My little “bright, illuminated light” grows dim. It is almost imperceptible and then suddenly I realize that she is different. She doesn’t eat anymore, a bite of ice cream and then it melts in the bowl, or she carries a popsicle around until she decides against eating it. Suddenly- no need to stock her beloved pistachios- “stachios”, her tortilla chips or Cheerios. And she stares..off into a faraway place at times and I can’t call her back with my voice. Only my touch brings her back to me. Could be small seizures says Jan, our hospice nurse, but maybe not. She has a more difficult time completing sentences and loses her train of thought. And today:
Phoebe: “Mommy, know who slept with me last night?”
Me: “Yes, Grammy slept with you last night.”
Phoebe: “No, Jesus slept with me last night.”
Me: “Jesus slept with you?”
Phoebe: “Yes, God.”
She makes comments like this more and more and I wonder how thin the veil is becoming.
You know, when a light flickers just before it goes out? This is that. She has these moments of breakthrough clarity and tells me amazing things. And then she grows dim again. She speaks less, shuffles. She fell yesterday. And somehow I can get up and brush my teeth. Sufficient grace. Calm before the storm. I try to brace myself for what’s coming, ready myself for impact.
I have scrubbed this house from floor to ceiling, and there are 5 new bulging trash bags worth of stuff at Goodwill. I am nesting in reverse. Planning for the days I can’t get out of bed and face the world, when the sun is too bright and the birdsong outside my window doesn’t match the ache I feel inside. I am not unaware that those days wait for me. I have been there before, but this will far surpass those depths.
Jesus is in the depths. I know He is. I will find Him there, partake in His sufferings. There will be new insight. Hard earned.
I find myself needing to protect the time we have with her. The time for sharing is ending and the time for staying close is here. My mother love will orbit her, do what more I can do for her. I imagine it will be like in those first days, in our bedroom in Mexico, when the night breeze blew the leaves of the Jacaranda tree on our patio and in through our window where I nursed at 2 am and 4 am. By moonlight I stroked her head and marveled that at last I had a daughter.
In my mind I imagine a peaceful transition. I know it often isn’t so. Please pray for peace for Phoebe. God is already so obviously present with her and that comforts me to no end.