Easter is always a wonderful day. My in-laws invite the entire Presbyterian church out to their little farm on the outskirts of their small town. The long-standing, white haired preacher comes out and returns thanks over several hams, turkeys, salads and butter beans. Everyone brings a dish and everyone stays until long after the sun is set. Sweet tea flows and the children in their Easter best lose their shoes as they tumble out of the car running to Cook-ah's house. She sits on the porch and raises her voice in welcome as they arrive.
There is an Easter egg hunt in the front yard and whoever finds the "golden" egg gets an Easter basket full of prizes.
We hold hands in the room with the food and listen to crisp clear words from a Man of God speak from his heart to our souls. We are renewed. We rejoice in the Knowledge that we have been given. For one day, I am Presbyterian. Before he leaves with his sweet wife, the Preacher seeks me out and holds my face in his two large hands and kisses me good-bye. He tells me that I make beautiful children and that he loves me as his own.
It makes me feel closer to God to know this man. It reminds me that God is kind and gentle. He is not the Old Testament God, turning doubters into pillars of salt. He is God with a bigger picture. I have relationships with priests and I will be forever more Catholic, but the Hometown Preacher is a special person to me and I adore him.
For the past two days, I have been sitting on a blog written in my mind. The past two nights that I have not been able to sleep, I silently type in my head and work sentences to convey my frustration and love. I am so far away from my family today.
Easter morning, we call Husband's parents and get the order of the Easter events. We wish the nieces and nephews good luck on finding the golden egg before hanging up and calling my parents. In the background, I hear dad say, "Hey, can we hook these two calls up on conference ca..." -click- A few minutes later, my phone rings. "Why'd y'all hang up on..." "Wife, get Husband. Quick."
Brother was not feeling "right" and went to lay down. He took his Kepra and chewed another one. For a moment, a calm ensued. But, there is always a calm before the storm.
Seizure stacked upon seizure dropped out the sky and landed squarely in their bedroom with my father and my SIL in the wake of the wicked tremors. The ambulance came. Another seizure.
I wanted to be mad. I wanted to run and shake my fists as this Greater Power. I wanted to scream at him and be heard. But what I really wanted- more than to be mad, was that I wanted to find a 'center' and I wanted to find an inner peace. In anger, I would not have accomplished anything. In anger, I would have said words I did not mean and in anger I would have lacked the patience I needed to hold my toddler so close as she did not understand why Mommy and Daddy were upset but could clearly sense this upheaval in our day.
And, in reality, all I wanted was to be near my brother and to hold my niece and nephew in my arms and comfort them the way Brother comforts me and my children. In reality, I wanted to be angry because being angry is easier than all the other emotions--
And I love my brother.
Yesterday, Brother woke up groggy and in serious pain in his back and when he breathed. They did a blood draw to see if he had clot in his lung-- a very dangerous thing-- and gave him IV pain med, diasomething which is essentially morphine on steroids. They added a chest X-ray to the laundry list of ABC tests to check for cracked ribs.
Most people have the first question of, "From the fall?" when referencing the cracked ribs and the answer to that is... no.
Let that sink in for a moment. Close your eyes and thank the Sweet Lord that you have never had a seizure.
The pain meds made him groggy and slip off into a medicated sleep that he welcomed with open arms. In sleep, he is whole. In sleep, he can do anything with no limits with two hands. In sleep, he can throw his children in the air and run circles with them in the backyard. In sleep, he can heal.
Yesterday was to be discharge day- but the pain raised concerns and earned him another night within the white walls.
Today, he has been feeling better physically. Emotionally? You can do that math. Unfortunately, as I sit and type this- my phone went off with words from my parents informing their daughter and her husband (who sleeps soundly being post call) that he is not coming home again today. They need the EEG results and his BP is "way high."
I want to raise my voice and scream.
God has taken away so much. The ability to feel his left arm is just at the tip of the iceberg. But, Brother keeps clawing back. He took to the golf course just last week and hacked a dozen golf balls with a specially designed golf glove made just for stroke victims. He wants to be out there with Nephew. He wants to be the kind of dad that raised us- active in our lives and supportive of everything.
He wants to live.
And that is what I have to remember- that as Brother says on a regular basis, "I'm on the good side of the dirt."
Of all the things that the Lord has taken away, He keeps Brother here and He sees the bigger picture that I cannot. I will instead, raise my voice in devotion and collapse my fists in folded prayer to give thanks that I have had my brother for another six months since his stroke. I give thanks that he has held his newest niece and I get to put my arms around his neck in just a few short days.
I turn to my husband in tears and let him hold me close.
I turn to God and ask for our prayers to be heard.
I turn to my SILs parents trusting that my niece and nephew are encapsulated in love with them.
I turn to you and ask for your prayers to your Higher Power for this man you might or might not know.
And I just want my brother back in one piece.