These past 10 weeks have been an interesting journey for me. They began with me taking a discipleship class at church "Women on the Path" and oh my goodness, life-changing doesn't even come close to describing it. To be surrounded by other women like myself (wanting to grow closer to Christ, and seeking counsel to do so) was amazing. It was a very comfortable setting and it felt safe and inviting, even though we were all very exposed. The topics we discussed opened us up, even to our own selves. It is amazing how much growth can occur in such a short window of time. Equally as perplexing is how much sadness can surround you.
In that short span of time, three of my classmates, one of the class instructors, one of my Girl Scouts, and myself experienced deaths in our families.
My uncle survived the surgery, to only days later go into cardiac arrest and slip into a coma. Fortunately I was blessed to have a prayer partner that worked for the airlines and I was able to get a Buddy flight and go see him short notice. I was in Illinois for all of 30 hours, and I spent all but four of those with him. I sat by his bedside and read to him, and prayed for him, and knitted him a neck warmer. (I'd never made my uncle anything before.) He looked so peaceful there, as if he were resting comfortably. And that is what I believed, I thought he just needed rest, time for his body to heal...but God had other plans. Granted his brain function was pretty much null, what has a brain to do with a soul? Not much in my opinion. So I kept praying and reading and knitting and not crying. You can't act as if someone is dead when they are right there, that is not polite, and it is very counter-productive. My mom and aunts made it about 12 hours before I was leaving to go home, so we all got to pray with him. That was powerful.
I flew home Thursday morning because Michael had to go out of town for business, and (my trip) being such short notice, we didn't have anyone to watch the kids. The decision was made Friday to take my uncle off the ventilator (his cancer was more advanced than they first believed and while in the coma his body was too weak to take chemo and if they waited until he possibly came out on his own, the cancer would have been too far spread to treat. Great...what a decision to have to make. Saturday September 27th, 2008 at approximately 11:04 CST my uncle stopped breathing on his own. (My heart still hurts to remember that he is no longer here).
I thought I had become enlightened over the years with the concept of loss and grief and death. How wrong was I. After my grandmother died, my family and myself had a very hard time dealing with it. I had a horrible time with God, because I felt as if he had abandoned me and disregarded my prayers. And I turned my back on him, but he never left my side. As a matter of fact, he carried me for 5 years as I struggled with that loss. Then my grandfather got sick, he had cancer too. I got to spend a week with him during my spring break and it was so freeing. When he was finally hospitalized, I prayed for God's will and that my grandfather be spared the pain that he was in, and two days later he passed. That was nine years ago this past week. There have been other deaths in between, but since my uncle died, I have not been able to fully grasp the reality of the situation. As if I heard the news, but only in passing, and it was spoken so faintly that I didn't really hear, so I'm not sure if I heard what I thought.
Where is this "good"ness you ask? In the fact that I am here at all. God saved me from drowning in a sea of despair, a sadness so thick it wraps round you like a comfortable blanket, then threatens to choke the very life out of you. That is what I felt. I wanted to crawl in hole and hide, but the girls need(ed) me, so did Michael, and what of my mother, and aunts, my cousins, my family? However, I could not show up for them. I did not attend my uncles funeral, still don't even want to think of it. As if holding out that the possibility still exists of seeing him again. I could not bear to see my uncle in a coffin, then lowered into the ground....That is final, and I am obviously not ready for that, for whatever reason. No matter, God is holding my hand and walking me through this one. I need that right now, and I am blessed by his grace and love.
Until I can walk on my own; in memory of my Uncle Ancell, Hayessl will be called "Fox" after the moniker he gave me.
A few things to remember: please have an advance directive, tell your family you love them, develop a relationship with Jesus Christ and as always....