That's what I'm thinking about today. I went to bed thinking about it, and woke up still contemplating how the wind can blow and change the direction of our lives, sometimes without too much warning.
We met with Hospice last Thursday morning. Grampie's been 'qualified' for their services now. This only confirmed what we've known for the last couple of weeks. At one point early in our interview, the nurse asked many hours of a 24-hour period Grampie's asleep. "Twelve?" She asked.
"Twelve! No, more like 18 at least," I answered. "Probably it's really closer to 22."
When Beve walked in and heard the question, he said, "20-22."
That day and the next, and, today as well, it's been more like 23.5.
He just sleeps and sleeps and sleeps.
And barely eats or drinks.
Yep, it didn't really take a nurse to tell us what we've known.
Still,with her telling us, we're not in this alone. And that's the sea change we needed.
We're in a community of people who are paying attention to his care. And that's a pretty nice feeling. I love bouncing questions of the nurse, having help with various issues of his care, having resources for extra aides, if we need them, and just knowing we have people to call if we need them. That's what we're glad to have in this journey.
They're all, "Whoa, you really re-modeled your home for him," and "You're really a great daughter-in-law to care for him so much," and "I'm so proud of how present you are with him." And the next thing I know the social worker is tearing up and I'm comforting her, talking to her about the gifts of being with Grampie in his last days--about being with ANYONE (he is our last parent whose death we've shared). It's just such a privilege, I tell her. She wipes a few more tears from her face and wants to give me a hug.
After the social worker left this afternoon, I was telling son J about it and we got to talking about it. I realize that sometimes ministry comes in unexpected places. She's a very earnest, tender sort, that social worker. It makes her good at her Hospice work, gentle with those who need gentle care. There are many who haven't the experience with the dying we have, nor the faith to see it as a part of life that is worth embracing and enjoying, even. So she came into my home ready to give out of a cup she's used to giving from. I don't know where she gets that cup filled but maybe visiting me today filled that cup a little bit today. Maybe that was exactly what she needed. So while I sat dry-eyed, talking about my beloved Grampie's life and death, she needed to cry, and while I was arching my back away from her hug (okay, not really, except in my head), she needed human comfort.
I was very busy thinking she was there for me, you see. I forgot that no matter what is going on, God might have something else in mind. And I need to be ready for that sea change.
These people have come into our lives now. A nurse, a social worker, a bath aide, the care-givers. And yes, they are here to help us in this slope toward Grampie's home-going. But however long they're here, and whatever else they're doing, we are also here to serve His Kingdom in our home, to be His disciples. That is, to love and minister to--any way we can--whoever walks through our door.
When you come right down to it, that's no sea change at all.