Posts Tagged Mom

Living Life’s Dramatic Pauses

2 April 2012

I was awakened by a knock on my door at 3:30 am last Thursday. My dad softly told me that my mom was in severe abdominal pain and that he was about to call 911. One minute I’m fast asleep dreaming about mundane things and the next I’m throwing hospital-friendly clothing into an overnight bag.

In 2011, I moved in with my parents to help take care of my mom who had not been given long to live. Miraculously, she beat the odds and gained strength each day until she was healthy enough to go about her life in an almost normal way. But we lived under the cloud of knowing that an emergency could arise at any moment.

On Thursday, that moment came.

We spent nine hours in the ER and then she was transferred to an isolation room in the hospital. It’s now Sunday. While she came in with abdominal pain, she ended up contracting pneumonia. Fortunately, they were able to control that since it was caught in the beginning stages. Every day has brought new hopes on the heels of new fears.

Sometimes preachers preach to the choir. Sometimes preachers preach to themselves. It’s the same thing with writers. As I read over last Sunday’s post, Life’s Dramatic Pauses, I realize how much I need to be reminded that God is in control, even in those heart-stopping pauses when the rug is swept out from under us.

P.S. We are hoping to go home tomorrow!!

Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”


Lentils and Love

22 March 2011

I wish I could attach a “scratch-n-sniff” plug-in so you could get a whiff of the heavenly aroma wafting through our kitchen right now.

Mom and I are making lentil soup. Athough this may not sound very exciting, we are cooking up memories to last a lifetime. The windows are open for the first time this season, letting in the fresh spring breeze, birds are chirping cheerfully, our Korean neighbor is kneeling over her vegetable garden, and I’m enjoying learning from my mother how to fix this simple and delicious dish.

As the lentils simmer on the stove, I’ve been thumbing through the 456-page tome on French cooking that I received yesterday and came across this beautiful quotation by Chef Henri Faugeron:

“If the science of nutrition is an act of the mind, the art of nourishing one’s neighbor is above all an act of love.”

An example is given of a prominent French chef of the early 1900s whose friend, author Marcel Proust, often came to dine. The chef would fix grand meals for the writer in exchange for one of his fabulous stories. And once, when Proust was out of sorts and had no appetite, the chef made it his mission to entice him by making a special omelet stuffed with fresh, minced truffles cooked in cream sauce. It worked: Proust devoured the meal and was full of gratitude towards his friend.

What a wonderful concept! Food as a way of sharing love with a friend, a neighbor, a loved one. Those of us who love cooking sharing with those who do not or have not. Those who love eating filling our hearts with contentment as we watch them taking pleasure in the food we’ve prepared.

How blessed we are. Every day we have the opportunity to share this little act of love with one another.

Lord, help me cherish today. Help me to be thankful for a nose that can smell, a palate that can taste, ears that can hear, eyes that can see, and a mind and hands that can work together to make something nutritious to eat and to share.

(Click here to see our French lentil recipe)

Think On These Things

22 October 2010

As we sat in the doctor’s office today for my mom’s first follow-up visit after her stroke, some familiar verses took on a whole new meaning:

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

As I wrote previously in Not Ready To Let Go, my mom had a stroke a few weeks ago. She was so close to death at the hospital that the doctors released her into hospice care, saying that there was nothing further that they could do. She was not expected to live.

But then God’s people prayed.

Today the doctor looked at her in astonishment. He told her point-blank: “I did not expect you to make it.” Twice during the visit he stated that he considered her recovery “miraculous.”

Mom and Me

Just before "Goodbye"

He did not try to sugarcoat the situation. They are still baffled as to how to treat her without making her condition worse and they still expect her situation to disintegrate. She still has some speech slurring along with vision and cognition problems. She is still on hospice.

But we thank God for the progress we’ve seen and trust that her life and times are completely in His hands. I must especially cling to this thought as I kiss her goodbye tomorrow and step on a plane to go home.

Not Ready To Let Go

7 October 2010

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.