At last a moment when I have time and my brain cells are still up for putting a few words on a page. I have so much to write about; such a sense of The Holy concerning the events of the past three months.
Mum's 85th birthday was on December 15th, and even though it was an insane time of year to think of adding a transatlantic trip to the chaos of Christmas, I had planned to be in England to celebrate that special milestone with her. But Brenda and Kevin set their wedding date as December 17th. I might be crazy but not crazy enough to think I could be in both places at once, so instead I planned a trip to England as soon as possible in the New Year and Paul surprised me by deciding on the spur of the moment to come with me on January 13th for two weeks.
Those who read here the chronicle of those two weeks, will know of the many special moments that we brought back as treasured memories from that trip.
On February 6th I wrote a post entitled: Afterglow, where Mum said that our time together had been "the best time; better than all the other ones."
I think it was because of Paul's presence, and the prayer I prayed on January 23, while still there, and recorded in my journal. Here is what I wrote:
We have five precious days left of our 13 day stay with Mum and Rob in Alvechurch and I want to make them a blessing to them both.
Last night as I lay in bed, reflecting on our time here so far, I was convicted by God. I have divided my focus; sitting beside Mum and Rob but reading, or on-line, or even distracted by a TV program. Not that there is anything wrong with these things as a pastime, but my main focus is all too often the thing I have become momentarily absorbed in and find myself not cherishing first that human contact that is the real reason I am here. Words on a page, or a computer screen--images on television--these are things I can enjoy anytime.
Dear Lord, I ask forgiveness for putting focus on things that are of so little worth--even shifting my affection slightly from those I came to show love and support to.
And other people too, seeing them less precious individually than Jesus did. Dear Lord, I thank you so much for the promptings of the Holy Spirit, gently correcting, forming him in me. I am thankful for five precious days to do better--to live less selfishly.
The next day; January 24; I wrote:
Yesterday I did my best to pay attention to the people around me first and foremost, and only allow myself the distraction of reading or writing in the quiet moments here or there that would take nothing away from those I love....
How glad I am that I listened to that still small voice of the Holy Spirit.
About ten days after I wrote the first post I mentioned, on February 16, I wrote a post entitled Forgotten Gifts where I described knocking over a CD tower and stumbling upon a forgotten CD made by my cousin Deb, from a tape Mum had made in 1978. On it she was talking to her mother, my Omie, in Dutch, laughing, and chatting about this and that--a cup of coffee, the socks Omie was knitting, a visit from Deb and her son Olivier, going shopping etc. etc. It was so wonderful to hear her 53 year old voice, strong and beautiful, the words flowing fluently, skillfully coaxing Omie to speak and laugh, so that tante Adrie in Holland, Deb's mum, would be able to enjoy hearing their voices.
After listening to it, and pinning Susan down to listen to it too after cell group, I put the CD upstairs near my suitcase, ready to take with me on my next trip to England, so that Mum could hear her own mother's voice again.
Mum was not to hear it after all, but I still took it with me so that Rob could. It meant so much to Rob to listen to it. He said that he wants to recapture in his mind, Mum at a younger age. The CD is helping him do that, and I left it with him.
As usual I spoke with Mum and Rob on Saturday, February 18, but then, Monday the 20, was Family Day in Canada, so I called again--a surprise extra call. When I asked how she was, Mum answered, "Oh, I am very well, thank you."
The next day Mum's carers called Rob to say that she didn't want to get out of bed, and she stayed there until Saturday the 25, when Rob made the decision to call an ambulance because she wasn't able to drink.
God gave me the gift of talking to Mum on the last day that she was well enough to be up beside the phone.
So many sweet gifts, God gave to me.