It was just before Christmas, 2007 when my mother-in-law was hospitalized for acute pancreaitus and had to have gall bladder surgery. The surgery didn’t go as planned and they were unable to remove the breathing tube after surgery. She was unresponsive, unable to breath on her own, and was on a respirator. The second day after surgery she went into cardiac arrest. Luckily, they were able to revive her. At this point, the outlook wasn’t good. We were advised to begin preparations for a funeral. This was all happening as Christmas fast approached. A couple of days later, she was flown to the cardiac intensive care unit at a local hospital for immediate quadruple by-pass surgery.
What I found most touching was my husband’s dedication and devotion to his mother. Regardless of all he and our family endured trying to ensure her needs had been met, he was full of compassion and concern. As I sat and watched him care for her, I was barely able to comprehend this. They did not have an exceptionally good relationship up to this point. As a matter of fact, although she had lived with us for almost two years prior to our current location, there was very little evidence of love in their relationship. It was more a business venture, where my husband ensured all of her needs were met and she relied solely on him to do so. Yet, I saw compassion for his mother, for life. In the midst of this, we were going back and forth to the hospital (sometimes several times a day), preparing for Christmas (I hadn’t yet bought gifts, much less sent any), dealing with her financial issues, apartment, and so on while trying to remain good parents to our children. Luckily, school was out.
An amazing thing that happened during this time: Our children began to take responsibility for caring for our pets, cleaning the house and even preparing meals. I was so touched one evening when we were on our way home from the hospital after a long, trying day, when our daughter called and said not to worry about dinner, she’d already made it. Our children showed us a compassion and love I am proud to have witnessed. This struggle required all of us to stretch and grow. During this time of difficulty God called each of us to a new level. What we thought we were incapable of, He enabled us to do.
This experience left me in awe of God because I know without Him my family would not have made it through that winter.
Our family was faced with doing what is right in spite of doing what our "feelings" were. Sometimes you are asked to do what you have firmly said you would never do. Even when we think we don’t have the ability to do as God requests, we are filled with His presence and His love. He allows us to fulfill His will, not our own. For through God, all things are possible.
Copyright 2010 Lorrie Lane Dyer
About the Author
Lorrie Lane Dyer is a facilitator for the Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation with the University of Dayton as well as religious education and parish coordinator. She is working on her Masters of Leadership Development, with a focus in Military Chapel programs at St. Mary of the Woods College. Her faith provides her with inspiration for many of her poetry collections, columns and short stories.