Saturday, January 30, 2010

delaying the sequel

Okay, I'll be honest. I wrote the next post, The Pros to Having a Large Family, but I've delayed posting it. After reading all of the comments on the last post, I don't want to offend anyone. Yes, there are pros. Ask anyone who has a large family, and they'll tell you that there are many up-sides and advantages. It's fun, entertaining, and beneficial to the kids in many ways. Hard sometimes, but worth every minute of it. However, I know there are also advantages to having one. Or two. And I do realize that there are people who would love to have children and can't. Or would love to have more and can't. It's touchy.

I will post the next segment soon, but first wanted to clarify that my intention was/is not to say that one family size is better than another. It's really more a Defense of the Large Family. Because I'm apparently in the "large family" category now, I've heard a lot of ridiculous and presumptuous comments, and I'm attempting to counter those. The posts I had planned are really written to the Person Who Would Criticize My Choices (or the choices of my friend, which is what really set me off.) Most parents with more than two children are finding that "large families" are being subtly (or sometimes noisily) discouraged.

If only everyone had common sense.

For the Family-Size Critical Person:

Say nothing to the couple who has been married 5+ years and doesn't have children yet. Don't ask, or comment. Don't make jokes about biological clocks or other downright stupid things. Unless you are a close friend, and you are tactful and kind, you shouldn't even consider saying or asking anything. Maybe they are choosing to wait. Nothing wrong with that. Maybe they have decided not to have children. Most people who decide not to have children probably shouldn't. If you don't want kids, don't have them. Makes sense. Or maybe they would love to, and it hasn't been physically possible. You don't know their story, so don't presume to. Butt out.

From experience, I can tell you that it is especially painful when someone asks "so, are you done having kids now?" right after you've had a miscarriage.

Don't say anything to the couple who has one child. Sometimes they are simply waiting until the right time to have more. Or maybe they've decided that one is the right size for their family. There's nothing wrong with that. I know many perfectly happy, well-rounded intelligent only children. There is nothing wrong with being an only child. They will not "suffer," so don't imply that they will. In fact, consider that the mother of an only child often has a harder job (she is not sitting around eating bon bons all day while her only child reads quietly for hours on end.) She may not deal with sibling rivalry, but she must play many more roles. Now that my children are all old enough to really play house and tag together, I have more time to pursue some of my interests and get other things done... (advantage for large families.)

Also, consider that many people deal with secondary infertility and it may be difficult to hear judgment about their "choice" to have an only child.

Then there's the "perfect" American dream family of two children. Two is a great number. There is nothing wrong with having two. The only thing wrong is when someone believes every couple should limit their family to one or two children. It's perfect for many people, but not God's plan for others.

For this family, two is perfect.

What it comes down to is this: Let other people live their lives. If you can't say something NICE, then don't say anything at all. No suggestions or "helping" unless someone explicitly asks for your advice on how many children they should have (psh- yeah, right.) You, Family-Criticizer, are not all-knowing. You could not possibly know what is best for my family. Or my sister's family. Or my friend's family. You can only know what is best for yours. And if more people would focus on truly doing what is best for their own families, they would have far less time to belittle the choices of others. So, when I happily tell you that I would love to have more children through adoption someday, you can say something truly encouraging and helpful, or nothing at all. When my friend asks for prayer concerning the timing of having more children, you can-- imagine this-- offer prayer. And love and encouragement. Or just prayer, if you can't think of something nice to say.

When a friend says that she's decided one child is perfect for her family you can-- imagine it-- say "That sounds great; I'm sure you're making the right choice for your family." Or smile and say nothing, if you must.

On and on, just imagine the scenarios of treating people as you would want to be treated; letting people live their own lives; being a friend who gives genuine love and support. Oh, wouldn't it be nice if all in-laws, friends, and strangers could abide by the golden rule!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On having a large family, part1

Wendy and October, with kids (minus one of Tob's, who was at home)

Disclaimer: the following is not meant to disparage anybody who has few or no children. It's just to say no one should be criticized for their family-size choice.

