Visits From A Man Named Nobody 74

Visits From A Man Named Nobody 74

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They held each other for a time. Paul thought she was still just trying to come to terms with the information. At the very least, that’s what he was doing. She might have been trying to support him. He didn’t ask. Instead he remained content to sit there as long as she was.

Time passed, and she eventually pulled away. “I have to change. Then you can take me home.”

Paul stepped out of the room and waited. He thought about how best to help his mom, trying to tamp down frustration at his utter powerlessness. After several minutes of telling himself there wasn’t much of a point in trying to do anything but be there throughout the treatments, he realized she hadn’t come out. 

He tapped on the door. “Mom? Did you fall asleep?”

“I’m fine.” The response was immediate, but he noted the tremor in her voice. She’d ben crying again. 

Somehow, her reply hurt him in a way he couldn’t completely understand. He wanted to be there to support her, but she wanted to be alone to cry. There was some sense in anyone wanting space, but Paul worried she felt like she needed that space. Paul’s mind started gnawing on the idea, but he wasn’t sure what else to do.

The door suddenly opened, and she offered him a fake smile. “Let’s go.”

The doctor was good to his word. When they went to receptionist to offer the co-pay for the insurance, the woman at the desk provided a packet of information about chemotherapy and its possible side effect. The stack of paper, containing information on both sides of each page, couldn’t have been an eighth of an inch thick, but it felt heavy in Paul’s hand. He kept the packet and used his other hand to hold his mother’s arm as they exited the hospital and got to the car. 

They drove in silence. Paul put the packet of information in the glove box, and his mother would glance at the compartment’s latch from time to time. She never reached for it, but it was clear she was thinking about it. 

The entire trip home was quiet. Paul pulled into the driveway and cut the engine. 

“You can cry around me.” Paul spoke before his mother’s hand reached the door handle. 

She froze there, looking at him as if she wasn’t sure what he meant.

“I’m worried about you. I don’t want to lose you, but you don’t have to be brave for me. You don’t have to hide somewhere alone if you’re mad or afraid.” He wasn’t sure why, but he didn’t look at her until he’d finished speaking. 

When he did, she was smiling at him. “Thank you.”

While a single tear rolled down her cheek, she didn’t fall into his arms or begin wearing. It wasn’t like that’s what he wanted her to do. He just wanted her to know she could.

Paul reached over and pulled the information packet out of the glove box. Then he got out, rushing around the car to be there to help his mother out as well. 

They got inside and took a seat on the couch in the living room. Paul, ever the scientist, itched to read the packet. He wanted to understand. He wanted to be prepared. But he codlin’t stop thinking about how his mother avoided it.

“Are you hungry?” He asked her.

“Not really,” she replied.

Paul looked at the packet again. “I understand if you’re not ready to go over that information. We can do it later.”

“When are you leaving?” she asked.

He stared at her. “Leaving?”

“To go back to work,” she explained.

He shook his head. “I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to be right here.”

She smiled, shaking her head. “You can’t take a half-year off from work.”

“I’ll figure all of that out,” he said. “But whatever happens, I’m not leaving you until this is over.”

Her bottom lip trembled. She leaned over and wrapped her arms around him. The shift in position left her resting her head on his chest. That’s when the crying started.

“Thank you,” she said between shuddered breaths.  

“I won’t leave you alone,” he said.

She pulled back a bit, looking at him. “Oh, I’m not ever alone.”

He smiled. “I know.” He knew she was talking about her faith. He didn’t understand it at all, but it was something she took comfort in, so he had no intention of taking that, or any, solace away from her.

She placed her head back on his chest. “It’s still nice that you’ll be here though.”

While tears fell, she somehow sounded more cheerful. “I know you want to look at that information.”
“Yes,” Paul admitted, “but I know that you’re just not ready to do that yet. We have time. For now, just rest. Let me know if you want anything.”

“Thank you,” she said again. “Thank you, and thank God for you.”

A part of Paul was upset. He needed to be doing something. He wanted to say more to her, to make her feel better. But each time he opened his mouth, he remembered what his mother had said about sitting and listening. 

It was hard, listening to her cry without wanting to go over the information or formulate a plan for treatment, but it’s what she wanted, so that’s what he did.

The end of Chapter twenty-one.

… To be continued …

Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 26

Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 26

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

Matt