Monday, April 11, 2016

A Room is Waiting—Carolyn R. Wilker

We’re past Easter now, but not into lasting spring weather, at least not here in the northern hemisphere. Winter has a tenacious hold on us. It rains, it snows, gets colder and then snows again, just like yesterday when I wrote this post.

I’m waiting for spring. I even bought a pot of daffodils to remind me of it, since ours in the garden have so far only sent up leaves and two daffodils before the weather changed again. More snow blew in and covered the garden. It’s a good thing the early flowers are used to this. Perhaps they’re more patient than we are. 

More flowers have come into bloom since I brought them home. Daffodils are a sure sign of spring—a season we are hopeful will come to stay very soon. We humans are not so good at waiting.

I bought the daffodils, not for me, really, but with someone else in mind. Our loved one who’s in a bed in hospice, no longer able to will his body, or trust his legs, to get out of bed of his own accord. The daffodils are intended as a spot of springtime brightness for his room, something he can see from his bed. I also bought a big bag of peanuts, an item on the wish list at the hospice.

plenty of windows to let the sun in and for looking out

There’s a door to outside from each patient room, and plenty of windows so patients can look out, even if they cannot physically go there. Today, when I go to visit my father, I will take the pot of daffodils and the peanuts. I’ll put some peanuts outside to entice birds and squirrels—whichever gets them sooner—to come closer, so he can watch their antics and their coming and going. The bag of peanuts is large enough that other patients can have the same opportunity, even if it’s the family or volunteers who spread the treats.

  a big bag

 A fellow storyteller shared this quote from Ram Dass this week—"We’re all just walking each other home." For the patient, last days, weeks, or even months. For family members involved, last conversations with our loved ones. We know in our head the time will come  for our patient—and for each one of us—but in our heart, we are never ready to say goodbye. The separation is the hardest, for both patient and family.

And yet, we have the peace of knowing where our loved one will go at the end of this earthly life, and it’s a whole lot better than here, if we believe what we read in God’s Word to be true. No need for snow shovels there, or winter coats and mittens. No worries about flowers freezing when another icy blast comes in April. It will be better than we can imagine.

As the philosopher wrote in Ecclesiastes, there’s a time for everything. “A time to be born, a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot… a time to weep and a time to laugh.” (chapter 3, v.1, 2, 4) While we put in these days—whatever time is given to us— let us also be prepared and know there is a room prepared for us, and that we’ll be welcomed when we arrive.


David Kitz said...

Our poor daffodil shoots got buried in snow two weeks ago and I haven't seen them since. We awoke to a fresh dump of snow this morning, but this too shall pass. Our momentary suffering will help us appreciate spring and heaven all the more.

Peter Black said...

Pensive and poignant. Thank you, Carolyn, for opening up your dad's hospice home and your heart, as you and your family share these days, weeks or months of walking your loved one home to where spring is not delayed and the "flowers never fade." ~~+~~

Carolyn R. Wilker said...

More snow? Poor daffodils. I hope the flowers coming after those will have the opportunity for sun and blooming.
Thank you, David.

Carolyn R. Wilker said...

Thank you for your kind words,as always, Peter. We've met many dedicated volunteers and staff in this place. We walk together.

Glynis said...

So lovely. I love the Ram Dass quote -"We’re all just walking each other home."Makes me smile, count blessings and to hug anyone within arms distance (good job I am not in the mall). Your father is blessed to have you as such a caring daughter, Carolyn. Lovely.

Carolyn R. Wilker said...

Thank you, Glynis. Though it's hard to know where to start writing about our situation, it evolved. Love my Dad. :)

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