Today I am thinking of my brother, Rob. He is 56 years old! Unfortunately, Rob has a chronic disease and has spent the last 3 years hospitalized and finally living in a nursing home. This may be Rob’s last birthday; I really don’t know.
I visit Rob when I can and try to get to the home at lunchtime so I can feed him. Then I’ll sit with him and listen to some of his favorite music. Often he will hold my hand. I write to him every week and send flowers occasionally. The nursing home staff do a good job caring for him and hospice comes by to provide extra services, especially chaplain visits. The nursing home now has capability for Skyping and I hope to do that with him soon.
Rob can no longer have a conversation. I don’t know for sure if he recognizes me. The staff says he eats more when I’m there. That close bond of sharing life together, at least in our case, is deep and strong.
Rob reminds me how precious each day of life is. Yes, I can make plans for the future, but today is all I have and today may be the best day I have. There is no “getting better” for Rob. Rob reminds me to accept and focus on today…to be content with the life I’ve lived and am living.
Rob reminds me of how important having family close by is when you’re ill: how important those visits and connections are; how lifegiving the closeness of family can be. How, even if there’s no chance of “getting better,” being in each other’s presence together is healing.
In Joshua 1:9, God seeks to assure Joshua that God will not forsake him. Joshua is succeeding Moses as the leader of the Israelites after Moses’ Death. Joshua will take the people into the land God promised to them. God says to Joshua: “I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’”
In our very presence with each other. In the silence of feeding a loved one, in the holding of hands, listening to music, we assure each other that God is with us, no matter what.
Thank you for your support of St. Agnes’ House, providing a safe, comfortable place so people can be with their loved ones, hold their hands, feed them, sit in silence and let them know to “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Enjoy our view from the porch! Fall is in the air and the mums are blooming!