I just got back from the backwoods of Maine bunking with my sister Victoria and brother Keith, the former driving in from Michigan and the latter living near my other brother, Willie, whose wife is in the final states of Stage IV lung cancer. I was blessed to be able to spend more than a week with my sister-in-law and brother in her last days. She was still clinging to life when I left, and I was so happy to have been able to see her while she was still alive. We had time to talk, including about the big issues of life, and, more important, we had time to pray together. There is something very powerful about sharing end-of-life prayers with someone.
Among the other things I did to help was notice that my brother, whose job ends in a couple of weeks, was low on food. So, my other brother and I went to the grocery store to see if we could stock his larder for a little bit so that he would not have to worry about shopping or finding money for food for a while, to make life more convenient and financially easier. We planned on getting as many canned goods as we could: fruits, vegetables, meats, soups, juices, complete meals. We also picked up boxes of cereal. I figured I still had a couple hundred dollars on my maxed-out-from-travel credit cards, and the full grocery cart should have cost us that amount. We had piled in enough food to keep Willie fed through Christmas, based on his analysis. The total grocery bill, amazingly, was $102. Every single thing we put our hand on was on sale! God is good like that, you know. The little miracles are often every bit as exciting as the big ones.
And that little miracle led to a small tender mercy: it gave me $50 for a Subway gift card so that he does not have to return home and cook meals these last few days he has left with his wife.
My Syrian friends gave me two weeks of rest and relaxation, much
needed and much enjoyed. Now, they are on their way back to Scotland
where they have acquired some work and probably won't return to Syria
until and unless life calms down. Well, maybe they will visit friends
and family during the less troubled moments...much prayer needed for
them and all Syria.
As for me, after one day back to
work and, seemingly, life going back to normal, things took a
not-unexpected twist. My sister-in-law who has been suffering from Stage
IV lung cancer was hospitalized and then immediately hospicized for a
pulmonary embolism. My brother called and said that if I wanted to see
her while she was still alive, I should come back home immediately,
which is what I am doing. That is easier said than done. I come from
rural Maine farm country where there is no public transportation, so the
trip will be an all-day one from San Francisco to Boston by plane,
followed by a bus trip to New Hampshire, where my brother can pick me up
in his car and take me the final hour's drive home. Once a travel agent
told me "you can't there from here," so since then I have been my own
travel agent on trips home. I do know how to get there from here. It
just takes a lot of time and a lot of conveyances.
am hoping that I will be able to share some of her final hours with my
sister-in-law and then help my brother post-funeral with whatever I can
help. Being the oldest of the eight of us, I find that there is always
something with which I can help and for which I am wanted.
Maine is not entirely on the Internet grid yet, so please bear with me
as a remain silent probably until nearly the end of October. When I am
back, you all will know. There will be a post, the first in a long time!
Prayers for you all in my absence, and please pray for those in my life who need God's solace.
I am the mother of 4 birth children (plus 3 others who lived with us) and grandmother of 2, all of them exceptional children. Married for 42 years, I grew up in Maine, live in California, and work in many places in education, linguistics, and program management. In my spare time, I rescue and tame feral cats and have the scars to prove it. A long-time ignorantly blissful atheist converted by a theophanic experience to Catholicism,
I am now a joyful catechist. Oh, I also authored a dozen books, two under my pen name of Mahlou (Blest Atheist and A Believer-in-Waiting's First Encounters with God).