I have been writing of the events that occurred within our family four years ago. Again, we will not review, but will just jump back in. If you are just now joining us, you can find part one and part two by clicking on the underlined links.
And with that being said, we continue Sarah's Story.
Sarah and I moved our meager hospital belongings back to the house. I really should stop here and say how incredibly sweet most of the hospital staff had been to Sarah and myself. They so thoughtfully brought me coffee each morning from the nurse's lounge. But, in spite of the kindness of the act itself, the coffee was wretched, and after a couple mornings someone brought me a little drip-pot from home. Hallelujah! So we went home, coffee pot and all. I should start a ministry providing comfort and good coffee to nurses!
Sarah called the shots during those days at home, awaiting surgery. She ate what she wanted, talked only when she felt the need, and decided what folks she wanted to interact with. The number was few. I don't think she agreed to see anyone in person, outside of family. But she spoke on the phone to a couple of her closest friends. She received many, many texts and emails. She answered but a few.
Even when it came to following instructions sent from the hospital, I encouraged her to just do what she wanted. I figure that when someone has only a matter of weeks to live (regardless of their choices), that the person in question has earned the right to choose what they want to do every moment that they have left here on earth. And so she did.
Gifts and flowers arrived hourly and filled our home. She cherished every single thing that came. Never think that those gestures go unappreciated, even when you know that there are many dozens of others. Each gift and card was a cheer from someone and Sarah relished in each one.
But mostly we cried and talked. Sarah and I especially, but the whole family. We were a family of six adults, in addition to two married daughters who had families of their own, and there was much love. Sometimes Sarah would go down to her room to cry, and I knew that she wanted to be alone with God. Those times killed me-- I so wanted to run to her and hold her. But there was plenty of time for that, as well. And there were deep and wretchedly painful talks about life and death and the Lord and memories. And yet, those talks were amazingly sweet and comforting. God's presence was so real.
And we talked about heaven. How wonderful and amazing it would be! About how parting is so very painful but how incredible it will be to be reunited, rejoicing around the throne of God. She and I wept together at the thought of seeing our Saviour's face. And you know, for me, to touch Him. For Sarah, too.
We spoke of the richness and depth of our love for each other, and how many never experience what we have for even a single day of their lives here on earth. Yet God had allowed us that for more than thirty years. We were rich beyond measure and overwhelmed with His goodness and sweetness.
And we talked about miracles.
And now, the prayer. Amazing and powerful prayer. Not just us, but many. People who knew how to get ahold of God praying and fasting, many of them strangers. Praying for comfort and peace and God's will, and even, if the Lord should allow, for a miracle.
There were prayer chains and tag-team praying happening all over the world, twenty-four hours a day. I knew that at any given moment, someone somewhere was calling out to God on our behalf. There is amazing comfort in knowing that, when the moment seems unbearable, someone is calling out your name before the very throne of God. People who love and believe God. People who believe with all of their heart that He can!
I wonder how many hours I slept throughout those painful nights? Very few. We had a large l-shaped sectional in the living room. Sarah slept on one end, and I on the other. And when she slept, I willed myself to stay awake, sitting very close to her, holding her hand and trying my very best to memorize every little feature of her. Trying with all that was in me to capture her into my heart to be replayed on another dreaded day.
Surgery day arrived. We came early and sat all day at the hospital, waiting. Delay after delay. So very trying. Sarah and I were assigned the same room that we had moved out of, days before. Strangely, there was some comfort in that.
Sarah was finally wheeled into surgery at eight o'clock in the evening. It was August the 27th. I didn't leave her side until the cold air of the operating room hit us in the face. Again, the hospital staff was so very tolerant of us, and so accommodating. Sarah whispered to me that she was worried, because she didn't feel at all sleepy and was frightened at the thought that she might not fall asleep. Funny, I remember thinking that, too.
And then, she was gone.
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