Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Dear, Beautiful Mama Bear | Post 18

"... the doors of welcome are wide open;
right now He is ready to welcome you.
Today He is ready to save you."
2 corinthians 6:2
"I'm standing on the seashore.  A ship at my side spread her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.  She's an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until the sea and the sky come down to mingle with each other.  And then I hear someone at my side saying, 'There, she's gone.' Gone where? Gone my my sight, that is all.  See, just at the moment when someone at my side says, 'There, she's gone' there are other eyes watching her coming… and there are other voices taking up a glad shout, 'Look! Here she comes!'" henry van dyke

This morning we were holding her hand, singing, like we have been for most of the past couple of days.  The chorus began:

"And I will rise when He calls my name 
No more sorrow, no more pain 

I will rise on eagles' wings 
Before my God fall on my knees 
And riiiiise, I will rise"

Somewhere between those few lines He called her name.  She rose up and took her first breaths of heaven's air, in a beautiful new body.  I'm not sure how formal heaven's entry gates are, but I'm vividly imagining a welcome like the one in Luke 15.  A jumping, leaping, running Father meeting His child on the road.  Tears of joy!  Bear hugs!  Triumph!  Together, at home, forever and ever and even more.  We miss her.  We'll always miss her here.  But thank goodness even the missing will come to an end.  

The memorial will be this Saturday in Gaithersburg.  More details to come once arrangements are finalized.  Thank you, beloved people.  You have carried us through.  We are desperate for more of those life-giving prayers.  

"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen!"

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mama Bear | Update 17

"You saw me before I was born 
and scheduled each day of my life 
before I began to breathe."
psalm 139:16
Sadly, these words I'm figuring out how to write down this very second have 'arrived' -- too too soon in my opinion.  Last night Mama Bear seemed to change in her demeanor, comfort and breathing ability.  This afternoon another "level" was taken.  She is peacefully sleeping right now, and we've had excellent hospice care so we know how to make sure she stays as cozy and comfy as she is this very moment.  God is not a God of hospice guesses, but if hospice were to make a guess they've said "not days or weeks, but hours or days."

At this point we're asking that no visitors come by.  If you're dropping off a meal, please come in through the garage, leave the meal, and promptly head out.  If you feel strongly about wanting to visit, you can text me or my dad and we'll let you know if it's a good time.  If we don't answer, it's not a good time ;) Feel free to e-mail or text anything you'd like us to read to her.  We're singing, talking, and reading to her much of the day and night.  We'd love to read her love from friends.  

Our home is a sacred, weighty, alive place right now.  It's holy ground, filled with the tears of grown men and little children.  We're in the parking lot of heaven, preparing to drop off our dear mother.  We're able to see some of it's light from here.  We wish we could see it all.  We wish she wasn't going without us.  We wish that maybe this is a dream and we'll wake up to her making coffee in the kitchen. However, the rays from Home are warm sun to our hearts.  We're not ready to lose her, but we're ready for her to dance on the clouds, run to her mother who she has deeply missed for over a decade now, and join her voice in the triumphant choir to the Father King.  Thank you for every single word or thought of care for us.  Every single "Dear Jesus." Every single offer to help.  Every single communication.  Every drop of love.  We're swimming in a deep, beautiful sea.  And our mama is sailing to the shore.

“... in this universe we are treated as strangers, 
the longing to be acknowledged, 
to be met with some response,
 to bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality...
and surely, from this point of view, the promise of glory, 
becomes highly relevant to our deep desire.
For glory means good report with God, 
acceptance by God, response, acknowledgment, 
and welcome into the heart of things. 

The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.” 
cs lewis | the weight of glory

(Updates can be found at Mama Bear on facebook.)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Latest on Mama Bear | Update 16

"... what if your healing comes through tears?"
laura story
I write today with heavy news.  The weight of glory appears to be upon my beautiful mother's back.  We received the results of her PET scan last week, and sadly the state of her body is not well.  To put it as my mom did: "...the good news is! I don't have to do chemo any more!". No more chemo.  No more treatments.  No more doctor's offices.  No more scans.  Home hospice arrangements are being made.  Heaven is closer than ever.  We are preparing to say goodbye in the way-too-near future.  (Of course, as my mom also said, "I'm still not opposed to miraculous healing!").

Please pray for us.  A few things that immediately come to mind:
- Pray that mom will be comfortable and pain-free as she finishes her days
- Pray for memories, time together, laughter, sacred hours as a family
- Pray for the hearts and minds of her little ones, especially.  (Lauren is still in elementary school, and Shannon and Dude are in middle school.) They are being so brave.  
- Pray for dad.  Lots of decisions. Lots of long nights. Lots of load ahead.
- Pray that somehow, though he is only seven months old, Rowdy will have supernatural and vivid memory of his grandma.
- This may seem silly, and I know each deep, labored breath is already numbered, but as we begin to face and imagine life without mom physically in it, we are broken knowing she won't be present for dozens and hundreds, if not thousands of 'big deals' for us.  The varsity boy's championship game is a big deal for our family. Dad, Tim, Caleb and I coach and Kevin is the senior starting point guard.  Assuming they make it through the play-offs, would you mind praying that mom will be there for the Championship?  Pray that Kevin could run to her at the end of the game, one last time?  The game is on Saturday, March 1 -- 45 days away.
- Pray for strong, real, nearly-touchable peace.

“The God who looked on you with joy when you were small and racing across His gift of green grass on His gift of feet beneath His gift of sky watched by His gift of a mother with His gift of love in His gift of her eyes, is the same God who will look on you as that race finally ends, delighted in every way.

Life is a story. Why do we die? Because we live. Why do we live? Because our Maker opened His mouth and began to tell a story.”
N.D. Wilson (Death by Living)

I wasn't there for the beginning of her story.  It turns out I wasn't even a part of *most* of her story.  But I will be there when our Maker says "It is finished, Suzanne." And while it may feel like the last chapters of her book are being written, we know better.  We know Chapter 2 is titled "Earth," and Chapter 3 is "Welcome Home." (Chapter 1 is "The Artist's Imagination" -- the part where He casts the roles, predestines the characters, ordains their plot line.) We know this story has no 'The End.'. We're crying and moaning over here in Chapter Two.  But someday, in Chapter 433,782, we'll only talk about the Times of Tears, for they will be no more. Forever, and ever, and ever, and on.

Thank you for the continued love, the constant support, the precious prayers.  It's a bit of heaven-on-earth to be the recipient of rallying care. Thank you. (And in mama bear's honor, go snuggle any one you love even if you have lots to get done today.)

Ps. Those interested in specific ways to help can contact Tracy: 301.418.2518 |