"You know what's causing that, don't you?"

So, fess up. How many of you out there, with more than 1 child, have been asked this question upon announcing a new pregnancy?

Recently I witnessed an exchange between one of my good friends and her pals. She plans to have more kids. And, apparently, her friends believe this means that she will be confining herself and sacrificing the possibilities of education, vacations, new cars, summer homes, sports for her children and everything that in their estimation is worth having. In fact, one woman said that the sports-deprivation would cause the children to "suffer." (Yes, it would be laughable, if this woman was not dead-serious. Since when does sports rank as high as love and support, family unity? Or even education?? When did it become a necessity for successful parenting?)

I suppose this goes along with the whole feminist idea that large families are harmful to women; supposedly motherhood turns them into domestic slaves to husband and children.

Then there’s the idea that somehow people who choose large families are irresponsible, backward and selfish, while having few or no children is the sure sign of being “enlightened,” and environmentally responsible. Fewer babies equal greener mama?

I’ll agree that today’s world does make it harder on single-income stay-at-home-mom families. However, even this is a matter of priorities. It's only unfeasible for some people because they choose to spend their money on unnecessary and pricey toys, enroll their children in every activity that comes along regardless of cost, travel extensively, spend too much on dining, and many other non-essentials. If you want to spend your money that way, then so be it. Live and let live. However, large families can make it if they’ll just cut back on unnecessary expenses.

I don't understand the often-heard argument that people with many children are more “selfish”' than people who decided kids would cramp their style. Having children, at least if you are a conscientious and loving parent, is the most effective cure for selfishness that a person can find. You can't be a good parent and remain selfish. Your life is devoted to others, who you love unconditionally. Parenthood demands putting someone else's needs first.
But you can read another debate about that here, Having Children: Selfish or Selfless?

Maybe that is why many people now instinctively recoil from having many children. It demands too much of you.

And, now, before part2, let me say that I do NOT think this is for everyone.Who should not have a large family, (or perhaps any children)? Anyone who doesn't want children. Duh. Anyone who is not prepared financially to care for them (home and food,) and anyone who has "other issues" that rule them out.... there are obvious examples of this that I don't really want to bring up.

Btw, a good answer for that question:

"You know what's causing that, don't you?"
"yes, Lots of wonderful sex with my husband. Lots of it," said with a large and mischievous grin.

Might throw them off balance enough to hinder other ridiculous questions.

Next up, What are the real arguments to be made for large families?
Yes, I'm on my soap box.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Look, Same Place.

Yes, it's still me. Just a new look. Playing with html coding, headers, colors.... it's all art, too.

Make yourself at home.

Now look down on the sidebar (waaaay down)... see it? Oh, yes, there it is: my own bloggie button created by ME. Yes, yes, I'm feelin' kinda proud of myself, even though it was easy. Just another step toward blog-self-reliance.

Creating anything makes me happy.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Art Helps Heal the Hurt

I'll tell you straight out that I believe in Art Therapy. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it's often just as effective and powerful as Talk Therapy (and this coming from someone who has taken numerous therapy, family science, and therapeutic interviewing classes... bah, now don't flinch when I talk about alternatives.)

Everyone has their own way to deal with stressful events. I have several "baking friends," some "singers," a few "cleaners," several "exercisers"... all healthy and effective stress relievers. Mine, without a doubt, is art. And, really, almost any kind of art will do, whether it be painting a mural, sketching, sculpting, or coloring pages with the kids. Something about creating and releasing is soothing to the soul. God made us with creative talents & gifts, and I believe He intends for those to be used.
The kids are no strangers to paint. And, as you can see, I'm not a hyper-cleanie person.
Sure, give a 2-year old craft paints, glitter, paper and let him go at it. Why not?
The kiddos painted these fabulous clothes pins and blocks the other day.

