The Vigil- the period of keeping awake during the time usually spent asleep, especially to keep watch or pray
(Photo: My Beautiful Mama.)
The illness of my mother has spurred me back to journaling or blogging, if you will. The way I blog, it seems closer to a journal entry really. Whatever you want to call it, I guess I’m back at it. Writing is the way I process what’s happening internally and if by some chance it helps others as well, then, so be it. Also, while, I’m not in my little yellow camper writing at the moment, I am traveling, of sorts, and I’m writing. I have also found myself perched in various rooms or places to do it, so I guess the title of ‘the Traveling Writing Room still works.
My last entry was written on a maroon couch across from mother’s bed. Today, I am held up in a nicely furnished space they call the ‘Board Room’. I’m probably not suppose to be in here, but it’s quiet and I can be absolutely alone. Anytime I walk outside of Mom’s apartment, I meet good intentioned folks wanting an update on Mom’s condition. They love her and truly care. However, repeating the same update over and over again is tiring. So, I’m tucked away in this lovely room, feet up in a chair and at rest.
Mom has pancreatic cancer, as you know. She was diagnosed a little over a month ago. At diagnosis, she was walking, talking and being herself. Today, she has been in a hospital bed for the last 24 hours, not comatose, but nearly. I’m pretty sure we’ve had the last full conversation we will have on this earth, sung our last song together; and prayed our last prayer together. I must lean close to hear anything she may utter and and for her to recognize me. We are now in the vigil stage of saying goodbye.
The vigil is the time I’ve most dreaded. As I sit by her bed I am bombarded with all I am losing, and I now desperately long for it all to be returned. Conversation, laughter, a touch, and spirited differences of opinion make me yearn for them as much as a glass of iced tea on a hot summer afternoon.
My brother and sister-in-law sit around her bed with me telling stories. I hope she can hear them. I long for her to open her eyes and tells us we’ve got it all wrong. We are animated and then silence sets in as each of us remember our own stories and time with Mom.
People can be heard walking by her apartment door as they drop off cards in the basket hanging on the wall near the door.
The dining room drops off a supper that won’t be eaten. Voice mail and texts ding on our phones. Mom’s phone sits alone and silent.
The light outside, bright this morning is now growing dim. A table lamp is turned on. As night awakens, those in the room grow sleepy. Our hearts hurt. We long to stand and stretch. We take turns doing just that.
I hate this part. I hate it all, really. Yet . . .
You couldn’t pull me away from here. To be able to give honor and care to someone who has loved me unconditionally for over 68-years is one of the greatest gifts God has given me of late. To play a bit- part in the cycle of life, life the way God had intended it to be since Adam and Eve left Eden, humbles me like nothing else ever has. This is IT. We live. We die. And then . . .
“Oh, Mama! Soon, you will see your Beloved’s face. Soon, God will touch yours. Oh Mama! I will sit here until you walk into glory no matter how long it takes, so proud I’m here to put your hand in His. Oh, Mama! Soon. Very soon.”