Sunday started out as Sundays usually do. I had my devotions, shot myself in the leg, ate breakfast, exercised, did laundry, changed the bed. Something was wrong with the phone at DD’s house so we didn’t talk—again. If I didn’t know better, I’d think she was avoiding me. I practiced some more on my activities planned for the first week after I’m retired. I did little to nothing else. Then the bomb dropped.
When I checked my email that night, I had a message from one of my North Carolina sisters. The subject was, actually, “Bombshell”. That was the understatement of the year. As I read through it, I became more and more alarmed. My nephew, the oldest of the male nephews in the family, had been diagnosed with liver cancer and had told my sister (his mother) about it in February. He had asked her not to tell anyone else and she honored his wish. Now, though, his condition had worsened and he gave her permission to tell the family.
One of my nieces in the Denver area is a nurse and her sister (who is also a nurse) flew in from Seattle to care for him. They did all they could, providing him with what food he could eat and his medication.
The news I got over the next couple of days wasn’t good. He was having more and more problems and, after he was put in the hospital in ICU, my other North Carolina sister drove his mother to Chattanooga where she met her other son. They flew to Denver to be by his bedside. I asked one of my praying friends at work to ask the Lord to preserve him, if it were His will, until she could get there to see him. She passed the request on to her church family. I contacted the prayer chain coordinator at my own church and she put out the word. It was also posted in the prayer request sections of Our Prayer (a Guideposts site) and the Upper Room.
Due to my younger nephew’s being stuck in traffic, they missed their flight. It was to be a three leg flight with a two hour layover in Dallas. The clerk at the airport got them on a different flight that went from Chattanooga to Charlotte with a stop so brief they had to practically run to catch the next plane to Denver. It was a series of events that got them there earlier than they would have been otherwise.
My sister’s daughter-in-law and the rest of their family had set out via car to drive from Chattanooga to Denver. They all arrived at about the same time. God is good.
At the hospital, they found their son and brother hooked up to all sorts of machines with tubes everywhere. The pain medication was making it hard for him to respond. Being a God-fearing man, his mother read scripture to him and the family and extended family sang to him. The next day brought an end to his suffering about 2:30 p.m.
That night, I talked to my sister who was still in Chattanooga and then to my sister in Denver. I was asked to let my children know so I made a couple more phone calls and wrote DD an email. It was all so sudden that it still seems quite surreal.
This evening, I asked my sister if it would be okay if I posted a couple of pictures. She said it would be fine. The first is of a little boy enjoying a day at the beach. He was almost always smiling and happy.
I remember once when he got a little black bag for a gift. He was going around “examining” everyone. He listened to his mother’s heart and declared, “Patient, you are almote dead but I will not let you be dead! I am Dr. Pills!”
This one is much later. He was one of my mother’s most beloved grandsons. He was very fit with a strict exercise program. It’s hard to believe he’s gone.
The memorial service will be tomorrow. I’ll be praying for the whole family. He will be sorely missed. He was very attentive to his mother, calling her frequently. No matter how serious the conversation, she said they would end up laughing over something.
My sister will be staying on for, probably, another week to tie up loose ends. Then she and her remaining son will drive the car back. It will be loaded with treasures from the home that will be no more. My nephew never married. I guess he never found Ms. Right. He almost did. He had a girlfriend for a long, long time. She and my sister still keep in touch and she is grieved over his death.
While all this was going on, I was cleaning out and organizing plus trying to train my replacement. It’s hard to train someone when she doesn’t even know the basics when it comes to documents, spreadsheets and folders. I ended up teaching Computer Literacy 101 so the training is proceeding at a much slower pace than it should. I had her doing the work I normally do myself. When something came up that the administrator needed to be aware of, I said, “Send an email and say this and this and this.” Someone said I was still there and I could do my own work but if she doesn’t know it by the time I leave, she’s going to be in deep water. When I’m gone, I’m gone. She’d better learn what she can while she can.
We had to go to her first department head meeting organizing the transportation for a motivational seminar required for all employees. After all was said and done, I piped up, “May I say something?” The administrator looked a little apprehensive but gave me the floor. I said, “Whatever y’all decide is okay with me.” Everyone laughed and the meeting was over. I guess that will be my next to the last one. The official one will be the middle of my Swan Song Week.
This morning, I didn’t have to hurry to make it to the organ bench for song service. Today was my Day Off. The other organist played, I wasn’t at the piano and I was part of the congregation for a change. It was nice.
When I drove into the driveway, I saw my neighbor was home. She’d told me she would be here today. I changed my shoes and went over for a visit. Her husband will be back from California Wednesday evening. In the meantime, he’s having fun visiting relatives.
The hummingbird feeders have been taken down, cleaned and dried. They’ll be hung in the closet in DD’s room, waiting for the spring.
It’s been a wearing week and I expect the next one to be more so. A lawyer told me once, “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.” That’s what I’m doing.
Life goes on, no matter what happens. As Scarlett said, “After all, tomorrow is another day.”