Last week, when Mimi passed away, I took two days off of school. It's hard to function when you lose someone so dear to your heart. During that time, we spent time outside ...
(gotta love Dash's cute face, behind Little Lad)

...and many hours "doing art."
I painted a rug onto our playroom floor.

And then a mural for the kids. They designed it: roads, railroad tracks, lakes and a river, crosswalks, an ocean and island (with an X that marks the spot for buried treasure.) We made some box buildings to complete the city area.

Added some alligators to guard the Treasure Island.

Nature Man's firefighters saved the forest just in time.

Below, Little Lad (aka Batbaby) is just happy to be a part of the fun!
He had his own section to build on and then demolish.

I also added some art pages to their activity books. It's good to mix things up now-and-again.
I'm so happy to have Papaw here now, although it still knocked me off my rocker to see him walk in alone. He brought me Mimi's perfume, per my request, and also a mug that I had bought for her birthday and mailed. I drank my coffee using it, yesterday morning, and then put it up somewhere safe.

I love this sweet old man!!

Do you draw on yourself?

These winter days have been long. Today we have sunshine and enough warmth to play outside ... but for the past few weeks we've been trapped in the house, desperate for our central heat. A few beautiful spring-like days have kept us sane.
No way do I venture out in single digit cold. Overall, the kids have handled it very well.

To combat the claustrophobia and lack of sunshine, I took up running, and decided on just-for-fun afternoon kids' activities. One day last week we made Body Snatcher books. On another day, I drew on the kids. (yes, you read that correctly. I drew-- with ink pens-- on my kids, for the heck of it. So sue me.)

My mom always writes on herself-- phone numbers, grocery lists, you name it.
She's gotten better about that lately,
but I remember steadily changing lists
fading on her hand as I was growing up.That same day, Dash got into my laundry that was piled on the couch. Nice.
Easy entertainment.

You're hot, kid.

I've spent a lot of time lately just thinking about Mimi. I'm trying not to be down. I have no reason to be depressed. And, really, I'm so happy (and joyful) with LIFE right now, just so sad at certain moments. I will miss her.
Several friends have commented lately that we have an amazing family. We do.
Mimi was like a second mom to me. She was one of my best friends.
My mom and sisters are also best friends of mine. We see each other every week, at least, and have game nights all the time.
My Dad still takes us each out to lunch, individually, about once a month, just to talk and catch up.
I am so blessed.
I have so many wonderful memories and am eternally grateful for those. It puts things in perspective.
I want my children to have those same kinds of glowing memories, fun times.
I want them to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that we Love them Unconditionally.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Minnie Pearl West Burnside

Mimi and Papaw, in Arkansas with 8 of the great-grandchildren, 2008

Minnie Pearl West Burnside, July 14, 1937 to January 13, 2010, went home to be with her Lord from pancreatic cancer at her home in Sequim, Washington at 4:27 in the afternoon. She was born in Stockdale,Texas to Elmo West and Ruth Marcrum West Hemby. She married William Burnside in 1955 and raised four children in Lakewood, California and northwest Arkansas. Minnie graduated from John Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas in 1971 and ministered to students as a faculty wife at JBU from 1969-1990. She taught junior and senior high school math in Decatur, Rogers and Gentry, Arkansas from 1972-1990. After moving to Pacific Grove, California she was math department chair at Notre Dame High School in Salinas, California from 1990-94.

Camping with her kids

In Switzerland for their 25th wedding anniversary, in 1980

...and then in Belgium

After retirement she served as a missionary in Taiwan and taught English at Christ’s College in Taipei from 1995-98.

Above, Teaching in Taiwan

Mimi in Monterey, CA in 1998

After moving to Sequim, she was active in women’s ministry at Sequim Bible Church and she then served alongside her husband Bill who pastored Oak Bay Baptist Church in Port Hadlock, WA from 2004-09.

Minnie served her Lord with thankfulness and ministered to the needs of others with her gifts of teaching, hospitality, cooking, and sewing. Everything she did, she did well, and with her whole heart as unto the Lord.

