See Part 1 here.
See Part 2 here.
See Part 3 here.
See Part 4 here.
See Part 5 here.
See Part 6 here.
See Part 7 here.
See Part 8 here.
See Part 9 here.
See Part 10 here.
See Part 11 here.
See Part 12 here.
See Part 13 here.
See Part 14 here.
See Part 15 here.
See Part 16 here.
See Part 17 here.
See Part 18 here.
See Part 19 here.
See Part 20 here.
See Part 21 here.
See Part 22 here.
See Part 23 here.
See Part 24 here.
See Part 25 here.
The Last Calls
I was at work, coaching students on one of their writing assignments when I got a text from one of my sisters.
“Mom’s going back into the hospital.”
I wasn’t supposed to answer it or reply to it, but I did. I had a student right in front of me, and that student shouldn’t have had to succeed or fail based on my desire to reply to a text. I apologized to the student and helped her with the assignment. Once the assignment ended, I went and told my most immediate supervisor what had gone on. He was kind enough to forgive me, but it doesn’t make what I did right. I stand behind that.
I called my sister back after that. It started with the need to get her a bit of medicine to help her be more comfortable. By this point, my mom was already in constant, unbearable pain.
I’d mentioned previously that I’d called my dad. What I hadn’t told you yet was that the conversation ended when my mom woke up in agony. Even over the phone, I heard her crying. They had pain medication, but it would knock her out and give her a bit of sleep before the pain returned to wake her.
Hearing she was returning to the hospital at least gave her more access to care and medicine. Plus, the idea was to get her a bit stronger.
I called the sister who texted me. At that point, things just looked like a visit. My sister was still affected by the miscommunication that ended up in hurt feelings, so I simply reminded her to focus on Mom.
Wednesdays are usually fun for me. I have a trivia contest some friends and I participate in. I got home with enough time to change and headed out. I think I was about one round into trivia when I got another call.
The doctors had determined that Mom wouldn’t make it through the night. It was somewhere around 8 p.m. I was pretty numb by that point. I’ve never been one to rush, and the more emotional I feel, the more I tend to want to break things down into tasks. I told my friends what was happening. Then I paid my tab and headed home as swiftly and safely as I could.
The first priority was to find a way to get home as quickly as possible. We looked at so many websites. I looked for direct flights into Yuma. Ultimately, the trip that got me to Yuma the fastest was to fly into Phoenix, rent a car, and drive home. Unfortunately, the quickest flight out wasn’t until the next morning.
The sister who lives in Phoenix offered to wait, but I understood what it meant to be there. It was honestly touching to hear her willing to risk missing those last few moments, but I simply didn’t see the sense in two of us not being there. I thank God for that line of thinking.
Once I got the trip lined up, it was time to let everyone know.
First, I messaged my boss.
“Dear Matt,” he replied. “I am grieving with you and praying now for you, your mom and extended family.”
He told me not to worry about some of the administrative tasks I had to handle. Then he finished the message with, “May God grant you His peace that surpasses all understanding. God bless!”
Next I told those whom I work with.
They showered me with support.
“We love you, Matt. Please let us know if there’s anything we can do.”
“Thinking of you, Matt. My heart goes out to you. You’re on my mind.”
“Matt, please let us know if there is anything we can do for you. Peace for you and your family in this time.”
I asked my coworker, whom I think of as my Christian support, to give me a ride into work the next morning.
Next I called my girlfriend.
Then I sent a video chat to yet another of my sisters. This particular sister is one whom I adopted a few years back.
“It’s time,” I said.
At first, they (her and her husband, whom I also adopted as my brother) were excited. They thought I was telling them I’d proposed to my girlfriend.
“No, not that. Mom. It’s time.”
The mood immediately shifted. They sat together, stunned. After all those calls and all that work, I was running low on strength.
“I need you to know that I’m sad, but I’m comforted,” I said with tears in my eyes. “I know that what’s happening is for the best.”
I want to say I made sure to praise God. I honestly don’t remember. I know that I said my faith is in Him, but that’s it. I was running on emotion and exhaustion.
They talked to me for a few more moments, offering encouragement. I wanted to make sure that I explained how I wasn’t turning from God. I tried, with an undetermined amount of success, to explain that while my heart was breaking, I had comfort from God and His plan.
My mother raised me. She took care of us all when we left the bio-dad. She single handedly, cared for three children who were under 18, two who periodically needed a place to stay, one best friend who later became my brother, and pretty much every child she thought needed someone.
She was the cornerstone of my family, and she would be gone in a matter of hours.
Sadness doesn’t begin to explain it. I prayed, first, thanking God for his grace and mercy. Then I started reading the Bible. I’m not honestly sure how much I read. I read a few Psalms. Then, I found Matthew, Chapter 5. Then I found Romans. Eventually, I prayed again.
I won’t quote the prayer because I’m not sure what words I said exactly (and giving false testimony isn’t something I intend to do).
What I know is I prayed, hoping God understood that despite my sadness, I chose to turn to him for comfort. I would not focus on my sadness. Rather, I would focus on him, and trust him to give me strength.
As He always does, He provided. The strength He gave me helped me get through the next day and those that followed.
Questions and Revelations
Why should we believe when you started this claiming God would save your mom?
I’m not in a place where I can state what one should do. However, even now I believe that prayer in faith is always appropriate. Yes, God could have simply cured her, but I’m not going to even dare claim that his sovereign choice not to was in any way evidence of his lack of love, mercy, or grace.
I’ll talk about this more in the coming weeks, but it’s important I establish now that the lack of getting what I hoped for isn’t a reason to turn away or feel abandoned.
I know that any who suffer desires an end to that suffering, but I also know that, “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirt, which has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
Not getting my heart’s desire isn’t evidence of God’s ignorance or abandonment; it’s evidence of his sovereignty and design.
One shouldn’t ever believe just because they got this or they got that. Again, God isn’t some genie. One should believe because a life dedicated to Jesus and serving him is far better than a life without. I can say that even in these circumstances. If I didn’t have my faith, I would be every bit as sad, and I’d have nothing in which to put my sadness and no way to find comfort that reached my heart. If I didn’t have God in this time, I’d have never made it through the next week.
If you have other questions regarding my faith or thoughts or actions at this point, feel free to ask, and I’ll add them to the blog. I try to ensure these passages are self reflective. My chaplain told me to take this opportunity to look at myself, but at the moment, those were the only real thoughts going through my mind. Questions might help me remember other thoughts or parts of The Bible I’d overlooked while typing this post.
Thanks for reading