Life is slowly getting back to normal in the Sherrod Pool household. Gayland has been home from the hospital for three weeks, and reports he’s feeling stronger every day. His physicians have said he can drive now, which makes him very happy.
I’m slowly getting my fear under control, although every time he sneezes or coughs, I ask, “Are you OK?” I suspect I’m driving him nuts, although he says not. He’s a kind person.
I wonder daily how my mother did it. She cared for my father through nearly 20 years of heart trouble, cancer, surgeries. He was in and out of the hospital all the time.
My dad was a very frail but incredibly tough old coot. We all went home every Christmas for decades because “It could be Alan’s last Christmas.” But he pulled though one crisis after another and went back home to drink the alcohol he was forbidden, eat the foods he wasn’t supposed to eat, tell the bad jokes he loved, and generally enjoy the heck out of life. He was almost 90 when he died.
Through crisis after crisis, Mother never seemed to let her fears take over. She was always calm – at least to us – and seemed to take every development in stride. Being a registered nurse is a large part of that, I know. The other huge piece of it is her deep faith in God.
My mother has a very personal relationship with God, shaped by her Roman Catholic faith. She and God talk a lot, as do she and the Blessed Mother. My parents said the rosary every night of their 63-year marriage. She still says the rosary every night, and says that my dad joins her in it nightly.
I am sure he does.
Faith got me through the last month and half. When one is waiting at 4 a.m. for word of the result of emergency surgery on one’s beloved, the only presence that can offer any comfort at all is that of God.
Prayers got me through the last month and a half. The power of the prayers of all those folk who prayed for us were palpable. What else could account for the calm that would suddenly surround me when I was close to losing it? Or the peace that would enfold me like a warm hug in some of the darkest times? What else would account for the sudden release of anxiety that let me fall into sleep after too many wakeful hours?
Now, as I pray for others I do so with renewed humility and with renewed confidence in the efficacy of this relatively easy, immensely powerful act.
And I believe I would say the same if our outcome had been different. If things had gone badly, I would have needed the prayers more than ever, and I have faith that they would have helped see me through the worse. They certainly did so for my mother when my father died.
Because God is good, all the time.