She is survived by her husband, Bill, whom she married September 26, 1955. Other survivors include her brothers, Franklin (Buddy) West, Billy West, and L.H. West. She was preceded in death by her sister Patsy West McGrew. She is survived by her children and their spouses: Jeannine and Chris Little, Timothy and Olivia, Cheryl and Rulon Foster, and Jonathan and Belinda, 12 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren. "Strength and honor are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come." "Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her." Proverbs 31:25,28

Mimi lived a life full of purpose. She followed God's direction. She loved through acts of service. She forgave everyone for everything, and held no grudges. She laughed quickly and easily, and became friends with everyone she met. Mimi loved people.

I will miss her. But she was ready to go, and God was calling her Home. I hope and pray that my life is as full, God's purposes for me are accomplished, and I'm ready to go when it is time.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mimi's Raisin-Nut Wheat Bread

Mimi's Raisin-Nut Wheat Bread

(She sent this to me a few weeks ago. It's a delicious recipe.)

About 20 minutes before you start your bread, put 1 cup raisins in a small pan. [We like lots of raisins so I use 3/4 cup dark raisins and 3/4 cup golden raisins.] Cover them with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Remove from the stove and let them cool.

[Wendy, I now do something else that is optional. I pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 cup oats and let that cool and then add when I add the raisins & nuts. I also use 2 to 3 cups whole wheat flour in place of some of the white flour. This will increase your bulk & you can make a pan of rolls or a small loaf with the extra dough. I sometimes make 3 smaller loaves. Mimi ]

In a large bowl, mix 1 cup warm water with 2 packages yeast (or 2 Tablespoons dry yeast) and 1 Tablespoon sugar. Wait about 5 minutes.

Now drain the water off the raisins into a measuring cup. Add water to make 1 ½ cups.

Adjust the temperature of the water to make the mixture lukewarm.

Add this to the yeast mixture.

Add 2 cups flour and 2 teaspoons salt. Mix well.

Add 1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted butter,

1/3 to ½ cup sugar, and 1 beaten egg and the raisins and ½ to 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans.

Mix well.

Now add flour–1 cup at a time until you get a nice stiff dough (about 4 cups or more).

Turn onto a floured surface. Wait 5 to 10 minutes then knead well.

Brush dough with oil. Cover with plastic. Let rise until double (about 1 hour).

Knead down. Shape into 2 loaves. Put in pans sprayed with Pam.

Let rise until double in size (about 30 to 40 minutes).

Preheat oven to 350o

Bake until brown (about 35 minutes).

Let cool on a rack or on a tea towel.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I've dealt with grief before. I know what loss is like. But not this kind of loss.

I don't know how to deal with so many memories. It feels like I'm fighting my own mind, trying to decide whether to stay busy and just NOT think, or to embrace wonderful memories. It would seem, under the circumstances, that I should embrace all of the positive times. But that just leads me to cry. Crying all day, when you have four little children to care for, is not beneficial for anyone.

We took the day off school today, so I could think. The kids helped me build a fire in the firepit outside, and we sat by the warmth for an hour, just talking. I pushed them on the swings, they played tag, and then we came in with rosy cheeks and tired feet. Back inside, we read stories, painted, played Sequence, and made homemade pizza.

Quality relaxed time with my children. Art. Being Outside. Healing, in baby steps.

I know Mimi is in Heaven. I know it is her eternal Home, and she wanted to go. She is somewhere amazing, and with Someone amazing.

But I miss her. And I can't believe she is gone.

Papaw will be here in a week... and I'm trying to imagine him stepping off the plane by himself. Or walking into a room...and not having Mimi to kiss. It just makes me so sad.

I am trying to remember the things Mimi told me just a few days ago, when I talked to her last. I was crying, and telling her that I loved her and would miss her so much. She said, "but, Wendy, remember all of the wonderful times we had. And be thankful that we were able to say goodbye. So many people do not get that chance." She was dying, and spent that conversation trying to comfort me. It did/does comfort me.

