We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy journey.
Six years ago, mom was diagnosed with a rare blood disease called Polycythemia Vera (PCV). We were given pretty grim statistics: PCV affects only 4 in a million people and not much is known about the disease. Mom was one of only 10% who bleed and clot — which means if you treat for one condition, it makes the other worse.
So we fastened our seatbelts and prepared for an emotional rollercoaster ride.
She amazed us all. The years went by with only occasional trips to the ER. We held our breath each time, prayed like crazy, and she survived. Last April, things took a turn for the worse: she had a stroke. But after 3 weeks of hospitalization and treatment, her body seemed to get back to “normal.”
This week she’s back in the hospital after a second stroke. There is bleeding and clotting in her brain and all the doctors can do is watch and hope. All that we can do is pray. My dad, her college sweetheart, has been by her side day and night in the hospital, faithfully tending to her needs, as he has done for the last 42 years.
Yesterday I received an email from a prayer list I subscribe to. It told of the passing of a missionary lady and asked for prayer for her husband and family. A chill ran up my spine: Will that be us someday soon?
I became suddenly curious about this missionary woman I had never known, and had never even heard of until that day. Who was she? How old? How many children? What did she die of? Did she suffer long? How were the children coping? What was she like? What made her happy? What made her cry?
And I wondered, when my mother’s announcement goes out, how many people will read and delete after a quick prayer, while my heart is bleeding and I’m going through the most devastating loss of my life?
Several years ago, on a road trip, Mom and I talked about what we’d want to engrave on each other’s tombstones. I told her I would put on hers the words “She Cared.” I’ve never met someone who cared as deeply for other people as my mother. She cares sacrificially, with every fiber of her being. Her love is unconditional.
Is it supposed to be easier to release her because she’s in her sixties and has led a good and happy life? Is it supposed to be easier because it’s the natural order of things, unlike my dear friend whose four-year-old son was just diagnosed with cancer?
We thank God for the precious years He’s loaned her to us, but we’re just not quite ready to give her back. We’ll keep on praying for her healing until He takes her away.