Wednesday, September 24, 2008

She Trusted Me With Prayer

There are evidences of time passing that brighten any darkness lurking in my heart. I love to witness with my eyes and nose, the birth of spring, year after year. I enjoy getting older....actually. The further I grow from the years that wrecked my soul, the more settled my soul age heals me. I have plants in my garden that change in the autumn to such rich, deep, heavy colors, so opposite from the light and fluffiness of their spring coat. Evidence of time passing has some benefits, for me. The older my children get, the more a part of my history they are. The longer a friendship grows, the more a friend feels like family....the more a friend begins to feel like a finger or a toe (attached and necessary).

Time hurts when the clock is ticking away from the passing of a loved one. My aunt Brenda died on September 25, 2002. 6 years ago. Her absence is painful at every family gathering, every holiday, and for me....every time the seasons change. She loved seasons. I love seasons. She is missed every time I eat a casserole or a pie. She is missed every time I hear the word "cancer".

She battled a variety of cancers for a long period of time....always seeming to rebound. Then it got bad and she needed some surgeries. Then it didn't get better. She lost a lot of weight in a short period of time. I went to visit her a couple of times in Kentucky the last year of her young life. We talked about things that we pretended were no big deal, but they were a really big deal and I knew in my heart she was preparing for death, even before she understood that death was close. The last time I saw her, it was my privilege to go to Kentucky and spend the night with her in the hospital as many of us were taking turns so that her husband could go back to work. The night I was there was the night before the doctors were to decide if more surgery would help. We watched "Friends" on the hospital room TV and then James Taylor played on Letterman or Leno.... I can hear her like it was yesterday........she was thorougly enjoying James Taylor and showing it in her typcial goofy rock chic kinda way. When she snapped to music, she would gnarl up her lip and smile/laugh, pretend to sing.....and do a silly little head-bang to the beat. I remember laying on the little bed I was sleeping on with my heart beating fast and taking her in.

The next day, I was the only one in the room with my aunt Brenda when the doctor walked in and told her non-chalantly that she would die in about 30 days, that she would die of starvation because her body could not digest food. I remember feeling like (A) I was the wrong person to be in the room because that news should have been delivered to her husband or to her son. (B) that damn doctor must be lying.... (C) what the hell do I do now? The doctor left (of course) and I crawled on the bed with my aunt Brenda and held her hand. We cried. I don't know how long I was there or all that took place, but I remember her asking me to pray with her, for her. She was scared, and in her fear she deemed me qualified. That has always stuck with me. I was not a seasoned pray-er at that time. I was really only seasoned at existing......but my love for Christ was fresh and fierce. I remember praying for peace for her spirit and for her total forgiveness. She wasn't totally sold that she had been fully forgiven, but she wanted to believe that. I might have helped that day. I hope I did. I hugged her and kissed her and stayed until her husband came. That was my cue to leave.... not a moment that I needed to interrupt. I walked out the hospital room, quietly shut the door, and left my trail of tears from there to my car, and all the way back to Nashville. I knew I would never see her again.

I hope she's doing her goofy rock chic routine while she's in Heaven. I'm quite sure God is getting a kick outta that. I think I'm going to make a casserole......and a pie.


Monica said...

Melissa, I think your Aunt was very lucky to have had you been the one with her at that time. I am also so sorry for your loss. But, how lucky she is to longer have to suffer!!

By the way you have an amazing way with words!!! Have a wonderful weekend!

Melissa said...

what a gift to have spent the last moments with her. I'm so glad you were there.