Tag Archive | God

Better than a Halleujah…the melodies of life part 3

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The trip to Indiana and our return back to North Carolina will be forever seared in my memory.  Actually the choice of the song theme for this post comes from the heartache which was to yet come. Still coming to terms with all that transpired, the amazing love of our Lord, His awesome power is the real message in the melodies of life that became as real as breathing. How little did we know the demand to catch that breath as the day unfolded…

My husband and I forged a plan of how we were going to manage the zany back time travel to NC.  The great “deal” for the airline tickets came at the less than optimal time to fly.. of course all of this depends on your point of view.  My family’s home is 95 miles or so from Indianapolis where we needed to be on board at 5:30 AM.  It did not make sense to go up and stay in a hotel near the airport as we would need to still get up so early in order to check the rental car, and get our selves checked in an hour ahead of time. So we decided to get up at 1:30 AM with the car already packed except for our carry on things and hit the road north to the airport.
Right when my husband had risen because of his alarm , he was in the other room when his phone vibrated with a missed call.  Getting calls at 1:30 AM is not the norm, so my  husband was startled to see that his youngest brother had called to let him know that his mother, Verda had been taken to ICU and that all the family had been alerted. Verda, as you may recall in my other posts is using only 10 percent of her heart and has to go each Monday for treatments at the closest hospital.

We knew the Doc had told her that she did not have much more time but then amazingly a new experimental procedure was available at Charleston, SC at the Medical School.  There was a glimmer of hope for her, and for my father in law, Jim; their marriage spanning 61 years.

So we were on alert not yet quite understanding what was yet to come.

How amazing that our wake up call by the alarm on the phone to leave for a flight would come at the same time of a family emergency. We got in the rental car and drove through the cool night meandering through sleepy towns all the way to Indianapolis. Towns, I had passed through frequently while in college at Purdue University on my way up and back.  Sweet little towns like “Beehunter”, Freedom and Spencer, where one of the remaining covered bridges still holds court. Memories of these towns brought back so many memories of songs that were popular when in college.. the melodies of life. Signs everywhere letting travelers know that in Indiana the Tea Party was alive and well as was the independent spirit for freedom, Constitution and faith, Christian faith…

We made each connecting road perfectly along with the right exit to the rental car drop off and once in the airport with very little time to spare, the US Air counter already full of travelers waiting to make their way.  Having slept little we were in need of some coffee but no time till we could get closer to the gates.  The whole time, I felt a consuming need to apply the blood of Jesus to ourselves, family and for the flight crews and passengers.  Praying and glad to be heading home.

Watching the people in the airport– seeing people who seemed happy, people who seemed sad and seeing the faces of reunion and all the unknowns played out in this melody of life which included the robotic voice talking on the speaker systems telling all to not leave packages unattended, and to realize the rules as per Federal regulation.  Wondering and praying over the people passing by. Surreal this exhausting trip long gone  the little farm towns and landscape changing by the minute once airborne.

Once on board, we were looking forward to being back in Wilmington by 9 AM and at our house and our own beds.  Our little dog Quigley had been in the watch care of our son’s childhood friend; who had kindly house sat for us and watered my new spring flowers and got the mail. We spoke with David earlier letting him know we were back in town and it was okay to leave. He had shared that Quigley was okay but sad, missing us terribly and would lay whining at times for us.   So when we pulled up– he was face at the window with his favorite toy in his mouth dropped for joyous barking at our return.

We decided to quickly unpack as we had washed all our clothes before leaving and then settle into our recliners

and just relax. Quigley jumped up in my lap back and forth from my husband to me and contended after much ear stroking. We had been checking with all the family’s cell phones in SC and could not get an answer. Then upon calling the ICU were connected to Aunt Rita and told to come quickly.  Truly startled and home less than 30 minutes with the understanding that we had a 3 hour drive, we threw things into the suitcases we had just unpacked. Our little dog overwhelmed with seeing us do this– the high anxiety of my husband’s fatigue and fear of not making it in time to see his mother alive… had us in a foggy frenzy.

We were in the car, calling back David our wonderful housesitter who said he could come back that night.  Then on the phone with our daughter, and trying to connect with our son and others who needed to know.  Our prayer in the car, please Oh God, please grant us favor to see Verda alive.. praying for healing, praying and praying.  Suddenly so thankful for those crazy early flight times so that we would get this news while on the ground and able to take control of car travel. Oh Thank you GOD!

My husband’s face etched with the trauma of it all… my feeling sadly guilty that he had worked so hard all week and that my parents needs had taken him so far from his mother.   The time seemed endless and we kept praise and worship music on for the power of it.  My staying awake, vigilant for my husband whose fatigue was so obvious.

