Tuesday, April 21, 2015

"By His Grace"...

        My mother has been in the hospital for the past two and one-half weeks. ~ We learned last Wednesday that she has cancer.*
        She is eighty-seven years of age, and her over-all health is not good.
       However, she does not complain, and those attending to her, consider her to be very likeable , and appreciate the opportunity to care for her. ~ Mom loves to laugh, and almost always has a twinkle in her expressive brown eyes.
       She is incredibly accepting about what comes her way, yet, not false about it. When I told her she has cancer; after a short discussion, I asked her how she felt about it? She said, "I don't like it, but there is not much I can do about it, but to accept it."
       Some days have passed. ~ She is at peace.  I have come to sit with her. I bring her the Brown Scapular,
 a Medal of Jesus ,and a handmade Cross ~ all of which she likes, and appreciates. I sense they bring comfort too her.
       I took the Cross on the day I told her about her diagnosis of cancer.. ~ She sat quietly, holding the Cross in her hands. When I asked, if she would like me to attach it to the side rail of her bed, she said, "No, I would like to hold it." She held it, the remainder of the day, until bedtime. When she slept, I took a purple ribbon, braided it, and attached the Cross securely to the side-rail of her bed, so it would be near to her.
      Earlier, while watching her, gently and mindfully, hold the Cross in her hands, I saw the beauty of her hands  ~ so beautiful... weathered from age and callused from hard work. I thought of that great old hymn, "Simply to Thy Cross I Cling".
      That evening, while sitting in the hushed quiet of her hospital room, as she slept, I learned something of what constitutes a life of eighty-seven years. ~ As I carefully leafed through my mother's Bible, I traced many of the steps of her earthly Journey. ~ A blue ribbon, for chickens, entered in a Boy's and Girl's Exhibit ~ dated,1924. ~ My step-father's obituary, from the local newspaper, yellowed from age, but not a tear on it. ~ Memorial cards, from her friend's funerals - most long since, gone. One small card, I  gave to her, during an earlier time of illness.~ A red ribbon bookmark, picturing  Jesus, at Calvary. Newspaper clippings, mostly about gardening and animals .~ Mom always found the beauty in God's creation. ~ Another bookmark. This one is made of bronze, with a Monarch Butterfly, sitting atop of it.~ Butterflies are simple and free.  Mom loves simplicity, and now her Soul seems to long for the freedom to make her journey to her Heavenly home.
       I wait, my eyes are filled with tears. I begin turning more pages. ~"Black Hawk's Prayer on Harney Peak"-a copy I gave her years, ago.
       Again, I sit quietly. I wait. I am reading my mother's Bible. This book has never sat collecting dust.
It has been read, searched, prayed and wept over. The binding is loose and its pages are worn. It is crammed full of a lifetime of memories ~ her memories. Then, I realize how much this dear saint has honored and loved God's word and His creation, throughout her life. I realize , she has a relationship with the Living God.
       I know, now, in a way I have never known, how incredibly blessed my life is; because this is my mother-our mother. I also realize my life will never be quite the same, after these hours of tracing her life's footsteps.
       It is late. I am tired. I am feeling so very sad. I realize, I must learn to say "goodbye", and I am not sure I have the necessary courage to do it. ~ Not now, not this moment. So, I continue to sit quietly, as I watch my mother sleep. ~ Peaceful sleep.
       Finally, I stand, and walk quietly to her bedside. I kneel down and gently kiss her on her forehead.
I whisper,"I love you,mom. Sweet dreams"...~ My heart is breaking. ~ I think of the words of a song, I remember hearing in the not so distant past. "How can I learn to say, "goodbye". It's okay to hurt and it's okay to cry."~ I turn and walk away, quietly, whispering,"Sweet dreams, mom.  I love you ~ always, I will love you.
       Three and one-half months, later, I walk down the same hallway. My mother took her last breath, at 2:45 A.M., as I held her in my arms. ~ She is now free. She is Home. ~ Again, I whisper, "I love you ~ always, I will love you, Mom.
                                                                                                              ~ Beannaichte'

                                                                                                               Alicia O'Hara 
                                                                                                           c. 14 January, 2012 
~ Beannaichte'
21 April, 2015
~In Memory of my Mother.
~In Dedication to All, who have  lost a Loved One, too cancer.
*The above was written, with the exception of the closing paragraph, while sitting at the foot of my mother's hospital bed, on 2 April, the year of her death.

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