Thursday, March 3, 2016

upside down

I had started a few blog posts in the last few weeks but have never finished one. I had one started about coming home to Kenya, and one about two weeks back at work but again not finished. You see, I wanted to spend some time getting it right, to share a post about how excited I was about being back in Kenya. Settling back into life and work with the people I love. However, before I could finish these posts my life turned upside down. My mom has battled a disease called scleroderma for eight years and about a week after I arrived in Kenya I heard from her and the rest of my siblings that she was not doing well. Scleroderma is an ugly disease and she has done not well before but how could I sit down and write a blogpost about how excited I was to be back when 13 570km away my mom was quite ill? How could I write when I was worried about her and time was spent talking on the phone as well as the busyness of being back at work? So I did not finish a post.
Then, I heard news that further turned my life upside down. On Feb 18, I learned my mom was transported to Calgary and was in the ICU. I was happy when my family gave the phone to the ICU doctor so I could hear what was going on in language I could understand. I thought I heard him wrong when he said cardiac arrest (I didn't). Then I began to hear more - liver failure, dialysis/prisma, unable to ventilate - only when we bag, inotropes, this doctor was painting a picture that I knew too well. I have been in that ICU as caregiver many times. The doctor said we will not do CPR again and I agreed completely. My family put the phone to my mom's ear and I said some words that barring a miracle would be my last to her.
Less than 30 minutes later I got another call. She was gone. So I was 13 570km away in my living room crying. Now what?- I called a missionary lady who lived next door and she came over. She notified the rest of the community and we did the next thing - looked at flight. It was 10 at night and driving to Nairobi was not an option until the nest morning so the earliest flight would be 24 hours away.
I was thankful to be surrounded by my Tenwek family with their hugs, tears, stories and bunnies (yes one of the missionaries brought over a baby bunny for me to cuddle). I sent people away with food from my fridge as I was told to go back to Canada for one month. Some of the ladies tidied my house and I gave them stacks of things that needed to be taken care of before I left. The next began the trip home, 24 hours after I got The News I was on a flight back to Canada, 48 hours after The News I was hugging my dad at the Calgary Airport.  However, there was some joy among all of this. The day after we lost my Mom, my brother and sister-in-law had a baby girl. A new niece.
Those of you who have lost a family member before knows what was next, tears, hugs, stories and doing the things needed to plan a funeral. My dad has been surrounded by wonderful friends, family and neighbours. The fridge and freezer were filled with soup, buns and casseroles that quickly disappeared when my mom's family from Ontario arrived.
So here I am a week later after the funeral, the house is currently quiet although visitors and food keep coming, Dad and I put a big dent in the paperwork and life continues. Part of me feels guilty about continuing life I know.  I must continue to take the next step and by God's grace I can.
In two weeks, I will return to Tenwek, Tenwek is home now and I love the life that I have there and I know that is where God wants me to be. I am glad my parents were able to visit me at Tenwek, twice, and have seen that part of my life and my Mom and Dad could see that Tenwek is my home.
I ask for your continued prayers. The acute grief of losing my mom is passing however the chronic grief of living life without my mom has just begun.  A few days before she died my mom shared some scripture with me and I will share it here with you.

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:21-26

For those of you interested my Mom's obituary is here and the funeral can be viewed here, just look for memorial service for Marie.

My mom and me this past summer

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