Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Beauty Parlor in Room 904

Mom has cancer. The children come with Joe from Washington Island on weekends to visit me at St. Vincent Hospital, Green Bay. Thanksgiving weekend they arrived on Friday, November 27. I invited them to cut my hair. The child life specialist came to assist. Each child had an opportunity to take the scissors and remove portions of my hair. Shammond kept saying "no" but there came a time when he was ready to rise and stand by my bed and hold my hair in his hands and cut. Joe cut a length and I reached and took a piece. When the cutting was accomplished, our hospital staff support person buzzed to the scalp. All participated. Lent hands and heart to a transformation. Instead of sad and loss, I was filled with strength and joy. Our family is stronger than Acute Leukemia. Together we took another step through this disease.

I am jubilant. And, the celebration continued. From my bed I learned that I am still mom. I fed my family with the help of the telephone and my credit card. I ordered the best and most pizza ever and it was delivered to Room 904. I directed the children to move the table, ready the chairs. Wash hands and prepare. The pizza man came in and I knew where I wanted the drinks lined on the window sill and the pizza opened on the table and prayer before we dug in. We ate together a family meal. I got permission to eat the delivered food. We chewed together. I watched our children eat. I ate with them in a grand circle with my bed just part of the circle. We had the t.v. OFF. We talked and laughed and ate and ate. A family stronger than cancer. A family normalized in the hospital and carrying on a tradition of table fellowship and every day. Guess what? While we are eating pizza the nurse comes in a gives me a main line through the PICC of chemo and a muscle shot of chemo and I keep chewing. Before the children left for their hotel, they listened and cleaned the room, clearing the table and hugs all around saying goodnight. Thanks be to God for this remarkable, amazing gift of abundant life and healing, hope and promise.

Earlier in the day before they had arrived, I was beside myself. "Failure as a mom," I was sure and laying in this bed proved it. I called David Hirne, the counselor who comes to Washington Island whom I have visited for three years. He talked me through. Sure there was anxiety of seeing my family for the first time in a week and wondering if today would be a "good" day and I could hold my head up through the chemo. But what David helped me to understand was that beneath my anxiety, was an old wound of guilt that was still plaguing me. It wasn't my kids coming or me laying here that had me gripped, it was the old wound rising its head and saying "in this new develpmental stage deal with me, I'm still here." David said "Did you know that the great sin of Judas was not the betrayal of Jesus but believing that he could never be forgiven." David Hirne, my counselor helped me to explore the pain place.

I claimed and heard the good news that I am forgiven. Years and years I've worked with this pain. Progress has come through this pain, reconciliation and healing but in God's perfect timing in this healing place, Sat. morning with my children coming near noon I got ready for them in ways I had not known would be required and provided for.

When the children arrived I was no failure. They poured life into the door of Room 904 and I greeted them with life, abundant life passed and shared. What a glorious time we had together this weekend. Thanks be to God for this healing time and place.