A Hand Held

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As far as I know my friend’s journey began on December 4th.  I saw a Facebook post that read, “As I go to bed tonight, I go with a heavy heart, Tomorrow I say a final goodbye to my Mom.”  Wow.  What a sentence, I can’t imagine. My heart ached for her and her family as they went through this tragedy.  The following day I saw a post that read, “We had a miracle! When we took her off the vent to say goodbye, she woke up, knows who everyone is and can move her legs and arms.  She is not out of the woods yet, but she has a chance now.”  What a roller coaster. I reached out to this friend and invited her to tea, though our schedules never seemed to mesh.  She, herself, ended up in the hospital for a while and her mother’s saga continued.  December 9th read, “Keep my mom and my family in your prayers, she had surgery, but remains in a coma but breathing on her own.”  It is hard to comprehend what series of emotions you would be dealing with in this situation.  Up, then down, then up again, then down.  I guess it’s like that in many hospital settings. January 6th read, “They are moving mom to Long Term Care.” (Up again?)

My friend reached out to me again on January 11th with a Facebook message that said, “In hospice now, they predict 4 days at most.” Oh dear. Heart breaks again.

Finally, on January 15th, I got a message that said, “It looks like today is the day the Lord has chosen to take her home.”  It’s only been a day and I haven’t heard yet what yesterday brought for this family, but I have had them on my mind and in my prayers constantly.

Interestingly, my in-laws are cleaning out their house and they gave me a box of books to sort through.  Many of them were pitched but The Friendship Book of Francis Gay from 1963 stayed with me. The book has a small writing for each day of the year. I was curious about its content.  I had only owned the book a couple of days when I decided to turn to the current day’s selection:   January 15 reads:

These past few nights my thoughts have been in a quiet room, in a neighbour’s house, where a light shines all through the night. In that room a fine old lady whom we have known for many years is dying, and for some part of each night the Lady of the House is with her. When first the Lady of the House sat at the bedside she took the old lady’s hand in her own and held it. She felt her grasp returned, and the ageing face turned to her with a smile of gratitude. Quite soon our old friend fell asleep and only then did the Lady of the House release her hand.unnamed

Since then she has gone back every night, and each time the hand moves across the bedclothes and holds her own. And there they remain, not speaking, for long, long minutes while eternity waits and reassurance seems to flow from one hand to the other.  For it does, you know. Many a time I have marvelled at the comfort which a firm and friendly hand can give near journey’s end. I am sure it is not the grip of fear or dread…it’s as though the one who is going seeks only the hand of a loved one before the last link is broken. How I honour those who are able to make the last hours on earth so much easier for someone.

How incredibly timely.  I don’t suppose a Scottish author who wrote those words in 1963 would know what a blessing they would be to me in 2017.  As I continue to think of my friend, it is my hope that she was able to treasure whatever time she had with her mom. May she and her family recognize the importance of their just being there.  May they all have felt the “reassurance flow from one hand to the next” and may they feel reassurance and hope for the days to come.disegno-floreale-con-bordi-arricciati_318-45888When I looked for a scripture with the word “hope” in it, there were 180 to choose from!  You truly can have hope in the Lord! Enjoy these few:

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. –Psalm 119:114

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.  –Psalm 62:5

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. –Psalm 31:24

We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. –Psalm 33:20

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