Mimi has been a huge part of my life for the past 30 years. She was like a second mother to me, a dear friend, teacher, mentor. We had so much more time than many people get together. We knew what was coming, and had ample time to talk about it and say "goodbye for now." I'm very thankful for these things. Mimi left this earth in peace. She was asleep, not suffering. She was at home, surrounded by those who loved her and were praying constantly.

I am thankful for our time, joyful for her life and where she is now, pained over the separation, and confused as to how to deal well with it. It just doesn't seem real.

The kids know what has been going on, and that Mimi is in Heaven now. Yet when I mentioned that Papaw was coming next week, my Nature Man piped up, "are Mimi and Papaw staying at a hotel or at Noni and Poppy's house?"

Death is not real to them. They don't understand.

My little 5-year old Dash really has no concept. When we tried to explain, he asked "okay, but when is she coming back?" It's hard for me to answer that when this doesn't feel real to me either.

I try to convince my mind that she is gone on this earth now. Then I weep, and denial seems to take back over. Maybe I should chant, "it's okay, she is okay now, it's okay, she is okay now..." to get it through my head and help me cope.

At any rate, we're getting back on track with school tomorrow. The schedule and regularity will help me. I will run tomorrow, too (naughty me, I skipped today.) Exercise should help relieve some of this internal tension. And art. Is therapy. If I can't express how I feel or what I'm thinking adequately with words, then surely I can through art.

Keep telling the people you love how much they mean to you. Spend time with the people who matter the most. Relationships hold value above all things.

And thank you. Thank you all so much for the kind words, notes, letters, FB condolences, and prayers. I love you.
Yes, you.

Mimi is Home

Yesterday afternoon my Mimi went Home. I will miss her so much, but I know that she is in a far better place now.

Letter from Papaw today:
"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Psalm 30:5 Jeannine and I woke up this morning rejoicing that Mimi is with the Lord and happy in Him and will never have any more pain or sorrow, but at last God's purposes for her in creating her are being fulfilled as she is "like Him for she has seen Him as He is" (from 1 John 3:1-2). We both talked about how amazing it is that though we miss her and will continue to--and think about the Reunion with her we will have one day--that God has given us that deep-seated joy that the world cannot understand. So that we can be "sorrowful and yet always rejoicing." Yesterday the emphasis was on the sorrowful part; this morning the emphasis is on our hearts in the heavenlies rejoicing in the Lord and so very excited for what our sweet Mimi is actually experiencing at this very moment. Only those who know Jesus can experience that deep-seated joy in the midst of the sorrow in our heart.
Twice Jesus said, "if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death" John 8:51 and John 11:26 "And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." Minnie's body died, but she did not; she went to be with the Lord and "so shall we ever be with the Lord." The other day on her death bed Minnie said those beautiful, encouraging words that I sent to you the other day, and almost her last words were, "God has given me so much happiness!" And she brought that happiness to us! but this morning she is experiencing complete happiness and satisfaction in being with the Lord and others she loves with no admixture of sorrow, regret, or suffering.
One of the most beautiful verses in the Bible is Ephesians 1:6 "To the praise of the glory of His grace, through which He has made us accepted in the Beloved." There's a new song that someone let me listen to on a CD, "To the praise of His glorious grace." This CD is marvelous. It's "A Quiet Heart" by Soundforth Singers & Orchestra. One stanza reads like this:
Providentially ruling all things,
To conform to the end He designed.
He mysteriously governs and brings
His eternal, wise plans into time.
He works out every step, every trace,
To the praise of His glorious grace.
Jesus was "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," but He "endured the cross" by focusing on "the joy set before Him"--the results that God brought out of His sufferings. Heb. 12:1-3 And He told this to His disciples--and through them to us--the day before He died:
"You shall weep and lament, . . . and you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. . . . And you now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.
. . . . "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." John 16:20-24
Rejoicing in the Lord,
Pastor & Jeannine
Timothy is coming tomorrow and Jonathan will be here on Friday and all 4 of us will be at the Memorial Service at Oak Bay Baptist Church in Port Hadlock Monday morning at 11:00 AM January 18. And Tina & James will be there, too with Tina's mother and Joanna.
[And there will be another Memorial Service for Minnie at Siloam Springs Bible Church on Saturday, January 30 at 11:00 AM.]

