It is one of those moments when I want to reach over, touch someone near me, and feel grounded. Instead, my fingers tap across the keyboard. I reach out through the ether and wonder if anyone is reaching back.
In truth, I know they are. Friends around the world are lifting my family...and especially me...up in prayer, sending emails regularly, making the phone calls to hear my heart via my voice. People are reaching out. People are pulling us in.
Still, tonight, I feel lonely.
Tonight I feel heavy with the prognosis of three months for my mom. My mind is speckled with thoughts seemingly absurd and pointless that I try to stuff into the you-can't-be-serious box, but in truth, I am mentally taking out emotional treasures, turning them around in my mind, trying to figure out how to keep them intact as much as possible while not letting them shatter me.
I have spent untold time today trying to remember the recipe for Mom's dressing. I think I know. At the grocery store I buy the supplies to make it...three or four times...make sure I can get this right...before she isn't here to tell me how to fix it if I get it wrong.
I go through my monthly bills, think about Christmas shopping, figure out in my head if I will have enough for what I want to buy the children or if I need to tighten the belt a bit more each month. Then I think of other family members, do a quick count, figure out a general budget for everyone else...
According to the doctor three months might be a hopeful guess. Three months...Christmas.
I swallow the lump in my throat.
Christmas shopping for Mom has become an event for me. I would go out by myself, have some pumpkin spice coffee, and head to a specific clothing store. For the last few years I've bought Mom clothing at a fun store next to the bookstore where I buy the children's school curricula. I wonder how long I can avoid that store, driving into the parking lot, and looking at the clothing store I have always enjoyed visitingin search of just the right thing for Mom.
In my mind I can see the store through the windshield of my car. I can't move. I only stare...with no reason to go in.
Will she even be here Christmas? What if she is, but evidence appears that God is not going to work a miracle? Which is harder: having no one to buy for or not knowing what to buy for someone whose life will not offer her time to use it? Then I shake my head like an Etch-a-Sketch. "Harder" doesn't matter. Whatever comes will be hard enough.
In a moment of emotional numb, I punch in a text to a friend. "My mom is going to die." I stare at the words...and erase them. He knows already. I know. Telling him again won't help. Seeing his reply, "I know, babe. I'm so sorry," again won't help.
I toss the phone to the empty side of the bed, pull my pillow against me, and lie quiet.
God, I feel so lonely.
I hear Him speak through the words of a verse that has repeatedly come before me throughout the last two weeks.
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.--Zephaniah 3:17A smile comes to my face as I remember a phone call from earlier in the day.
The doctor's office called to clarify some information concerning Mom. Laura, the woman who spoke with me, had lost her dad to the same cancer Mom has. Laura's heart was so tender, and her words, so gentle. The five-minute call turned to thirty as we discussed my hometown (where she owns a historic home), the chocolatier on The Square who makes fabulous truffles, and the pain of feeling powerless. Then she said, "You'll be here Monday with your mom, right?" Yes. "I have to go up to the house this Friday. I'll pick us up some truffles, and Monday you come early. We'll sit, eat truffles, drink some coffee, and talk."
The Lord your God is with you...with truffles, coffee, and compassion...
He will quiet you with His love...as I lie on my bed, my mind filled with treasures that make me ache...that bring me such joy...
I sigh deep. The ache still throbs in me...in Him. The loneliness of pending loss is still real...but so is He...Earlier today He reached out His heart...in the form of a phone call and some truffles...and found me...Now, in the quiet, I reach out my heart...and find Him...