Through this season of struggle and sadness, we have been beyond blessed. We have been surrounded by love and support, and I have learned that the power of community and people is potent and life changing.
As we continue to walk in the valley, it has gotten harder in terms of task and exhaustion. It is hard to be with someone who is dying. I wouldn't trade it for anything, but I feel like I have learned to function with a constant level of heart ache and anticipation for what is going to happen when my mom goes to heaven. It is a hard place to function in. It is hard to take care of your momma when you want nothing more than for her to be able to come over to help you learn how to be a momma to your new baby. It is hard for my sister to live with my dying momma. To be the changer of the puke buckets in the wee hours of the morn. To want nothing more than for your mom to have peace, but for you to know the empty place that will take residence in your heart when she is truly gone. It is just hard. And while my mom's body shuts down, she really doesn't want to spend much time with people other than immediate family, mainly my sister and I. This isn't how she wants to be remembered, and she is so tired that it is hard to maintain conversation. While people always have good intentions, sometimes she just wants to sleep and it is uncomfortable for others to sit in silence or curl up in bed next to her. So she has started to say no when people want to visit, and it is her decision to make. But for my sister and I, this has been so hard because this means less help. And honestly, we need help.
When my mom was in the hospital there were a group of us that would often spend the night with her. My cousin Debbie was one of them. She was actually who was with my mom when she was originally transferred down to University of Chicago. She stayed with my mom in that new scary setting. She slept upright in the small chair and stayed overnight when we weren't supposed to in the ICU. Debbie is the one person who was able to weasel into my mom's inner circle. She has been able to help my mom bathe and cry. She has been able to come and support my sister and I in a way that no one else has. Words cannot express my gratitude to her. Words cannot express the amount of relief I feel when she walks through the door. Whether it was the hospital door down at University of Chicago, when I was about to go off the deep end or now at the town house. My world gets better when she walks through the door.
I don't know how she did it. I don't know why my mom is so comfortable with her. I don't know how we would walk this without her. We have been so supported and loved by so many people, but Debbie just gets it. She gets that helping us clean allows us time to just sit with my mom. She gets that the bed bath that she gives is one less that we have to give. She gets that we didn't have the energy to unpack and decorate the town home, so she did it. She just does things. She doesn't ask and she never asks for anything in return. She has been selfless to her core and I am eternally grateful. I don't have a way to repay her, I can not reimburse her time or her energy. But I do have my words, and I want her to hear that she matters and that she made this road better. She gave us the ability to escape for a little bit and to breathe. She stepped up. She has been Jesus to me, and to my mom.
So today I am thankful for the many angels among us, but especially Debbie. I am thankful for her heart and her soul. I am thankful for her humor and her laugh. I am thankful for gentle hands that made our house a home and that hugged my mom through some of the roughest nights. I am so thankful for her. I hope she never feels like she has to come and lose her weekends with us, but I will gladly take any time she is willing to spare. I hope my mom's pouty face when she has to go back home is translated into love, because it is. My mom loves you, and so do I. I've never seen her pout when anyone has left in her life. Ever.
I hope one day I can be a Debbie to someone. I hope I can be someone's angel. I hope I can walk in and just "do". I hope I can convey a level of comfort and love without even trying when the situation surrounding me is one of discomfort and strife. I hope I can serve people in a genuine way. I hope I can grow up to be like Debbie.
Love you Deb. So, so much.