Mimi, we will see you again. In the meantime, I'm treasuring all of the memories. Love you so much, forever.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mimi-- Papaw's note

54 years together, an anniversary picture of Mimi and Papaw

We received this email from Papaw this morning:

Jeannine and I are writing down all the things that Mimi says (and they are not many, but they are priceless). Beginning with Saturday, January 9, she began awakening out of her sleep and sometimes would just say something. Sometimes there would be a response to something we say, other times, she falls back to sleep.

Saturday, early evening: Mimi spoke out suddenly and all she said was, "I love you all! Good-bye."


Monday, January 11, 2010 about 8:30 AM Mimi woke up and just started talking, "You guys want to know what I’m thankful for? [And she struggled to free her hand from the sheet so that she could gesture "one", "two."] It’s been such a wonderful trip [her life; her journey of life] with a wonderful Lord and a wonderful husband."


Earlier Monday AM this dialogue

Mom: What time do we need to leave?

Jeannine: We don’t have to go anywhere.

Mom: I know that!

Jeannine: Mom, you can leave anytime you want. It’s time now–whenever God is ready.

Mom smiled a tiny bit.


Mom: I needed you more than I knew.

Jeannine: I love you so much, Mom.

Mom: I know that.


8:50 AM Monday Jan 11:

I was sitting in the chair just watching her and thinking about her and she opened her eyes and said, "Thank you, Wendy and thank you, everyone." And that’s all she said.


Later in the day on Monday, Jan. 11:

Mom woke up and Jeannine told her we were so sorry she is suffering.

She opened her eyes really wide for the first time in awhile and said, "I am really not suffering." And she said "No" to questions about pain, nausea, thirst. Then Jeannine let her sip a little water with a straw.

Mom said Yes to reading a Psalm. Jeannine softly read many Psalms while she fell back asleep.


Mon. later in the morning,

Papaw said quietly, "She’s sleeping peacefully." And Mimi opened her eyes and saw Jeannine and smiled.

Jeannine said, "Mom, you’re awake and smiling."

Mimi said, "It takes a lot to keep me from smiling. I feel that God has given me so much happiness!"


What an incredible situation: here we all are grieving and weeping that we are going to be separated from Mimi for a few years and there she is lying in the bed, so very weak and unable to do hardly anything and she still manages to comfort us by her so sweet words! Take them to heart, Dear Children.


Papaw (for Mimi)

Papaw is right. Mimi, in spite of everything she's been going through, continues to comfort me when I am grieving. The last time I spoke to her, I couldn't help crying on the phone. She told me that it was okay. She is ready to go. She wants to go. And then she reminded me of how much time we had, how many memories we built. And we will see each other again. she is going now to a place more incredible, more joyful and amazing than I can possibly imagine.

1 Thes. 4:13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mimi's Blueberry Muffins

Mimi has always had a heart for hospitality. She welcomed everyone in with open arms, and delicious food. I'm going to start sharing her recipes...

Blueberry Muffins

Serves 16-18

Temp. 375o

Baking time: 25 minutes

2 inch muffin tins

1 ½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries

2 1/3 cups flour

½ cup sugar

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 Tablespoons butter, room temperature

3/4 cup milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ teaspoon vanilla

1. Wash and drain the blueberries. Toss the berries with 1/3 cup of the flour and set aside.

2. Sift the 2 cups of flour with the sugar, cream of tartar, soda, and salt into a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture looks like coarse meal.

3. In another bowl combine milk, lightly beaten egg, and vanilla. Add all at once to dry ingredients, stirring just enough to moisten. Fold in blueberry flour mixture. Do not overmix.

