The other day something my sister said made me think about why we have spent so much time up at the hospital. As I’ve posted before, most nights when Mom is there one of us sleeps in her room. When Mom is just coming out of surgery she needs someone there to give her ice chips, help her get comfortable in bed, and to keep track of all the information the nurses and doctors are giving her while she is semiconscious. Also, since she has had four abdominal surgeries, she needs help doing things like lifting her legs back into bed for the first few days.
I’ve written before about how sweet this time has been and I am so glad we have been there but I have just been thinking about how we decided that this would be our routine during this time. While pondering that I remembered the feeling I had when I heard that Mom had ovarian cancer and would be having surgery the week that school started and one week after we moved into a new house. I felt so utterly overwhelmed and afraid that ‘I DO NOT HAVE WHAT IT TAKES’ to do this well. For a couple of hours panic took turns with denial thoughts like ‘it won’t be that bad’ and ‘I can do this’ but I was really scared.
Then my sister called.
That sentence deserves its own paragraph. She called and said “how are WE going to do this?” My sisters live fourteen hours away. It hadn’t really crossed my mind that I would be able to truly share this load with them in any way other than occasional weekend visits and lots of phone calls and emotional support. But one of my sisters is a ‘stay at home minnie’ and she has left her life for weeks at a time to come help Mom and Dad – and therefore to help me. The other sister has taken time off from work to come give us a break when she could. Together we have made it through a very difficult year.
Mom has one more surgery, Lord willing, and this one will be small compared to the other four. I wouldn’t trade the time I have had with her for all of the gold in the world. And the reason I have had that time is that my sister called. She wouldn’t let me do this by myself and I wouldn’t let her sacrifice so much to help me without giving my all in return. Because of that we can finish this year of hospital visits with a sense of having done well and having been pleasing in God’s sight. Without her, I couldn’t have dared to give this much. Together we have climbed a difficult mountain and as I look out over the view, I feel peace and gratitude for the sister who said “we”.