We never know when the call is going to come that says a close family member is near death. Even when we’ve considered this as “not unexpected,” we are still humbled, or should be, at the passage of a soul from life through death and, we pray, we believe, to life again. Yesterday my post was all about small troubles with dog and fog, compounded, I thought, by the later-that-evening twist of the poor dog’s knee, rendering him looking even more bedraggled with his head encased in a life preserver, shaved, scarred, and now hobbling. We feel weak, soft-hearted and disheartened all at once. At these times, it often seems to get darker before it gets light.
This morning we had such a call; my mother-in-law may be nearing the very end of her long and fruitful life. From our limited view, her last 6 years have been spent in the fog that dementia brings. But the truth is, we don’t know what her experience has been. Our prayers have been that even in this difficult time, she’s been somehow at rest from pain and in a place where old hurts can be forgotten or redeemed.
I found myself praying en route to the early train tonight, “Smooth the waters, part the sea.” Is it a mighty sea, or just a brook between life and death that we pass through, or “pass over” to the better land given us by faith? The veil is thin but sometimes the journey feels long, and we are burdened. This is a night to watch for the morning and reach out across an ocean miles away but so close in heart, trusting the One who made her, shall keep her.