Thursday, June 30, 2011


I used to think mourning came only with the death of someone.  Someone dies, you go to a funeral, you cry and grieve because you miss that person.  But in this season of my life I have realized that mourning comes with different circumstances.  As I sat reading the Word of God, searching for words of comfort & strength, I realized that I am in a stage of mourning.

We have been home two weeks from the hospital.  It's wonderful to be in our own bed, looking out at  Waimea Valley and absorbing the quietness of our neighborhood.  I feel safe and calm as the morning sun warms me.  The only sound I hear is the oxygenator machine pumping a steady flow of oxygen to Brooke's ventilator.  It disturbs my peacefulness with the swoosh, swoosh, swoosh sound it makes.  And I realize I grieve and miss the complete quietness that I used to sit in each morning.  I mourn for that quietness.  Silly isn't it?  To grieve for blessed quietness, a quietness where I could close my eyes and it would clear my mind and calm my heart?! But I do and it's OK!  I am grateful for the oxygenator but I still miss the peacefulness.

I mourn for the independence that I had before all this happened with Brooke.  Before the trach and the ventilator, I could go for a walk and leave Brooke for a few hours alone.  I used to say then that we didn't have spontaneity in our lives but I mourn even for those days where we could at least go out for a few hours together as a couple.

I mourn for the days where the words ventilator, tracheostomy, oxygen saturation, suctioning, etc. were not in our vocabulary.  I mourn for 8 hours of sleep!  I mourn for a future I had all planned out!  How absurd is that!

I mourn for the days where ministry filled our hours.  Being an active part of our church instead of being at home every day and every hour.  I mourn and mourn and mourn.

So here's what I've learned about mourning...mourning can be exhausting. It zaps your strength and could occupy every thought you have if we allow it.  But it is necessary too.  When you mourn you allow those normal feelings to be felt so you can then deal with them and move on.  BUT you don't want to dwell in the land of mourning.  If we do dwell there then the depression sets in and we will begin to isolate ourselves which will then spiral us down deeper into the depression.  An ugly cycle.

So what should I do?  Ok for those who know me you'll be saying at this point, "this is where she goes to that book again-the Bible".  You're right, I went there for you see I learned a long time ago that God's Word is the only thing that will sustain, strengthen and comfort me.  So I decided to see what others in the Bible did when they mourned, and God took me to Naomi in the Book of Ruth. I'm glad God took me to Naomi cause I really like her as she is so transparent!  Naomi mourned for what she had lost.  She lost her husband, her sons and her way of life. She doesn't hide her feelings, she shares them but she also makes a crucial decision.  She decides to go back to her homeland, which means she was also returning to her God!  She chose to return to where she could once again seek her God and worship Him.  Naomi taught me it's not about me but about God.  My life is to be centered around worshipping and magnifying God.  I learned I need to turn toward God not away from Him.  My mourning could discourage me so much that I could choose to cling to it rather than cling to the Great Comforter.

Naomi taught me through her concern for Ruth that my focus is to be on loving God and loving others.  I need to change my focus.  As I reach out to others my own mourning will be healed.  But how can I do that God if I can't leave home?  I don't know, but I do know that when God thinks I'm ready He will show me.

I don't want to waste my sorrow for God has allowed this in my life for a reason.  I don't know the reason and even if I did I don't think my small mind would be able to comprehend it all.  But I don't want to miss what God has for me through all of this.  After all, I have more days behind me than in front of me and I don't want to waste even one.

I know there will be moments I will slip back into the mourning - probably by noon today!  But I do hope that what God has taught me this morning will help me to ride that wave of grief triumphantly!

So for now I will cling to, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted" Matthew 5:4.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fear Not

After 24 or is it 25 days at Queen's Hospital, we are finally in our own home - the three of us - Tex, Me and Brooke!  Yes Brooke is home!! And the words from Isaiah 41:10 ring out loud and clear "Do not Fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand".  The day we have been anticipating is finally here !

What a day it's been.  We tried to make this transition as smooth as possible for Brooke.  The less stress the better but the world had other plans.  We left Queen's with much stuff and paperwork and to find out we had to stop at the pharmacy to pick up medicine for that night!  What happened to giving you all the medicine as you left (am I dating myself).  Or how about this thought - can you call the prescriptions to the pharmacy so we won't have to wait? Can't do that the "doctor" has left the hospital - there are no other doctors to do this - yikes - in a hospital?  Our whole concern was we live far away and only had a 2 hour oxygen tank for Brooke.  What's a person to do? Stress level rising - not good for anyone especially Brooke.  Calm down remember who is in charge.  Fear Not.

The pharmacy tried their best but after 40 minutes we finally were headed home to meet the Respiratory Company to set up her room.  This was suppose to be done the day before BUT they couldn't make it out and so today with Brooke in hand we arrive home to another hectic situation. The mantra from medical staff to respiratory company is "Do not panic, remain calm"! I am wondering if they thought all this "doing" was going to calm Brooke?  Brooke eats a great salad for lunch while Tex and the respiratory technician set up the room.  There are boxes and boxes of things all over the bed, machines, tubes etc.  Brooke got really tired and we had to clear off the bed to let her rest.  Then the  "fun" began....her saturation rate went down to 67 and she "asked" to be bagged (put oxygen through her while squeezing a bag).  Not her favorite but she couldn't get air no matter what we tried.  I could see her stress level rising!   The room was extremely hot even with the air conditioner on and as the respiratory tech was helping us out Brooke asked to be put on the ventilator!!! That's when I knew that she was really in distress.