We got to the hospital and raced up to ICU only to find a waiting room full of family. Beloved maternal and paternal  aunts, uncles, two brothers and an array of cousins.  The situation spoke for itself and we were greeted by the rock of the family, my  husband’s aunt Rita, a retired missionary from years in Brazil, Guiana, Trinidad but not ever truly retired as she is ever a servant for the Lord. A community sub-stainer of salt, light and strength. She is a very dear sister in law …more a sister to Verda.    She is my husband’s father’s  sister  There stood  his uncle Arnold also the support and encourager to the family.  Another aunt, Verda’s sister who married his father’s brother who has since died–  there are double cousins and strong family ties.

All who love Verda.

It hit us clearly she was possibly dying. Prayers floated up — prayer for the will of God, prayers for a miracle, prayer for Jim whose heart was breaking.  Close family allowed in.. the sons, wives, Jim and with wisdom efforts by the nurses in ICU and others urging to keep so many out of the room.

Verda there trying to hold on.. cold to the touch as her organs were shutting down.  His mom hearing my dear husband say he loved her and hearing her say she loved him too and my being able to pray over her and with her. Telling her that our children wanted her to know how much they loved her. Her on 8 percent of her heartworking able to say, I love them too…
Thankful and utterly overwhelmed that he was able to see her still alive, my husband stroking his mother’s face and hair. His Dad weeping in his wheelchair with oxygen attached, which is his routine now.  Watching this play out in disbelief. The hope in prayers reflecting one of my favorite quotes:

“You can draw near to God even though you cannot say a word. A prayer may be crystallised in a tear. A tear is enough water to float a desire to God.”

– Charles H. Spurgeon

Hope being intermingled with sobs and the spoken out loud acceptance by some that nothing could be done.  Our request that no negative be spoken in the room but the word of God.  This very painful melody of life…  yet the way the Lord had gone before this .  A favorite sister in law of Verda’s who is a widow many years now losing her husband, Verda’s brother  many years ago— already coming from Atlanta, a planned trip to see  her before her health had taken such critical downturn.
Their arrival a sweet reunion and the timing with Verda’s rallying a bit, and her able to recognize and speak to them. The many conversations in the waiting room, the bravery of Jim ( James Olin ) to try not to dip into despair.

The day passing on — the waiting and finally the agreement for us to leave, so she can sleep and the plan to return early in the morning.  The drive to the house and walking in to it — Verda’s roses the Queen Elizabeth’s pink in full glory, more radiant than I had ever recalled seeing. The essence of her everywhere.  Rita, tired, managing emotions too being strong and making sure all had a place to sleep. Tony and I staying with my father in law.  Hoping he can sleep– he is utterly exhausted. The concern that the oldest brother is still traveling from Missouri and a long way to come.  Praying for him to be safe and to get there in time….

The prayers of my husband — quietly upward in fervency as hard as he can..

We are so tired we go to bed going to shower in the morning early. I cannot sleep mid night needing to use my air-card with my laptop so I can use my daily devotionals. I am hungry for this time with God, needing my daily 4th watch time with Him…

My computer “suddenly ” having a screen that is flipped so that you  have to pick it up like a book to read it… Not being able to do anything to fix this and feeling so frustrated. It was a form of spiritual warfare– I needed my Bible time and teaching.  Back to bed.The next morning very sleepy and not getting up as early as normal for me.  My husband already showered and my attempting to do that, but helping to put out breakfast for Jim.  My husband cooking eggs and all of us — joined in this ritual of family around the table , so odd she is not there.  Then the phone rings and we are told to come right now!!!

My father in law in a virtual panic, with air hoses flying heading out the door, my husband getting the van with the wheelchair lift ready. My rushing to pull on clothes wishing so much, I had taken the shower the night before. Not important now but what is… stopping to hand pull some of those roses blooming with a vase from the porch as I go by– just in case Verda is awake enough to enjoy them.

Knowing I had a vision of her while praying holding her little boy Myron who had died in her arms at age two from Leukemia.  Knowing but hoping…

Tony’s ( my husband)  brother and wife along with Rita all rushing to get to the hospital about a half- hour away. Tony going on ahead with his Dad and my following behind his brother. Prayers and prayers while driving and trying so hard to find a Christian station while looking  for one– a song from long ago comes on ” The Mother and Child Reunion by Paul Simon. I am listening to this song remembering the vision of Verda with Myron while praying thinking how remarkable this song would be on now…

Mother and Child Reunion

Words & music by Paul Simon

No I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
But the mother and child reu-nion
Is only a motion away, oh, little darling of mine.
I can’t for the life of me
Remember a sadder day
I know they say let it be
But it just don’t work out that way
And the course of a lifetime runs
Over and over again

No I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
But the mother and child reu-nion
Is only a motion away, oh, little darling of mine.

