A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.

In Who is Doug? by Doug Phelps

Jesus went on to say, “A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.”

John 16:16

My journey through 2020 started the year (almost exactly one year ago as I write this) in celebration. Donna had the fabulous and prophetic idea to throw my Mom a party for her 85th birthday. We schemed and planned to get all her family here scattered by geography and relationships, from kids and grandkids and great grandkids, and life-long friends too.

Mom initially resisted the attention. Some of it because she’d just been home a couple of weeks after a month-long hospital and rehab facility experience between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some of it because she just wasn’t herself. We did not relent. By the time the weekend was upon us, she was excited in anticipation. The two and a half days of celebrating were delightful. The difficulties she was living through were relieved for a time in the blessings of getting to squeeze and hold and be loved on and to be love to her family. It was real and it was true.

In late February she showed symptoms like what occurred just before Thanksgiving. Her doctor readmitted her to the hospital. The pandemic was just beginning and she was taking up a bed they wanted for those patients. While not ready, she was sent back to the rehab facility. Lock down. We couldn’t visit her. No contact for nearly 30 days. Phone calls daily – often just several minutes apart – from her, pleading to come home. To die at home, not in “this place.” One angel on the staff at the facility arranged for and helped a couple Zoom calls. It was as real and as true as it could be.

With some persistence, we got Mom home in late March where she wanted to be. Set up her room like a hospital – the adjustable bed, tubes and instruments, washcloths and ice chips. Despite the uncertainty of the pandemic, family and friends visited her. Blessings in the pain. The angel of Donna cared for Mom’s personal needs as she was able. Until it became too much. We transitioned to in-home hospice care and the angels we were blessed to have on our path for a little while.

Grandkids returned from far away places to be with their Grandma Joanie. They again shared stories of their love for her. Tears flowed down cheeks. One grandson held her hand as she took her last breath. Out the window, a yellow butterfly flittered by. The end of one form of life and on to another. Both the butterfly and all the children Mom lives on within. It is as real and as true as it could be.

The times of darkness in this period was lit by small, bright flames of Jesus’ love by family members and individuals in this AH community. It reminds me to trust in God’s love and life, shared often in the case of extreme adversity (aka COVID-19!). God’s love and life are solid bedrock. It is as real and as true as it can be.

We can choose to commit to a recurring and infinite path that creates more of the same. We can choose possibility. We can choose connection. We can choose love. We can choose trust. We can choose justice. We can choose kindness. We can choose resilience. And we can decide to take responsibility for all.

Each leads to more of the same. Love and life win!

Come God and teach us your lessons. Amen

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