It Matters

It’s a steady, pouring down of wet blessings day. The rain falls on the bay window roof and blesses my ears.

It’s a good day to finally remember, to reflect and cull some of the lessons woven into those long hard days of death-tending.

Sometimes, Death comes quickly—in a snatch–inevitable, but timing unexpected. With that, there is not so much the process of assisting the departure, but the business of head-clearing, heart-healing, cleaning up and figuring out the next moves forward.

Sometimes, Death breathes its heavy scent from far off, and dances off in the distance, circling slowly, moving closer with each pass.

I do not know the heart-wrenching lessons of losing a child or a beloved spouse that does not complete the prayerfully hoped for, statistically probable span of days. I do not have the fibers of steely strength woven into my spirit from surviving loss that is a result of a sin whip wielded by another in this fallen world. Others I know and love have those painfully won lessons.

I do, however, now hold the lessons of a daughter, who, together with her family, has had to shepherd an aged loved one through their worldly departure.

Death at an old age–91 in this case– is not a surprise. In fact, as minds and bodies give way, forcing major life changes and loss, it may come as a welcome relief. I believe God designed us for such an exit. Those thoughts are for another rainy day.

Today, I stand on the other side of grief and tending-exhaustion to exhort whoever listens.

You matter. In all my tunnel-visioned life challenges, you matter. And what you do and say matters.

* When you know you can’t fix the situation for me, but you offer a hug, or a smile, or a mutual tear—hurting when I hurt—it matters, and helps me feel still connected to my true life, even though I’ve abandoned it for days, or months, or even years to minister to my loved one.

*It matters, even though I probably won’t take you up on it, that you offer to sit with my loved one so I can work or take a break. When you sincerely offer to sacrifice your time, and I know I could call on you if needed, you offer a sense of relief.

*It matters when you prepare or buy a meal for me and my family. Even if our schedule or finances or time or family structure are available for us to manage putting together a meal, the fact that we don’t have to think about it and make yet another decision about what to buy or cook is a welcome  burden-lifter. Our mental energy is depleted with all the decisions of advocacy, comfort measures and family coordination. You have given us a gift when you offer a meal.

*It matters when you come and spend time with me. Take my lead and ask what I need. It’s okay if we divert the conversation to other things. My brain is tired of living in the dying. Watching an old TV show, playing a game, taking a walk, shopping—it gives my brain an opportunity to renew so I may continue the ministry I have to my family.

*It matters when you visit me and my loved one at their bedside—whether you knew them or not. It’s often awkward– who knows what to say in these situations? No one does. We don’t even know. So, relax and come. A loving face makes us feel less alone. And I remember that you came.

*Your cards matter, before and long after. If you are too busy to write one in the midst of dying, or the days immediately following my loss, write one in a week, or a month, or a year. (or all of that!) The continued encouragement you send is needed both during and long after the end.

*When you sacrifice your time and efforts and skills to serve at or attend the funeral, even if it is held outside of our church community, you have wrapped me in God’s love and reminded me of the home I have with Him and His people. You are Christ’s hands and feet to me, my family and the world.

You matter. What you do matters.

And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.  Matthew 10:42

If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. John 13:15

Lord, when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee? And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”  Matthew 25:40-41

Let us not grow weary of well-doing…let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.  Galatians 6:9,10

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About An Earthen Vessel--Terri Apgar

Wife of one, mother of three, so grateful for God's grace--that's me. I'm just tucked into my bay window, opening my heart to God and trying to be brave about letting Him use all that He has crafted inside me to His glory.
This entry was posted in The Walk, Trials and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to It Matters

  1. SANDY says:

    Terri, you are such a gifted writer. Loved this.

  2. Pam says:

    Terri, I’m so sorry for your loss, and I didn’t even know until I read this article. You are so good to share your encouragement to others in your time of sadness. I’ll lift you up in prayer for continued peace and comfort. I’ll give you a call soon. I love you my friend. Pam

  3. parklinscomb says:

    Touching and well written. Thank you

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