Meeting with the Doctor.

In the past week and a half I have felt like all the words and emotions have been stuck inside of me. I have realized that I have had a difficult time putting all of the pieces together of the past several months. Because of this I must apologize as time literally has taken on a whole new meaning. I feel much older than I actually am after these past 4 months. Exhaustion has become a steady part of life. Swollen eyes from crying for hours and headaches to follow are all normal. I am uncertain of what my soul will look like after the brunt of this pain has dulled. I know that I am a daughter of the King and He is teaching me how to learn a new dance. He is using every ache in my heart to mold me and to teach me more about His great love. He is making me stronger.


The days in the hospital at Fort Pierce seemed much longer than they actually were. My accounts are pieced together and are somewhat difficult to filter through. The meeting with the Doctor finally happened after waiting for several days. Some of Mom’s nurses and care team were a part of this family meeting. I have to point this out because these people were rock stars. The love and care that they gave to my Mom was phenomenal. I wanted to hug them so tight in gratefulness each time that I saw them. We could not say thank you enough. They were caring for the most amazing woman we had known as Mom, confidant, friend, counselor, doctor, and comforter. They were caring for her in ways that we were unable to.


The air was thick with tension. There was a lump in my throat the size of a golf ball (at least it felt that way) and I had to tell myself to breathe. I did my best to put on a brave face, although, I have often been told that my face looks angry even when I think that I have a smirk on. My face is a horrible liar of what I attempt so hard for it to portray. I really do not know why this is and it can be very frustrating at times.


The Doctor had finalized looking over all of the recent test results, and brain scans. He came into the room and summarized what had happened to Mom’s brain and what was currently going on. To sum it up, Mom’s brain had such a big clot in it that her brain matter had literally been moved over. The stroke was likely due to her Lupus attacking her brain. Any small bump to her head that would move this brain clot further would kill her. She would never regain the use of her left side, as the damage was already too severe. This news was not of any alarm to me. I had enough education about the body to see and understand what was going on. I saw the swelling in her hands and the drooping of her left side, as well as the awkward position she was in, and knew that if there was ever a chance she came back awake, she would never, ever be the same. The Doctor confirmed this when he gave us our choices for what was to come next.


Because he saw how much my Dad loved and cared for my Mom, he knew that she was deeply loved. He said that sometimes scenarios would come up where he has to look at other reasons for procedures other than just for the patient. He saw how much we loved our Mom and that he was willing to do a procedure to remove the blood clot in hopes that the bleeding would stop, and the swelling in her brain would go down enough that her brain matter could heal. The chances of her surviving this procedure were very slim as her other brain cells were very weak and could cause another cataclysmic stroke in a different area of her brain. If she did survive this procedure, the best scenario was that she would be paralyzed. She would most likely not even be able to speak. She would need constant care for the rest of her life. Rehab would be very difficult.


Anyone that knows my Mom knows how much she never let her illness define her. She had been diagnosed with Systemic Lupus for over 20 years and had lived in immeasurable pain everyday. Each year I would say that the pain and issues worsened. Many times she would have to go on special medications just to be able to have the energy and endurance to enjoy family events and important outreaches. So many people never fully realized the sacrifices that she would make to her health and her body just to be given the honor to serve them. She never wanted a handout. She always wanted to do for others.


For those of you who took her for granted and talked bad about her; to those who judged her on the sidelines because you justified your apathy; to all those who abandoned her when she needed a cheerleader, know that she loved you despite it all. Might I also add that I need to say this: I forgive you. It is one of the most painful things to see such a hardworking, loving, tough woman who made the sacrifices that she did, get beat up by backstabbers, gossipers, and slanderers who masked themselves as friends and leaders. I pray that someday you will be known by another name. I pray that you will understand that my Mom only wanted you to know how much Jesus loves you. I desire this for you as well. I need to tell you again: I forgive you. Please do not be held back by any shame or guilt. None of us want that for you. Embrace forgiveness from Jesus and change. Be like Jesus. Be love to the world.


To all of those who prayed for her, bought her coffee, gave her an extra sweater, or turned up the heat in your house because she was cold; to those who baked a meal, gave her candles, and told her “thank you”, know that she never took your simple gestures and kind words for granted. She loved so many of you. It was this love that somehow was still shining even  on the hospital bed. It was this love that motivated her to give her life for Jesus as she did.


