For a while have I been trying to blog about the day I sat with my beautiful friend who was terminally ill with cancer.
I just could not find the words, so wrote this poem. It’s about the day we spent together waiting for two callers.
First was the vet coming to put my friend’s dog to sleep. A faithful old dog that was entering the end of her life. Cancer was eating her up at an alarming rate and she was suffering.
We made the decision that I could not look after two old ladies with cancer so Lucy was put to sleep with love and dignity. She died in our arms with the people she loved.
Hours later the ambulance came to take my friend to a hospice. A wonderful place full of compassionate staff. My friend slowly died over the next 6 weeks.
There are no words to express how we both felt that day only silence between two friends.
The space between two words
Silence whirls and settles on the sofa.
Exhausted words filling every space.
Heartbroken words too afraid to form.
Locked up words that want to stamp and rage.
Unspoken painful truthful words.
Will it ever be the right time?
To say what’s on my mind.
Silence is the only word that remains.
Love and silence fills every space.
Salt-laced words that drip and run.
Words that can only be shed.
Splashing overflowing emotions that puddle and soothe.
Trying to tell each other that we both understand.
Wanting to shout out “Why?”.
Wanting to say, “Please don’t die.”
Memories marching though our minds:
Evenings on the sofa, tea and chatter
Like nothing mattered.
Mutual thinking, simultaneous laughter.
Parallel thoughts unite our pain.
Overflowing , overpowering unwanted grief.
Mourning, journeying, our eyes meet.
Eyes that tell our stories.
Eyes that do not lie.
Sandpaper exhausted eyes from late nights, early mornings.
Nursing my dying friend.
Her eyes old and fading.
Tired and cloudy near the end.
Observing eyes leaking painful tears.
Avoiding each other as it hurts to see
Just how much pain is inside you and me.
Today the sun is directly overhead shinning so brightly it’s almost unbearable.
When the sun is not shining, I know it’s still there. Just as I know God loves me even when I might not be feeling it.
Gods love was not on my mind a year ago. I was so trapped, not knowing which way to turn. Those that should have been helping me where not: I was left in an impossible situation.
Twelve months today I was reading “ From fear to love by Bryan Post” a love based approach to helping parent children that have been adopted or in care.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” 1 John 4:18
I wanted to find out more; just reading the bible passage as part of Bryan’s book that night did not seem enough.
I wanted to read it from the bible. Their was a strong need to want to try understand what was being said and why.
Reading a Bible verse more than once was something that I would not normally do. I read 1 John 4:18 over and over again that evening. Stopping to spend time researching the verse on the internet. Desperately trying to understand why love and fear cannot co exist.
Learning that some of us can be so afraid of love we push it away. I understood that if you feel Gods love you cannot be afraid . God will look after you.
Within hours I suddenly found myself home alone and very scared.
Someone else’s fear had shattered my life and those that I love where also destroyed.
God is so amazing giving me that one verse to hold onto. Curled up on the sofa: crying, rocking and shaking I was not angry only scared. I understood why it had happened.
Through my tears and uncontrollable shacking somehow I understood God was with me.
Day Thirty Nine – Give – Lent Challenge.
Three years ago today I said goodbye to my foster son. The little boy that I had loved and cared for the last two and half years was moving to his forever adoptive family. I loved him enough to say goodbye. My love for him allowed me to let him go, allowed him to start a new life in his adoptive family .
Three years ago today I prayed for the strength to say goodbye to my son. I prayed for the first time in my life I cried out to God. Through the tears and pain I felt the presence of God. My strength that morning came from God and allowed me to let go of my little boy’s hand.
Good Friday 2014
Four days had passed since I drove of the drive at home with my little boy.
Spending time settling him in to his new home was challenging and emotional and came back home the day before Good Friday totally exhausted.
Good Friday 2014 was the first day without my little boy, the first morning in over 2.5 years I was not greeted by his smiling face.
Sitting at home full of grief was not the way I wanted to spend Easter, so at the suggestion of my mum we attended the church car wash in the local Homebase car park .
So full of grief I did not want to make eye contact with anyone, so full of grief I could not care if my car was clean or dirty. I remember just wanting the world to swallow me up.
I stoped all conversation with those that tried to make it, smiled politely and just wanted to leave .
A family friend that had lost a son was washing cars and spoke to us. She understood our pain and smiled and gave a hug, it never made it better, it never took away the pain. It gave me some sort of hope that we would be able to survive this.
Today -14/04/2017- Good Friday
Today is Good Friday – the day Jesus was crucified on the cross for us. He carried our pain and suffered our punishment willingly. Jesus doesn’t avoid suffering he does not avoid death, The woman that stayed with him at the foot of the cross did not avoid grief and pain. He could have stopped it, but he didn’t because he loved us so much.