I just can’t believe it’s so,
and though it seems strange to say
I never been laid so low
In such a mysterious way
And the course of a lifetime runs
Over and over again

But I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
When the mother and child reu-nion
Is only a motion away,
Oh, oh the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away
Oh the mother and child reu-nion
Is only a moment away

The day was glorious — picture perfect with no humidity and the streets of Camden SC dressed in spring finery, birds singing the melody of life…

Arriving at the hospital a full parking lot– then praying for a space, getting one and all us moving fast- my father in law and Tony already inside. Seeing the nurses in ICU looking at the roses in my hand looking kindly at me when I ask if I can use their sink to fill the vase with flowers.. they exchange glances.

Stepping into the room and realizing she has already died and my husband and James did not make it in time by 2 minutes..  my seeing my husband and his brother in tears, my dropping to my knees and holding my father in law’s hand while he is saying he cannot make it without her.  He is so fragile, looking at me saying,” what am I going to do “… my praying with him and saying you will make it only with Jesus then seeing my husband who needed me..

Her passing on April 27th at 8:30 AM to the arms of Jesus walking the streets of Heaven. The mother and child reunion only a motion away.

The love, tears and shock of a waiting room of multi generations.  Our own children who were on their way to tell their grandmother goodbye.. getting the news and realizing they needed to turn back home, with their children , her great grandchildren with Asher never have met her. Our last shot of her with Olivia ( daughter ) holding Eila ( great granddaughter ) and Erica ( daughter in law ) and me with them and Verda. This was taken on Christmas Eve for their 60th Wedding Anniversary in 2008.

The rest a blur — the sadness, the reality, the emotions of the ICU staff who loved her too. The sister breaking down.  The young Pastor who was did not know Verda but had been asked by her brother to come in and pray with the family.

The final goodbyes in her room and James not wanting to see her like that again, but waiting to leave.  Going back to the house, where he says ” Oh my girl , you are everywhere.”  Comfort and pain rolled into the range of emotions…

Food, family, decisions, funeral plans  the ebb and flow. The missing brother who will find out when he calls his wife to check in. He does not have a cell phone and has physical challenges driving and driving.  We later learn that he was driving about 10:30AM the morning she died and suddenly he hears music and is puzzled as he does not have a radio on. Then pulls over shuts off the engine and hears music “singing ” for a few minutes.  This brother saying it had to be angels.. and I like to believe in my spirit that Verda was among them comforting her son … the melodies of life.

My husband and I decide that we will go home to get our clothes and he will come back in the morning and I will stay at home for a day, and follow on the morning of the funeral with our children and grandchildren.

We leave Kershaw, SC to go back to Wilmington. Tired, sad and when almost to the Cape Fear River bridge.. we both see it at the same time– eyes in the sky. I try to take a picture but it is gone. Then we turn on Christian Radio and hear this haunting melody “Better than a Hallelujah ”  and we both are captivated by it  A love touch of grace, mercy and compassion all in a series of events.  As we grow closer to Wilmington we see the burst of great light the prism of a bright colored rainbow just behind the clouds.  He is showing His covenant with us and for us…

Arriving at our house to our waiting children who have dinner ready, our happy dog, loving grandchildren and the news that there were triple rainbows out in the front of our house which were captured by camera. One brighter than another… His love coming down..

Then our daughter writing a beautiful tribute to her grandmother called of  ” Songs and Shells” at her site ” A Work in Progress “http://livadair.wordpress.com/

Upon reading it that next morning and calling my husband to alert him, I was forwarding it and perhaps they would want to consider it as part of the funeral. Later our lovely Olivia reads it after Rita does a wonderful eulogy reminding us of what we already knew. What a special woman Verda was.  While reading, the very personal memories, the sharing touching the other granddaughters and it hits their emotional core and the tears are flowing. Her memories echo theirs too…  A video played  of family during the visitation. Oh how we remembered.

We then gather this family that Verda has left behind, this amazing legacy on earth of her life as a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, great grandmother, role model .  She had 5 boys, now one she is reunited with and the the ones remaining giving her and James 13 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren.
The family eating together afterward at the house  of Rita  where there is food and more food shared by 4 generations.  Our granddaughter Eila grace playing with another little girl Ella who matches her in age and verbal skills both being held at one point by their ” Papa’s ” my husband and his cousin who is a double cousin and whom both look so much alike..

The swapping of stories, recipes,  among the low hum of the best of family conversation in the worst of circumstance while gallons of ice tea and the love offering of the ladies of Buffalo Baptist Church in food graces the tables put up where space allows.
We see her everywhere. This amazing lady — Verda in the faces of those left behind, my husband, my family …. the melody of life.. knowing she is saving a place for us . The fleeting smell  of her roses drifting across the street and across our memories…  the melodies of life.

We will miss you …

Psalm 139

For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
5 You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall[a] on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[b]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.

19 Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God!
Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.
20 For they speak against You wickedly;
Your enemies take Your name in vain.[c]
21 Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting
.

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