For that love, we knew that she would suffer even greater knowing that she could not do anything on her own if she survived the procedure her Doctor offered for her. We were devastated. As I was holding back tears, I realized that I was also holding my breath. My younger brother started to cry, the pain evident on his face. Then my older sister started to hand out Kleenexes. By that time I could no longer keep the tears inside and I had to remind myself to breathe. As reality hit each of us differently, my older brother started to ask questions that I could not even think of at that time. These questions helped lead us to talking out the next steps for our beautiful Mom.


The conversation that followed made the Doctor and nurses cry. They knew what this meant for us. They saw our struggle. They wanted our Mom to get better. Every little thing that they did was in an effort to restore our Mom back to us. So, in those minutes, each one of us was unified. Love was in that room. Love for a woman that each of us had known in our own personal way, whether she was wife, friend, sister, Mom, Mother-in-law, or patient.


Yes, Love met us in the room that night. In the mess of us, love was what made this night beautiful. Love was still alive. It was what helped us make the decisions before us.

The Journey Continues: My prayer the night of July 30th

I am not yet ready to write out the next part of the journey where we talked with the Doctor. What I would like to share is a journal entry that I wrote on July 30th late at night when I was unable to sleep. Journaling is a process. I often write down many different thoughts as well as what God shows me in that moment. This night was a special one as I was able to see just how much God longs for our complete healing and reconciliation with Him in the physical sense of entering Heaven.


Please note that my journal entries are unedited. Anything that you read is pure, raw emotion and an honest portrayal of how my mind often works through everything that I am going through.


Here is my Journal entry to God July 30th in Fort Pierce, Florida Holiday Inn:



“I really don’t have the words enough right now to say what is going on inside of me. Seeing Mom in the hospital bed all hooked up makes my heart hurt. She doesn’t deserve this. She hasn’t deserved such pain that she has endured for so long. I understand that many do not view death as a positive thing but you oh Lord see it as a glorious beginning to eternity with you! It is selfish of us to want to keep her here in a state of pain and hardship, especially when Heaven is our true home. You also long for us… You are selfish of us… You want us to be with you.


I know how much Mom loves you. I know that for many years her longing for Heaven has grown. It naturally should for any follower of you. Now, Lord we ask that you would guide us in these moments. If your will is to heal her here on earth we ask that you would do so. Please have her awaken, brain healed, lupus gone and body fully functioning. Essentially we are asking you to raise her from the dead. If not on this earth at this time Lord then please take her peacefully home into your arms. And may those who are a little distant from you come to an understanding of how much you love Mom! And just because of this separation it does not mean that you do not love us.


Oh, Lord please meet her in her sleep. Walk with her, talk with her. Please come to her aid. Help us to let her go. She has been beaten and broken down for so long. Please rescue her! Please pick her up and take her home… Right now that is what looks best. It is what is least selfish unless you reveal to us that you still have plans for her here. Please guide us… Show us your will.


“Through the process. Through the waiting. You’re making melodies over me.” Oh Lord, you love us so greatly. Each of us is special to you. Thank you for your promises! You long for us… You long for us more than I ever fully realized until today. It’s more than just giving a part of ourselves to you but our entire being. That will never be fully complete until we joyfully run into your arms in Heaven. You long for that day we enter Heaven, our home that you prepared for us! It’s crystal clear to me now… Wow, such love! Such love!!! Why on earth would we keep your children here so long? We do everything we can to make them stay on this earth. Yes we will miss them but honestly, who would ever keep a child from going home who truly loved that person? Heaven is our home.”



As you can see, there are thoughts here that are in pieces. Currently, I am thankful that God longs for us as He does. I am glad that my Mom no longer suffers but the separation seems so far. I have been angry that she had to be in the hospital like she did. I do not understand why she had to go through that part. But I also realize that sometimes the process is needed for multiple reasons. These reasons I will probably never fully know until I enter Heaven. By that time, the only thing that will matter is meeting the several nurses and doctors that may have come to Jesus because of that time.


As the holidays are starting to loom before us, and life goes on, the ache for my Mom only deepens. It has not yet been 3 months since she entered Heaven and somehow I expect myself to not feel such a deep ache for her. There are some days I do not know how to make it through the next hour. But God is always there to give me the strength that I need in those moments.


