Mar 19, 2011

We grieve with hope

I had a friend not long ago who went through chemo and all that entails. While going through this, he was, of course, very sick and weak and often unable to do some of the everyday things many of us take for granted. During this time he would update his Facebook status with things like, "Jesus picked the tomatoes from my garden for me today and He looked a lot like my neighbor." or "Jesus brought us dinner tonight and He looked a lot like my brother and his wife." What he was doing with those words was referring to what we as believers see as everyday people in our lives being the hands and feet of Christ. I always grinned when I saw him post things like that. But I have to tell you, that's how we've felt this past week.

Jesus brought us a lot of food this past week and He looked like our church family and friends. Jesus cut the grass at my house this past week and He looked just like my neighbors, Tina and Ken. Jesus watched over Sara Madalin while Reagan and I attended to matters with his family and He looked just like my sister, Brandi, my best friend, Jana and pretty much anyone at the funeral home who had candy :-). Jesus put his arms around me and sat with me at the funeral home and talked and laughed with me to help ease my grief, and he looked like some of my sweetest friends. Jesus sent us emails, messages, texts, and many words of love and encouragement. And He looked exactly like friends from college, high school, church, and work.

Thank you Jesus, and our sweet friends, for pouring out love and comfort on us this past week. It truly helped as we grieved the loss of my mother-in-law.

In my last post I mentioned that Mrs. Brown had been sent home on hospice care. She came home Monday afternoon. We all spent as much time with her as we could that day and Tuesday. She had a number of visitors who dropped in. Many people called. Her children gathered around her and called her "blessed" (see Proverbs 31) one last time. We all told her what a great wife, mama, mamaw, and friend she'd been to us.

Then Tuesday, after lunch, as her condition clearly worsened, Reagan and Susan agreed that we should not speak directly to her anymore, or touch her. She was rarely alone, but when anyone was in her room, we spoke in whispers, or not at all. We just watched her. We cried. We smiled. We slowly let her go. And Tuesday evening, around 7:30 as the family stepped out to another room for a little dinner, she passed away.

At first, Reagan and Susan were upset that no one except the sitter was in the room with her. But Reagan said later, he thought it was just true to her nature. When she was still in good health, she never wanted to miss anything. She always wanted to be part of every conversation in the room. She wanted to know what everyone was up to. He thinks that was the case all the way up to the end. She didn't want to go as long as anyone was in the room for fear that she might miss something - some part of the conversation. Then, once everyone cleared out, and things became quiet, she decided it was time for some rest. Now we know that might not be exactly how things happened, but it eases our grief a little to think that.

As anyone who has lost a loved one knows, we're sad. We're at peace and we know she is in a much better place. But we are human, and our human side is sad at the loss of her. We've reminisced. We've cried. We've laughed. We've looked at pictures and remembered different things about her. We are like anyone else who's been through this - we are grieving. But we grieve with hope.

We are also all very tired. Even Sara Madalin. Reagan's been gone pretty much every night the past few weeks - either all night or until late - so he's exhausted. SM had gotten to the point that she was getting up several times in the night and none of us had gotten much sleep lately. My friend Julie reminded me that, just like us, her life has been been rocked a bit lately. But, thankfully, the past couple nights, when she has woken up, she's not made a sound. She just comes into our room and lies down on the pallet I've made for her beside our bed, and she goes right back to sleep. It has been nice to get more than 2-3 hours of uninterrupted sleep again. But, still we're tired and we'll probably spend today and tomorrow catching up on some rest.

Again, thank you to everyone who reached out to us in some way these past few days and weeks as we've cared for and said good-bye to Mrs. Brown. Those acts and words have meant more to us than we can say.

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adrianne + will said...

So glad that you all had the support you needed to get through this tough time. May peace be with your entire family as you work through the days ahead.

blessedmomto8 said...

BIG HUGS & prayers as you mourn the loss of your sweet MIL..

Kelli said...

Reagan, Malinda, Sara Madalin, and family - I am very sorry to hear of your loss. I commented awhile back when you first talked about Mrs. Brown about my Grandpa going through the same thing. My Grandpa passed on Wednesday :( I will say extra prayers for your family.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your family's loss.
My grandmother passed in a very similar manner. The nurse at the center where she lived said that she walked by her room (my mother had just left a few minutes earlier) and she had the most childlike smile on her face like "Someone" was in the room with her. We find great comfort in that, knowing that she must have seen an angel, or the very face of Jesus. When the nurse passed back by only a minute or two later, my Mawmaw was gone...
May God bless you with His hope, peace, and joy. For it was His joy to suffer for us who are believers that we may all be together with Him in a glorified body after we pass from this life.
I'm praying for you.

Penny said...

So sorry for your family's loss. I hate that SM will not grow up knowing Reagan's mom. My grandmothers were my best friends. All my thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Laura said...

I haven't commented much when you posted about Mrs. Brown's condition in the past, but I've been praying for you and your family. I pray that God will continue to comfort you through this time and that you may find solace, rest, and peace.

Courtney said...

So sorry for your loss. Sending lots of thoughts and prayers your way.

Paige said...

Sending prayers and lots of hugs your way. Wished I lived closer and could do more! May God give you comfort and rest in the coming days.