Monday, January 9, 2017

Part I - Who's Knocking at My Door?

Well, it's Monday and I promised it. A blog post that will show you that Mondays (and any day of the week) are anything but Mundane...Let's start at the very beginning...

 I'm about to share stories from the darkest time of my life; so you too can see...there was always a light shining in the dark...and you too can know....there always IS a light shining in the dark...always...

Come, travel back with me...and see...

One particular Thursday,there was a loud, unexpected, knocking on my door. I gathered my newborn in my arms and opened the door.

Bright rays of sunshine flooded the foyer. Debbie stood there, car running in the driveway. Debbie was new to our neighborhood, but we became fast friends.
Like me, she was a stay-at-home mom. Like me, she had just given birth to a third daughter. Like me, she'd left a rewarding career to raise her family. In her case, she worked in the medical field, counseling teens who refused life-saving treatments like dialysis, insulin and such.

"Good morning," she said. "How's your brother?"

My beloved younger brother, Jim, the only family member I had living in town, was suffering from total and sudden kidney failure. His diagnosis came on the heels of our birth announcement. When we called Jim from the maternity ward to share the good news, he said he wasn't feeling well. A trip to the emergency room delivered Jim's frightful diagnosis.

The news left me reeling.

Worse yet, Jim couldn't tolerate dialysis and, after a few attempts, refused the treatments.

I looked at Debbie. "He's doing okay," I said. "I saw him yesterday. I'm going back tomorrow."

"Don't wait," Debbie said. "You need to check on him today. I'll keep your kids while you go."

No way. With three little ones of her own, she didn't need more kids to watch.  Besides, my good friend, who had watched my kids all week, was unavailable today but planned to watch them tomorrow.

I wanted to stay home today. I longed for time with my newborn. Ever since her birth, I'd been pulled by Jim's diagnosis. I spent the day with Jim yesterday and I'd return tomorrow; but today was reserved for my children. 

Debbie didn't buy into the wait until tomorrow idea. She insisted I needed to go today. 

Finally, we agreed that I'd phone Jim. If he was fine, she'd leave.

After several attempts,  however,there was no answer.

"See what I mean?" she said. 

I cringed. Within moments, I sent my toddler home with her and kept the newborn with me, promising to call if I needed her to pickup my oldest from school.

As I slipped into the driver's seat, I panicked, wondering what I'd find at the other end of this trip.

Jim and I had many discussions about the dialysis but he remained steadfast in his refusal to continue. The treatments were difficult to endure. He didn't want to live his life 'tied to a machine.' If he were married and had kids maybe it would be different. He would hope and pray for a miraculous healing. 

At last, I understood his stance. I'd never agree, but I did love him.

Before I drove to his apartment, I wondered.  What would I do if Jim was unconscious when I arrived?

I dared to ask.

I'll never forget Debbie's response.

"You have to do what you can live with for the rest of your life." she said. "Sometimes you can save a life. Sometimes it's too late. If you have a choice, just know you have to live with your decision for the rest of your life."

Immediately I knew what I'd do, but still I prayed.  "Please God, don't put that decision on me."

Along the way, I tried to assure myself that Jim would be alright. His diagnosis was serious, but surely he'd be okay.  Although my mom died years earlier, death seemed so remote, even impossible. At age 33, Jim was too young, right?. I couldn't imagine. 

As I drove into his apartment complex, I clenched the steering wheel. I was scared...scared like never before.

But God had already delivered one installment of His loving care...He sent Debbie.

Thank God I didn't wait another day to go see him.

t was good that I went. 

(Tune in next Monday for the rest of the story.)

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