I have been in New Hampshire since Sunday night, and unlike other visits home, where I enjoy trips to the seacoast or go to rejuvenate by spending time in the mountains of my native home, I have been keeping vigil at my mom's bedside in Exeter Hospital.
I established a CaringBridge site for her last week, and will be showing my brother, Tom, who is the youngest of my three older brothers, how to write there and upload pictures. Tom is a marvelous storyteller and is her Durable Power of Attorney; hence he'd add a lot to the conversation there. But I also recognize that this event has him caught up in the medical merry-go-round, and so he may not have the time or energy to write much. If he doesn't, I suppose, I will remain the family journalist. What else is new?
The stroke that Anonymous Peggins has suffered was significant. And it has knocked out quite a bit of her speech center in the left hemisphere. Her vocabulary now consists of the word, "So." Since my arrival, she has gotten out an occasional, "Sue." And when she saw my brother the other day, we both heard her push through a, "Toe." Rather than have me repeat all that has happened here, I ask that you visit her CaringBridge site:
Meanwhile, I have felt God both encouraging me, and giving me a swift kick in the butt, all at the same time. I wrote to my mentor that I woke up yesterday with the hymnal juke box stuck on "Alone Thou Goest Forth, O Lord," which is a mournful tune from Holy Week. Did my Morning Prayer ritual, where the readings were more Easter affirmations and a bit of chiding that if I am not believing in this Resurrection, then I'm dead. Or more like dead weight. The message I took away from reading Paul's Letter to the Corinthians was that to wallow in death, darkness, bleakness, despair, depression, etc. only feeds itself and doesn't allow one to see the light that bursts through all of that. That light is life. Eternal life. Love. And that experience helped to get the needle unstuck on the Holy Week record. Oddly, it shifted the music to a plain chant I've heard at St. John's that they'll use with the psalms. This one is from Christmas, and it was a beautiful reminder since this particular chant was the turning point at the Christmas Eve service this winter, when I was feeling disconnected from the Christmas spirit. It was associated with Psalm 98, which is a joyous celebration of all that is God.
Let the rivers clap their hands... And the refrain:"Today a Savior Christ The Lord is born"
This morning, I have another of the plain chants. Again, associated with the psalmists words of praise of God. The refrain: "Be joyful in The Lord all you lands; lift up your voice, rejoice, and sing."
I honestly don't think I could manage this crap with my mom without the music in my head. It's what is buzzing in my brain as I hold her hand. She pulls my hand into her chest sometimes, like it's a teddy bear. And the music spins, and my hand continues to repeat to her the words that Love wants us to hear: "Do not be afraid. I am with you always."