02 February 2017

Difficult Phone Calls And The Heavens

Two days ago I received an email from a sweet friend letting me know that our dear friend's husband was on hospice and would likely pass away this week. She told me their family had gathered and that the kids were spending time there every day. Even though this was not a huge surprise, it sure did hurt my heart. My friends are in their 80s and have had an amazing influence on my life, which I will carry with me forever. While I am grateful that he will no longer be suffering there is never an easy way to let someone go.

The friend who emailed me encouraged me to give them a call. I so wanted to and I was so nervous to. Those are scary, stressful, sad calls to make.You never want to catch them at a bad moment, or cause them further stress, or say the wrong thing....there are so many fears associated with doing hard things.

What does one say that could possibly help such a situation? Well, nothing really. I guess the only answer is love. Love really is the answer to so many of life's challenges. We can't make them go away but we can love others -and even ourselves- through them.

Yesterday I had a same day surgery which went well but the recovery has been a little rougher than I anticipated. I've had this small procedure before and my memory was that I came right out of the anesthesia feeling fine and chatting away with the nurses. Then I went home and slept all afternoon and was feeling pretty normal afterwards. But my memory may be failing me.

Yesterday, I struggled that first hour out in recovery and they kept me longer than they expected. I was miserable. But after about 90 minutes I was feeling better, craving a milkshake and ready to go home. I spent the rest of the day in bed trying to sleep which was very on and off. Happily I slept most of the night at least. Making a phone call just wasn't on the radar yesterday. I did feel that I absolutely needed to do it this morning though.

I woke up early and it was too early to call. Then I went back to bed, so when I woke up again at 11 a.m., there was a sense of urgency I felt to make the call. I wasn't exactly prepared, didn't feel like I'd thought through it enough in my mind to have the right things to say. My one worry was that I would call right in the midst of him passing away - the very worst moment possible.

These kinds of calls are such "grown up" things to do. Why is it that they reduce us to feeling awkward and 12 years old? I grabbed my phone and went upstairs, got their number out of my address book - for some reason it wasn't in my phone, even though I know I called them not that long ago. I dialed and it kept ringing and I started preparing myself to leave a voicemail. That was good I thought, I wouldn't be bothering them.

Then a woman's voice picked up. I knew it was probably one of several relatives, so I told her who I was and since I know most of their family she recognized me. It was their oldest daughter.

I told her I didn't want to bother her mom but just wanted to leave a message and let her know I love her and was thinking of their family. I can't remember the exact words she used but she implied that he was in the process of passing away right then and would be gone soon. She said she would gladly give her mom the message. I told her I didn't want to keep her so she could return to her father's bedside and I said goodbye.

It was less than a minute on the phone, maybe only 30 seconds, in moments like this it seems like time has no relativity. I was so glad I did it even though my worst fear that I would call just as he was passing may have been the case. I will have to wait to hear an update later. I was glad I didn't wait any longer. Another experience added to my "grown up-edness". I am so sad for their family. The past few years have been difficult with his failing health. Though his imminent passing comes as no surprise to them and is relief of suffering for him, I am sure it is still very hard to say goodbye.

I find the older I get, and the more good friends and family I have in heaven, the less it scares me. I know who will meet me when I get there. It makes me teary-eyed to say that, but there are people there I dearly, dearly miss. My wonderful friend PJ, I miss all the time and I think of her especially today when our mutual friend is coming her way. I can't wait to hug her, see her beautiful smile, twinkling eyes and to laugh with her again. She was taken very suddenly and it was such a shock.

There are other faces I cannot wait to see again and laughter and tears I cannot wait to share when we meet again. There are people there I love and have never met, like my inlaws. There is a best-friend cousin who died when we were toddlers. Okay now I'm crying. Ack. I know there are all our ancestors there who are cheering us on and loving us daily. Oh, heaven is a good place.

But wow, is it hard to let people we love go there. I know they are not so far away and still loving us and watching over us. It will be a comfort to some day know their world and how they've been caring for us and loving us all along. I will look forward to seeing all these people I love again and thanking them for all they have meant to me both on earth and in heaven.

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