If you are currently going through your own loss please know that there is hope. God understands your grief. He is more gracious to you than you probably are to yourself. Go ahead and cry. Give yourself permission to grieve. Cling to God as He carries you through this journey. Never give up. He will show you the beauty in this mess.

Journey Part 3: Waiting and a Moment to Treasure Forever.

The remaining days were filled with many unanswered questions. Long hospital visits make one day feel like it is a week long. We would take turns staying with Mom. When we were not with her, we were down in the cold waiting area. The first couple of days went by without talking with the Doctor. He was in emergency brain surgery attempting to save a life of a man who had been shot in the head several blocks down the road. The wait to hear from the Doctor literally was one of the most torturous things for me. I wanted answers. Every single one of us did.


Each time we would all go see Mom, someone would be looking for positive signs of recovery for her. I would feel this sense of denial mixed with hope. Deep within myself, I prayed that God would heal her here on earth. But to be perfectly honest, deep down, I knew before even flying out to Florida that I would never see my Mom alive on this earth again. It was on the flight to Florida that I finally realized that the last hug I gave her in the airport to see them off to Dominica, would be my last hug from her. It was the reason why I was adamant that I made the trip to see my parents off, even though I had been up the previous night and into the early morning with the worst flu I had since the swine flu.


I remember one particular day where my Dad needed to go purchase clothes as well as other items. My husband, Uncle Nate and myself stayed at the hospital while everyone else went to help Dad. I wanted to spend as much time with my Mom as I possibly could. She could not speak. She was not even awake. When she moved it was random. Each moment that I had with her felt like a precious gift even though the conversation was one sided. But on this particular day, I remember seeing the nurses care for her in ways I had not seen before. They would check the monitors, take blood, turn her over to a different side, and move her tubes down her throat. This was all hard to see as she would cough and gasp for breath. Every beep of the monitor would make my heart race. Because of this I learned how to take long, deep breaths.  Sometimes the room would spin but I was determined to stay as long as I could with my Mom. God was holding me, for I had already collapsed into his loving arms.


Something about this day with her felt different to me. I felt God’s peace in the room more heavily. I began to read more of her favorite passages of scripture. I would read anywhere from 10-20 minutes at a time out loud hoping that she could hear every word. She loved reading her Bible. She loved her precious Savior. After reading to her for some time, the nurses rotated her again. After they left I felt prompted to start talking to her just like the times we would have together over a cup of coffee. Gently placing my hand into her right hand, I felt a squeeze after I told her how much I loved her. The timing was perfect. Some people would say that this was just a coincidence but I know that it was not, and I will forever treasure that moment.


For that one moment felt as if my Mom was hugging my heart.


For that one moment, God was showing me the beauty within the mess of us. He knew exactly what I needed to help get me through what was to come.

Part 2: A Journey into the unknown, heartache and hope

When we made it to Fort Pierce, Florida there were a mingling of feelings. We were all very relieved to be together with our Dad. It was a bittersweet moment as we embraced him, thankful to be with him, yet so filled with sorrow knowing why we were being reunited a month earlier than planned. We were all doing our best to put on brave faces as we held back tears.


The time stretched on for far too long even though only minutes passed before we were headed to the hospital. Even though I knew that God was holding Mom, dread literally filled my heart as I imagined what the next few hours were going to be like, let alone the next few days. I believed that God could heal her but I also knew that sometimes it is best to let others go home to our eternal home, Heaven. As much as God had been preparing me personally for such a time, I felt as though the floor was starting to crumble beneath my feet.


When we made it to the hospital we had to show our ID’s and get our pictures taken for security reasons due to the domestic violence issues in the city. Only two people were allowed to go up to Mom’s room at a time. Since none of us were there right at the beginning of Mom’s admittance to the hospital, they made an exception for all of us to go up together for our first time. We silently followed Dad through the halls that seemed like it would go on forever. Tension filled the waiting area as we were the only family present. I had to remind myself to breathe as the world started to spin.


Two at a time, we took turns going into Mom’s room. When it was my turn with my husband, Jeremy, I knew walking in that my Mom was in a state that she never wanted any of us to see. She had the normal life support tubes and a drainage tube on top of her head to help drain the fluid buildup in her brain. The left side of her face was still limp. Monitors were everywhere and the nurses were never too far to care for her.


