Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Hardest Day or the Gift of Deep Submission (Part I) {day 11}

It was a gift. A gift of deep submission. "Not my will but yours be done."

Now, gift & submission do not normally go together in my book. Yet, today as I went on a thirty-minute walk and reflected on our family's journey last year, specifically my father-in-law being in the hospital for 128 days when we thought he would be in & out in two days, now I saw the call to deep submission as a gift.

Not everyone is given time to submit. Sometimes the trial is thrust upon you whether you submit to it or not. Ready or not, here it comes.

The gift of submission was given to us on The Hardest Day. Well, that makes sense, doesn't it? Because submission is never easy. We had been in the trial -- on the crucible -- for quite some time.

It was late enough into the Trial of Hospital Visits that the car could've driven to the hospital by itself. I was comfortable with my way around the hospital. So much so that one day two different people asked me if I worked there.  They didn't believe me when I said no. So obviously, I looked comfortable around those parts.

When I walked into my father-in-law's room that day, there was evidence of blood in his lungs and in his urine.My mother-in-law always had the doctor's talk to one of 'us kids.' Today it was my turn.. The doctor was concerned that,  in addition to the complications of his surgery, he might also have lung cancer.

"This is a game changer." It was also Friday. The earliest we would know the results of the biopsy would be Monday. 

My mother-in-law had just sat down in the lobby. I was opening my mouth to tell her what the doctor had told me about the potential lung cancer when Clarence's nurse walked up. He told us that Clarence had repeatedly requested to not be resuscitated today. The nurse told us that he had reassured Clarence that that is exactly what he would do, but to us he said, "Clarence has a full code on his chart. Legally, I am bound to resuscitate him."

He encouraged us to have a family discussion.

My mother-in-law and I looked at one another. I told her about the potential of lung cancer. The two of us went into his room to ask the dreaded question. The bright sunshine filling the room contrasted with the heaviness we felt in our hearts.

She paced awhile. He looked like he was asleep. She spoke, "You awake?" He communicated that he was.

She paced some more. "Kathleen, I don't know how to do this."

"Tell him what the nurse told us. Ask him if it's true."

She sat down. She took his hand and finally asked him if he'd asked not to be resuscitated. He vigorously shook his head, "Yes." She collapsed her head on his chest and wailed, "Oh Clarence, how can I?"

Tears streamed down my face. I don't remember much more of what we did after she asked the question. I do know that eventually we got up, left the room, and made a game plan. She wanted to call her only daughter, Kay, and asked me to call her five sons, including my husband.

This was My Hardest Day. It would be my husband's Hardest Night. And it would eventually lead us all to the deep gift of submission and the best gift of all in the mighty sea of medical unknowns.

 "Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning. "
Psalm 30:5
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This is part of the 31 Day series: 
The Clarence Chronicles: Lessons of Faith from the ICU
Click HERE to read Day 1, which links to all the posts in this series.

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Thanks for being part of the conversation...I love hearing from you. Kathleen

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