something to hold onto. My Mom and I were praying together and she was reading a daily prayer book called Upper Room - and the week before Easter - the passages keep talking about the 'comforter.' And my Mom tells me that is what I am - the comforter - to her and and my family and our friends. After all - it was my job - to call her friends and our family and tell them that this was 'it' - a step before Hospice; my Mom's true last walk of Calvary to her death. So at the same time - I opened our doors to guests to come spend time with Mom - it got a little crazy - and at times our home felt like a B&B. but the healing that happened in the souls of those who came was incredible (GOD THING). Plus I shared SSD with each and every on of them. My kids with tease me - however company returning for another visit would remind me where we left off and again - the conversations and healing as a result was truly a GOD THING.
Every time I had a doubt or fear - there was reassurance. One came in the form of Forsythia. When we moved to this house 35 years ago - my husband transplanted from my parents house a row of Forsythia along our fence line. My Mom always loved her 'Golden Wall' as she called it at her house and always wanted to be home in time for it's blooming every year. BUT our plants never blossomed - NEVER! - but this year every single stem, on every single bush, was full of golden flowers. And believe it or not, that was the window my Mom looked out every single day. There was her Golden Wall. And at her house, not one blossom - not one (A GOD THING). Our neighbors even stopped over to comment - it was incredible!
So I spent this time with my Mom - watching her fail - but not failing to see God's Blessings in each and every day. I honestly think that was the gift I was given - the moments of deliberation - to discern God's presence and comfort. One of my friends commented that I was certainly being given enough signs of affirmation, but she added that perhaps it was the fact that I was taking the time to really see what was going on (GOD THING). Then Mom slipped from Palliative to Hospice Care.
Our path took another turn. This was a GOD THING, too. It brought different people into our home; from the social worker who immediately connected with Mom thru their mutual love of a Priory here in Vermont. He in turn sent an Episcopal Pastor to bring my Mom the Eucharist and a conversation about the rest of the journey (GOD THING). And thru all this - SSD kept me in touch with what really mattered...the underlying messages and positive energies helped me find prayers - Even Eleanor's death in the series helped me help my Mom with what she needed to do to prepare (GOD THING).
I can't lie to you - it wasn't all sunshine and roses - but I could focus on that 'Perfect Love" and know that while it might not all be good - it was going to be just fine. I found the strength to focus on only the good and only the 'GOD.' This helped to counteract the negativity that comes with times like these. My brother is 11 years older than me -and isn't grieving - he is using anger to cope. God gave me the words to remind him that the best things our parents ever did was to have us. Truly a GOD THING!
So a living letter about a death---but God's hands have been in all things and it was God who led me to this blog. It's funny how people connect - even if we've never met. God has woven out lives together - it's like having another safety net. I am so grateful for SSD - this blog - and all the GOD THINGS I continue to witness.
As always, the Living Letters series continues as long as there are stories (or even praise reports) to share---I'm always looking for submissions. If you would like to contribute something about how Signed, Sealed, Delivered has impacted your life (or even your wardrobe) that you'd be willing to share here on A&D, feel free to email me. Keep the good going and submit yours today!