a day with friends is so warming.
wednesday night. i’m too lazy or exhausted to cook so i offered to go pick up dinner if i didn’t have to prepare the meal. sometimes you just don’t want to do anything. this tired teacher is on vacation, my son too. we have been staying home mostly vegging out in front of the tv or video console. we ventured out each day for a target run or dunkin donut’s coolatta. everyone has been asking if we would go visit my parents in virginia. to be honest i don’t really want to. i want this: to stay home and veg with my son. i feel like i have been living in a state of sadness and stress and faith for the last three/four months that i just want to collapse. i want to lie under the covers binge watching grey’s anatomy. and not feel guilty about it. tonight, though, my mom emailed me saying dad was not doing well. something about vomitting, sleeping too much and white blood cell count rising. and then the guilt creeps up. i wish i was there. i wish he wasn’t so far away. i want him to know that i do not love him any less because i chose to stay home during vacation. maybe it was selfish of me. to hoard my free time to myself. maybe the get well card we sign and send him will help. i doubt it.
death is sad. a warm wet mess. showing no regard, snow falls again. i fear the collapse of my roof as more snow piles on. i fear the freezing of pipes as temperatures dwindle to below zero. below comfortable. i fear my car not starting in the morning. i fear icicles falling dangerously close. i’m failing to see the beauty in this. three people, that i know, died last week. three. one of them was the mother of a close friend. i remember standing in the back of the church on a summer sunday crying with my friend as she told me her mother had breast cancer. today we mourned her losing that battle. i sat there next to my husband in a tiny new hampshire church crying. why? i barely knew the woman. i met her a handful of times. grateful for those, sure, but i didn’t really know her. but i grieved. for her, and her daughter, and family and friends. all of us gathered in that church suffering from the shared disease of sadness. i also could not help think that this might be happening again soon, to me. to our family. i would be standing up there reading the twenty third psalm. my husband giving an eulogy. the congregation singing dad’s favorite hymns. people telling funny stories of dad as a teenager. people weeping over ‘our’ loss. when i was with my mom last she was talking about dad’s funeral. i wanted to block my ears. this is NOT going to happen. it is too sad. yes, we rejoice as these people wander onto eternity’s shores, beholding the face of jesus. but it is sad. a deep ache and bitter taste takes root within me.
no filter. a scrap of a photo found on the camera. who knows when this was taken. it’s been a while since i picked it up. this picture speaks to me as it somehow reveals a bit about me. my house. my inner life. bed is in disarray. fat cat asleep on such disarray. unremovable stickers on the walls and doors hung by some mischievous boy over the past few years. it’s like someone is peeking in.
more snow. moving to warmer climates seems more appealing with each new foot of snow that falls. moving closer to mom and dad. i have school vacation coming up in a week and people are asking if i am going down to visit dad again. to be honest i don’t know if i want to. but i am torn. maybe i’ll just pack up my son and car and drive. a friend (whose dad passed away last year) encouraged me to spend every available moment with dad. every moment that i have left. i want to. i just wish we didn’t live so far apart.
this past week two people, that i knew, passed away. to cancer. my facebook wall was flooded with comments of sympathy for the family members. i added my condolences wondering how soon this will be me. how soon will it by my turn to receive condolences and sympathy, to post an obituary, to post a photo in memoriam. i believe God has a plan. he is in control of the plan. i know that plan includes life and death. i know that even though i am begging for a miracle, i am bracing for that phone call from mom. the waiting is horrible. the unknown. the indefinite. maybe one day i can flood facebook with shouts of praise!
here is my dad. bible in hand. mask on. heart alive. we’ve been here in virginia with my parents for four days now and dad has been home. yesterday he was feeling weak, but managed to still tinker and putter around the house. it seemed like there is always something for him to do: watch college basketball, fix the tire on his motorcycle, find something in the filing cabinet for mom, rest, live. and here he is on a sunday morning bringing testimony of what God is doing in his life. the tiny congregation of this church love dad (and mom). they even printed a ‘welcome home’ sign for him and hung it up on the back wall. they cry with me and pray with me and, too, expect something big.
dad realistically has a few months left. i cannot think about that. i cannot imagine life on earth without him. and i wonder what he is honestly thinking and feeling. what is it like to live knowing you may die soon? is he tired of living in this emotionally painful state of mind? what is it like to live with a cancer that is slowly destroying you? what is it like to wake up each morning, knowing you have another day, but it is one day closer to the end. the end. it is looming. not quite clearly seen, but you feel it near.
dad seems pretty healthy, though, and his normal self this week. what a blessing to have him home. a lot of hand washing and air hugs. he is very susceptible to infection. every time someone sniffled or sneezed we all held our breath and said a short prayer that it wouldn’t sicken dad. but he is not normal. he has cancer. a horrible cancer. a monster eating away at him. to help fight back dad is armored with a stockpile of drugs. they come in every color known. and the amount he has to take, and how many times a day, is mind blowing. for the last two weeks the drugs have worked, in keeping him alive.
will i be witness to God’s power? can God hear and be moved by the prayers of hundreds of faithful believers? maybe. maybe not. the look in dad’s eye that i caught once or twice was that of exhaustion. not defeat. but being done. he’s tired of the cancer beating on him. maybe he’s asking God to bring him home. this has been quite the wrestling, the struggle, the testing of faith and patience. if for me, then how much more for my dad? so we wait. and wait. and pray.