Surrounded by her family and friends, my wonderful mother, Diane Donaldson Watson (pictured with her boys ca. 2003), went home to be with the Lord this evening at 6:26pm. Two days ago, there was no way we could have forseen what has transpired. Sometime early Tuesday morning, my mother suffered a second stroke while in the hospital. When my brother arrived this morning around 6:30, it appeared that she was sleeping soundly. But when her doctor arrived an hour later and was not able to rouse her from her sleep to examine her, we knew the end was near. We stayed by her side all day and were with her when she passed. It was a sacred moment that, while profoundly sad, is one I will always cherish. Her final words to me when I left Monday night around midnight were, “I love you.” I couldn’t have asked for more. She was one of the most generous, giving and caring people I’ve ever known and my brother and I will miss her more than words can express. Yet there is so much that was wonderful about her and how she touched others around her that I believe her life is worth remembering joyfully even as we mourn. In Romans 12, the apostle Paul commands us to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. I invite you to enter into either or both as the Lord leads.
Archive for July, 2006
I normally use this site to share my reflections on life experiences rather than just communicating information, but today this seems like the easiest medium to share with my readers.
Early this morning, my mom suffered a stroke that has affected the entire left side of her body. She is in the hospital and we are waiting to see what will need to happen next. She may recover some use on her left side, but there is no guarantee. The hard part about all of this is that it raises questions about extended care and advanced directives – things most folks in their 30’s don’t usually have to think about. It has been really good to do this with my brother. I am really grateful for him. And our neighbors and my girlfriend have been amazing. The Lord is kind to take care of us even in the midst of hardship. It is really hard to see mom deteriorate so quickly – we didn’t expect this. Yet I trust that the Lord is with us, even in the valley of the shadow.
Emotionally, the last few days have been a lot like the proverbial amusement park ride. I’ve been visiting my mother during her second round of chemotherapy. Monday was a day of encouraging news which put mom in one of the best moods she has been in during the whole process. Tuesday was just the opposite. She woke up with no feeling in her left hand and hasn’t been able to use it since. We have had another scan done and are waiting for the doctors to decide if this is a temporary thing or not. Either way, it has been difficult for mom to adjust to the idea of possibly being one-handed – and rightfully so. I know it is scary for her to face losing some of her independence; it makes her illness seem that much more real.
The hard part for me is not being sure what to do. Sometimes encouraging her works, other times no words I can offer seem to help. I know that just by being with her during this is helpful, but I wish I could do more. I also want to be able to draw near to God during this time, but there is a large part of me that just wants the situation to be “fixed”. I do see the Lord at work, but it sure isn’t enjoyable. My main prayer has just been for grace for today (both for mom and myself and all those who are involved with her). 2 Corinthians 12:9 has been a staple passage for me. I appreciate all who are praying.
5 July 2006
Yesterday I was trying to explain the documentary “Trekkies” to some friends at a 4th of July picnic. I think the picture posted by jkirlin on his blog says quite a bit about the folks in the film. I hope you enjoy it.
Speaking of jkirlin, if you enjoy good photography at all, check out his blog. He has a great eye and really captures every day life in and around his home of Bangor, Maine well. Your visit will be worth your time.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been asked a number of times how I am doing/feeling. Each time I’ve had trouble searching for a word that describes it. I think that “juxtaposed” (or more accurately the phrase “juxtaposition of emotions”) is a helpful one. OK, quick vocabulary lesson: juxtaposed means two (or more) images/ideas placed together for contrasting effect. The accompanying picture is a contrast in architectural styles. The juxtaposition of the modern glass and steel structure with the surrounding stone and mortar castle-work illustrates the idea fairly well. Both construction methods sitting next to each other provide a sharp contrast.
Recently, my internal life has seemed a series of juxtapositions. My feelings of sadness and fear concerning my mother and her health are juxtaposed with feelings of joy and gratefulness that she is feeling normal and is able to live life like she always has. Feelings of grief and loss are juxtaposed with feelings of excitement and joy over new relationships (my second nephew and wonderful girlfriend). The seemingly monumental (mom’s health, new relationships, uncertainty about my future vocational options) is juxtaposed with the seemingly mundane (going to the store, painting my kitchen, worrying about my electric bill). To be honest, I don’t always know how to feel or which emotion I am feeling the most. I suppose I’m probably feeling many of them at the same time.
The one thing brings continuity to this collection of juxtapositions is God’s presence with me in the midst of all of them. Over the last year, passages about God being with us have become some of my favorites (Isaiah 43:1-7 and Psalm 23 especially). Even though I don’t experience it as much as I would like, I’m learning that God’s presence is more important than any set of circumstances we can experience. Whether it is joy or sorrow, fear or confidence, health or sickness, God promises to be with us. My prayer for myself, my mother and all who are journeying with us is that we would experience an increasing sense of Jesus’ presence in our lives. I invite you to pray the same.