4. Spoon batter into greased 2 inch muffin cups, filling them 2/3 full.

5. Bake in preheated 375o oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot with butter.

Mimi-- letter from Papaw

Dear Family,
Jeannine and/or I are with Mimi 24 hours a day now. We take turns sitting with her and getting her medicine or water or putting Vitamin E oil on her lips or washing with a warm cloth. And Jeannine is sleeping on 3 cushions on the floor of the bedroom near Mimi's hospital bed and of course I sleep in the regular bed so we're both where we wake up quickly if she stirs much at all.
The hospice nurse told us today that, judging from the changes taking place, she thinks Mimi still has several days left to live on this earth. For our part, we know that she has the same number of days "ordained for [her] . . . before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:16 NIV She will be here until God says it's time to take her home--and in this "cause-and-effect" universe that He created, it looks like it will only be a matter of days. So we're doing everything we can to make her last few days on earth as comfortable as we can with minimal pain. She sleeps most of the time--probably at least 20 or 21 or more hours in each 24-hour day.
When she awakes groggily for a little while she can barely whisper so it's so important that Jeannine is here to hear what she says because I can only understand a few whispers. At one point today she told of a dream but couldn't remember it so we told her that was all right. Another time she spoke almost in her sleep, "He's such a pretty baby!" And we don't know whether she meant her 3 new great-grandsons or her own sons remembering them from childhood???
Yesterday was the last day she was relatively articulate--though very groggy. I'll never forget yesterday morning. I was standing beside her bed when she woke up. When she saw me, she smiled weakly and said in a very soft but clear voice, "I love you!"
She is so weak and feeble you would be dismayed to see her, and I sit quietly and weep sometimes when I'm watching over her--or even thinking about it. But even in her condition we can see the love and appreciation in her very slow movements and mannerisms and in her eyes. Since she is having such difficulty articulating anything, we have to be alert to signs of pain and anything she might need. We can see when her brow is furrowing in pain and Jeannine, at the suggestion of one of the 4 hospice nurses who have attended her, is using a syringe with a small capacity (20 cc) to give her water when she wants it and her pain meds (oxycodone is all she's taking + whatever is included in some of the anti-nausea medicines). And we also bought a foam pad to cover the hospital bed to make it more comfortable.
Jeannine just called me to help her with the medicines and to help prop Mimi on her side with pillows for a change of position. When I came back to the computer, Mimi had a very peaceful look on her face while she is sleeping.
In the midst of your [our] grief and sorrow, keep those two overwhelmingly important truths in the front and center of your mind: when Mimi's body dies (and it nearly has), Mimi will still be alive. Her body is dead but "she", the real Mimi in her mind, spirit, soul is more alive than ever. "Have you not read," Jesus asked, "that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?' God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." Jesus' quotation is from the Old Testament when God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, identifying Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--all of whom had died some 300 or 400 years before Moses. But God says they are still living. And so Mimi will still be alive--and free from pancreatic cancer and all the other infirmities of the flesh.
In what form you ask? The answer is in Hebrews 12:22-24 NIV. "You have come . . . to the city of the living God." And who is there? "thousands of angels in joyful assembly." And "you have come to God" and "to Jesus" and what else? "to the spirits of righteous men made perfect." So Mimi's spirit will be immediately with Jesus. "To depart and be with Christ is far better." Phil.1:23 God and the angels are "spirit" and they don't have any trouble getting along and seeing and doing, etc. Neither will Mimi. The real person inside your body is spirit and we live in the "tent" of our bodies as dwelling places. Eventually, of course, after the resurrection, we will spend eternity in our glorified bodies--"like unto Jesus' glorious body." Phil.3:21
And 2) remember that this very, very painful separation from Mimi is temporary. We shall see her again in heaven--if we know Jesus as Savior and Lord. And I hope all of you do.
We'll let you know what happens next--when it happens. Pray for Jeannine and me. This is the hardest most difficult "tribulation" of our entire lives--and I'm 76 years old. (And she, a scant 52).
Papaw (and & for Mimi) & Jeannine