I don't want to bore you with all the rest that happened but I will say this - if you want someone who is ill to come home to a stress free environment then you have got to take the bull by the horns and speak up.  Fear Not!!!

We are all alone as I type this at 7:06.  Can't seem to get enough oxygen to her through the oxygen machine they left.  Her saturation rate keeps falling and we have had to put her on the ventilator again!
Fear Not do not be Dismayed - I take dismayed as don't get discouraged.  Please pray that all this will pass smoothly.  She was doing so well at the hospital and we don't want to take steps back.  She has already shed tears and it breaks my heart.  I am saying over and over again "I uphold you with my righteous right hand" - dear Lord hold tight!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hear Me

"My voice rises to God and I will cry aloud, My voice rises to God, and He will hear me" Psalm 77

My voice is so important to God.  In the above Psalm David cries out to God to hear him and God does.

We've seen and experienced so much these past 17 days in ICU.  We've seen people come in and recover.  We've seen young and old pass away.  Families crying and families relieved.  Family and friends keeping constant vigil, or family and friends coming for brief moments.  We've heard laughter and sobs.  We are on that emotional roller coaster.  There are highs and lows.  Looking forward to the next high and yet always anticipating that dreadful plunge.  We take nothing for granted.  We constantly cry out aloud, "hear us, hear us".

Even now as exhaustion overtakes us, we don't ask why.  We definitely have seen God using us in different ways.  Each time He has called us to pray with strangers, we cry aloud hear us God let them see You, let them know You.  Each time we tell a nurse, doctor or therapist that God is well pleased with the tender care they give Brooke for in His word He says "what you do to the least of His people He will do unto you". We see their eyes get teary, voices thanking us for that word from the Lord and we know seeds are being planted.

We see Him and feel Him here.  Each day I pull myself out of bed and that tired feeling of "oh not again" comes over me I reach for his Word.  Some times quickly, some times gradually He speaks "This is where I have you, look around, I am here and I want you to join me.  I hear you".  He hears me, He hears my annoying voice, my crying sobs, my laughter, and my torment - God hears me.

I am not super woman, I do have my moments of protesting to Him but He ever so gently and always so quickly reminds me that everything that is happening to Brooke has gone through His hands.  He reminds me of all the other times He has heard me and answered me.  The times He has cradled me in His arms.  The times he has wiped away my tears and put them in a jar.  The times He has given me new mercies each morning.  He brings to my mind all of what He has delivered me from, all the comfort and peace He has lavished on me and the love He still gives to me even when I disappoint Him.

Even after all this I still cry out - Hear me O God - as if He needs reminding!

Brooke got to talk for the entire day!  That is a miracle!  She barely used the ventilator and we are thanking God for each of these precious gifts.  Pray that the depression will subside and that God would send special angel friends to cheer her up and encourage her.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Voice

What a blessed day it has been.  After 15 days in intensive care and no voice for 13 of those days, we got to hear Brooke's voice.  She had speech therapy while having a tracheotomy and being on the ventilator.  This is not an easy feat, but leave it to Brooke, she amazes everyone.  The hospital stay is hard for all of us. Although we are blessed to be able to stay at a friends house some nights, we do miss the normalcy of being in our own home.  Brooke on the other hand has it harder.  Trying to sleep in the ICU is very hard.  Lights on, lots of activity, someone always checking on you.  But everyone is nice and accommodating at Queens.  We don't have news of any other changes.  Doctors cannot give us complete answers only to say "we don't know" with each question we have.  This is a time of adjustment, of letting go (which is very difficult) and with being extremely flexible.  For Brooke, please pray that she would not let the depression overtake her, that she would be miraculously healed and be a good witness for HIS Kingdom.  For Tex and I we ask that you pray for physical strength, no sickness, deep restful sleep at night and that we would remember to put God first.

I have been thinking of Joseph in the Old Testament.  I can relate to him as I feel Brooke some times is our "Joseph".  Joseph never did anything wrong to get all the worse scenarios possible.  Yet he took each trial and made the best of it.  To tell you the truth, I'm not Joseph.  I don't like where we are and I want it to change immediately.  But for some reason God has us here and I am learning to grasp  on to those little moments He gives us.  I call them our Rainbow Moments.  Someone unexpectedly sends a card, or calls, or brings lunch, or just drops by.  Someone who gives of their time so easily without any restraints - that's a biggie now a days!

Brooke is more of the Joseph.  She gets down when it's not going well and then she'll smile and thank all the nurses, respiratory staff, etc who are helping her.  She is always smiling at them even with needles and tubes protruding from all parts of her. Even after choking and being suctioned - which believe me is NOT pleasant, she smiles and says thank you!   It amazes me.  I guess that's what you would call "grace" - she is full of grace for what she has been through.

Tex is more of a Joseph too.  He is extremely helpful and so tender with her and me.  I am truly blessed to have him as my mate.  It is difficult for him to see his little girl struggling at times to breathe, not being able to open her hand, not being able to hear her say "dad".  Just this morning when he heard her voice for the first time his eyes were brimming with tears.  He didn't care who saw them and everyone in that room was touched.  He is a great example to everyone there of what a husband and father should be.  Just like Joseph a good example.

I am learning much from Brooke and Tex; and God is still using all of us just where we are.  Continue to pray for a miracle healing!