At this point there was no more being brave. Tears that had been held back for several hours were now dripping down my face. I searched for her hand in hopes to grab it and feel some sense that she knew that we were there. A part of me was scared to touch her due to my fear that I would hurt her worse. Her chest moved with each breath and every now and then, a small movement from her leg or arm would make me hope that she would be able to move normal again.


I am not sure how long we were with her but it seemed like an instant and forever all at once. Jeremy and I talked to her as if she could hear every single word. I remember telling her that it was so good to see her and that she looked beautiful even on the hospital bed. She never opened her eyes. Her lips never moved. And all this time, deep down inside me, I knew that night that there would be a time soon that I would need to tell her that it was fine for her to go home to Heaven; that it was okay for her to go meet her baby and all those gone before her; and finally run into the arms of Jesus.


But we still had so much to do. There was a huge part of me that hoped for a little more time with my Mom. I hoped beyond hope to be able to see some beauty beyond the damage to her brain. I hoped for no more sorrow. I hoped to see the light in my Dad’s eyes come back again. I prayed that this would not destroy us, for it felt like we were in a whirlwind and there was no knowing when it would end.


Before falling asleep that night I asked God, “Please show us the beauty in this. Please help us. We need you.”

Journey Part 1: Florida and miracles.

Mom had a stroke. Our lives were forever changed upon hearing such news. Through this journey, our God has been so faithful. Please follow me as I do my best to grieve, to remember those closest to me, and write the pieces of the broken journey that I have been on with my family.


Here is part 1 of the journey:


When our Dad informed all of us that we needed to get to Florida as soon as we could, I knew deep within me that I had to prepare to let go of my Mom. It was a miracle in itself that all of us were able to get flight tickets in a matter of hours without any finances to make the large purchase of tickets. God provided everything down to the very last cent. It was this action of love from so many that displayed to us as a family just how much God loved us. We also understood that He knew that our Mom loved each of us so much to have us be together for something like this. We dearly loved her as well!


One thing to note was the fact that God had arranged for Mom to make it to the states where all of us were able to fly to. Initially, she was only going to make it to a different Caribbean Island. This was heartbreaking for us at first because many of us did not have passports ready. Then somehow they figured out that they were going to take her to one place, and then to another, each time, she was getting closer to us. Finally, our Dad found out that they would be able to fly by learjet to Florida. This in itself was a miracle. The next miracle was the fact that Mom survived such a venture. I know that God was carrying Dad during this process. Even though it was not in the circumstances that Dad wanted, God still fulfilled a lifelong dream of flying by learjet on a last journey with Mom.


Then it was our turn to fly. The flights we took to get to Florida were torturous as thoughts of our Dad alone with our Mom in the hospital raged through our minds. We could do nothing within our own power to prepare ourselves for what we were to see, hear, and experience. All that mattered in these precious moments was the reality that we needed to get to our amazing, strong Dad and our wonderful Mom. The rest would be left up to God as He carried us through each step, conversation, and tear filled prayer.


God worked out every detail from transportation, to getting a special deal on our hotel, and even helping us find coffee. Those of you who know me, know how much I love coffee. I had no idea that Uncle Nate also drank it as much as I did, if not more. Dunkin’ Donuts saved us! I am giggling thinking about this, so just imagine giggles in the background.


To say that God did not care for us would be a complete lie of all that took place for our family during that time. He provided for every need even though our hearts were broken. Mom would want you to know that God was good through it all. Within the mess of us, there was so much beauty.


Journey Part 2: coming soon

The Beginning: Seeing the Beauty in the Mess of Us

It was an ordinary Sunday afternoon. The sun was out, the birds were singing, and laughter filled our rooms. Then a short Facebook message changed our lives forever. It was my Dad. He told us that our Mom had a stroke in a 3rd world country with very little care to tend to her needs. My Dad fought for her there. And he was able to get her to a hospital in Florida.

It is this journey that started the end of July 2014 that I want to share with you in hopes that it may provide hope for you along your own journey. Life does not allow time for grieving. Every day can be a struggle. But there is hope.

Please follow me and come along this journey of seeing the beauty in the mess of us.