We laid her to rest one week ago. She is whole again, without dementia, reunited with her one true love and our Lord...in peace.
Death is so much harder on the living. We are so happy for them...and so sad for us.
We never were able to fully grieve for my father-in-law as we so quickly jumped into caring-for-Mom mode after his passing. We are still in shock that he is gone...and now her. It is natural, for grown children to lose their parents eventually. However, typically they lose one at a time and they are able to grieve that first loss with the other parent, and comfort each other. That's been the most difficult part of this, i think.
We are going to be ok. I know this for sure. We have faith and we have love. Now, we simply need time. Healing will come in time.
a most precious tender mercy: a very special visit
The weekend that my father-in-law, Joe had his inital surgery, Mark and I stayed at their home caring for them both. Two days after surgery, Mark brought his Dad back to the hospital where we learned that he had suffered a heart attack. That night as i was walking my mother-in-law (who had no idea that he was gravely ill) to the bathroom to get her ready for bed, she stopped short of her bedroom door. She looked off in the distance towards the front hallway, which was very dark. She asked me what was going on over there. I looked and didn't see anything. I told her there was nothing over there. She kept staring, wide-eyed and with a look of confusion on her face. I didn't think anything of it, as she was often confused, until she turned her face back to me and excitedly said "i can't wait to tell you what i just saw!"
She was giddy and breathless, trying to find the words, which often failed her. But, she was determined to explain to me in detail what she saw. She told me that she saw three people. She said they wore long, white gowns as she pulled at her nightgown to help show me. Then she couldn't find the words to tell me what they were doing, so instead she acted it out. She began to mime that they were digging. She explained to me that there were two big black things on the ground...huge black holes.
Oh my heavens.
Tears streaming down my face. My mouth agape.
Then she says, "...and then they told me, "Everything's going to be alright!"...isn't that wonderful?!" She was so unbelievably happy. "I just couldn't wait to tell you!", she said followed by a huge sigh of relief.
I quickly got her dressed for bed, brushed her teeth and washed her face. She couldn't stop smiling. Meanwhile, i'm in shock and awe...
She took her walker and practically glided into her bedroom. Normally she would have gingerly eased up slowly onto the mattress, one leg at a time. But, on this night, she bounced onto her bed on both knees with the enthusiasm of a little girl who just saw Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. I tucked her in and kissed her good night and the smile never left her face. The next morning, she had no memory of the events of the night before.
But, i did.
At that time i thought, how wonderful that God would send her this message and comfort her at this dark time. But, in hindsight, i really think this message was sent for us. He gave her enough clarity to be able to deliver that message to me on that night, which i knew was a very dark time, but she did not. He was preparing two places in heaven for them and letting us know that everything was going to be alright.
Our God is an AWESOME God. We are so blessed.
Ruthann Simons McDonough
11/12/29 - 1/31/14
a love poem, written by Joe to Ruthann, before they were married:
...a true love story on this Valentine's Day