Our sins were nailed to that cross forever. This is only possible because of Jesus and because of love.
Today is a day for reflection, some quiet time and prayer time.
Time to try and take in the scale of Good Friday and what it means, look back over my own life and these past three years.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Day Thirty Two – Friendship – Lent challenge
Walked to work with lots to think about and pray about, I started in tears and ended in smiles and tears.
As I walked the hymn All things bright and beautiful came into my head and I used it as my prayer .
I just said it out loud slowly as I walked , each word reflecting on Gods amazing creation all around me. Newly formed leaves uncurling, the darkness of winter was being pushed out with the new life, new beginnings, the blossom the bird song everything was sort of saying, how can you possibly be so sad and full of tears this morning when surrounded by God and all his beauty?
I remembered we sang All things bright and beautiful at the funeral of a very special friend , a true friend and a beautiful lady that had a wonderful and a natural earthy connection to our world.
Her green fingers and warm heart left a huge hole in my life when she died.
It was a friendship of over 30 years she never talked about her faith to me, until I found mine ( I never told her ) , it was like she knew when I found God . She could see the little change in me that others could not .
I visited her regularly, dropping in shopping and just doing little things , we would sit together and just hold hands , it was being together and time together that counted .
She was brave and strong and had been a nurse all her life, she was no stranger to death and had nursed her husband and sister though cancer.
When she discovered she had massive lump under her arm , she knew it was cancer, she did not go straight to the doctors, she did not want to fight a fight she could not win, she excepted her time was up and she had a wonderful life and it was time to go .
When it was obvious that medical help was needed she went to her GP and requested no treatment only palliative care and that’s what she got .
As the end grew nearer her faith and her love for God was something I had never seen in her before , death seemed to make it more reachable for her, together we could share a prayer or just pray silently together my faith was still so new to me but offered me great comfort knowing we both felt the love of God.
My friend was many things to me , she was bright and beautiful , definitely wise and wonderful , she always brighten up my sky’s , she was never afraid to use her lips to tell.
We both wore the same glowing colours and the Lord God made us .
Psalm 118:24 – The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.
Day Thirty – Retreat – Lent challenge .
Mister God this is Anna brought me to tears , it’s a moving beautiful true story about a runaway little girl and the young man who brought her home like a stray puppy in the 1930s. It’s about faith love and friendship and Mister God, and all the things Anna taught Fynn before she died, and one or two things she taught him after.
I want to share my favourite bit of the book with you it just reminds me that I need to rest and give my brain time to untangle the muddle and recharge .
Mum had this lovely gift of asking questions that landed somewhere .
what , she asked us one Sunday afternoon ” What was God’s greatest creative act?”
Anna was watching her intently in chin cupped in hands . There they sat , looking at each other , Mum with her wonderful smile and Anna with her intense look.
Suddenly it happened . Anna slowly placed her hands on the table and pushed herself upright . She gasped ” it was the seventh day of course ”
I don’t get it, I said . ” God worked all his miracles in six days and than shut down for a bit of a rest . What’s so exciting about that ?
“Why did Mister God rest on the seventh day ? “She began.
“I supposed was a bit flaked out after six days hard work” , I answered .
” He didn’t Rest because he was tired though.”
“Oh – didn’t he ?it makes me tired just to think about it all ”
” course he didn’t . He wasn’t tired .”
” No – he made Rest.”
” Oh .He did that did he?”
” yes that’s the biggest miracle. Rest is . What do you think it was like before Mister God started the first day ?”
“A perishing muddle I guess”. I replied .
” yes, and you can’t rest when everything is in a big muddle , can you?”
My place to retreat / rest is my garden it’s a quiet outdoor space where I found God and feel his presence , it’s a place to reflect, appreciate the silence the beauty and the spiritual feeling my garden brings to me and to others .
Thank you Mister God for rest .
Mark 6:31 Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.
Day 28 – refresh – lent challenge
Running in the rain.
Black clouds fill the sky
Cold air brushes by.
You can feel it’s going to rain
It’s going to pour
I love the rain
Darkened clouds and large rain drops
Smelling the inviting air
Stepping out into the rain
Liberating refreshing running in the rain,
Natures strength is in the rain
Pelting against my face
Puddles splashing as I run
Mouth open catching rain drops one by one .
Smiling running though the rain
Running takes away the pain
Running crying in the rain.
My tears are hidden as they roll
Tear drop puddles mixed with rain
Running is my therapy
Place to anger and to be me
Rain dilutes and waters down
Calms me and helps me understand
Colours change from dark to light
Multi colour smile shines so bright
promise of sunshine after rain
Peace after pain
Running praying in the rain.
By it’s a beautiful world .