Last night I finally followed through on something that has been on my heart for quite some time. There were two reasons that held me back from doing what I knew the Lord was calling me to do.
Right before my mom passed away, she was in rehab for about a month. She enjoyed her time there. Being the social person that she was, she forged a friendship with her roommate, Elizabeth. Elizabeth had been in rehab for quite awhile, and the center was now to be her home. Her eyesight started to get worse, and she was not able to walk on her own. She was confined to her wheelchair, which she sat in most of the day, listening to her television. She had not participated in any of the activities offered to her.
Enter my mom…she invited and prodded Elizabeth to attend Bingo with her, and also some worship services and the Rosary. They ended up going together, and Elizabeth ended up really enjoying herself.
When Joe and I visited my mom each day, we would bring treats for her, and also for Elizabeth. Things like chocolate milkshakes, candy, homemade guacamole, and cookies. We also brought two of my mom’s small wooden crosses…one for each of them. Elizabeth instantly held it in her hand, feeling the smoothness of the wood, and tracing Jesus on the cross. Every time we came in, the crucifix was either in her hand or on her bedside table.
When my mom was discharged, we all felt bad leaving Elizabeth, and I knew she felt the same sadness. We gave her a hug, and I made the decision to continue visiting her once my mom was settled in at home.
Two weeks from the date of discharge, my mom passed away. During the whirlwind of what transpired once we brought mom home, and then Hospice Care in our home, I didn’t have time to even remember or think about Elizabeth.
Once life settled down a bit, I started to feel the draw again to visit Elizabeth in the Health and Rehab Center. However, as I mentioned before, there were two things that held me back.
I knew that Elizabeth really bonded with my mom and I also knew she would ask about her. Being that Elizabeth was in failing health herself, and felt so close to my mother, I was reticent to tell her of my mom’s death. I am not the kind of person that could lie about a thing like that, and I was concerned about how the truth would affect her.
The other issue that was lurking in the back of my mind was that I was not sure I could handle the emotions of walking into the room where my mom enjoyed the last month before her struggle and then her death. I can still see her in that bed by the door. She would be sitting up, with her cute reading glasses on, and doing word search or reading. When I asked her how her day was, she would say, “I had a beautiful day!” Then we would visit and she would force me to stash all the sugar packets, snacks, and cookies that she collected from her dinner trays into my bag. It was our daily ritual! So I was not sure what emotions might come up if I visited Elizabeth in that same room.
The Lord kept nudging me to make the visit, and yesterday was the day! The room that my mother and Elizabeth were in was visible from the outside walkway. I looked in through the back door window (locked from the inside) to check for Elizabeth’s name that was posted by the room. Her name was gone.
I had a sinking feeling that maybe I was too late, and that she passed away.
Even though my heart was fluttering, I made it to the front desk, and asked about Elizabeth. The receptionist smiled and told me that her room was moved, and pointed me in the right direction.
Breathing a sigh of relief, I walked down the familiar hall, and made a left turn. When I walked into the room, Elizabeth was sitting in her wheelchair, looking ahead, in waiting for her dinner to be brought in. I made sure to get close enough so she could see me, said hello, and introduced myself.
What a beautiful moment for me when her eyes and face brightened up in recognition and remembrance!
We started talking, and she related to me that my mom, and our family have been in her thoughts. She talked about the treats we brought her, and how she enjoyed getting to know Mom, and the visits we shared.
Then she asked the question. “How is Mary?”
As gently as I could, I let her know that she passed away a few months ago, and that she died a peaceful death. I told her that it was my mom’s time.
Elizabeth’s eyes started to tear up, so I comforted her, and let her know what a wonderful time Mom had with her, and that Mom appreciated her friendship. Elizabeth told me that Mom brought sunshine into her life, and that because of my mother, she still goes to Bingo and the Rosary. She said my Mom was fun and feisty, and that was a good thing!
I remember when Mom would wonder why she was still alive at such an old age…much older than she expected to live. I always let her know that she touches many hearts just because of who she is, and that all the prayers that she offers for everyone is part of her Divine Purpose. She literally prayed for hours and hours for everyone she knew.
Now, it is being revealed to me one person after another, what my mother meant to them and how she touched their hearts. She left love, and a piece of her heart with all that knew her or crossed her path.
Through my mom’s journey, I am learning that we all strive to understand God’s Divine Purpose for our lives, and we all believe that we fall short. However, our Divine Purpose is revealed many times through our daily interactions and choices to love and forgive. It is in taking the needed steps when we hear the Holy Spirit’s familiar whispers to our hearts…moving past the fear and uncertainty that we feel and making the choice to reach out to those hearts in need of validation and love.
My prayer is that the Lord fill me with the humbleness and purity of heart that my mother possessed. And I pray for Him to use me as a vessel to hold and pass on His love to all He sends me.