Great rushing torrents of water are filling the runway as lightning dances between claps of thunder.
My plane is delayed, just a bit, but I’ll get there on time.
I’d planned to fly to San Diego on Monday, but yesterday I moved the flight to Saturday night, and this morning my dad called and advised me to catch an earlier plane because we’re now counting hours, not days.
I feel oddly peaceful, buoyed by the love and prayers of friends. And I understand now why people ask everyone they know and all kinds of people they don’t know to pray for them in times of need; because I can literally feel the strength of the people who love me and my family and I need that spiritual lift more than food or sleep right now.
Every kind word, every email, every phone call, every sympathetic Facebook message has been pure manna for me this week. I’ve been on the other end of those phone calls and emails and I’ve sent cards and carried in dinners—but I never knew how much they meant. I never understood before…. and it makes me want to send cards and flowers and plates of cinnamon rolls to everyone I know; but for now, for today at least, I’ll sit back and receive.
On our last visit, my mom loved the cards and flowers sent by friends but was too ill to read emails or answer phone calls—so I’ll remember that, modern communication is fabulous but nothing replaces the hand-written card, nothing cheers a room more than flowers.
She’s completely bedridden now, not eating, sleeping almost constantly and waking to speak only a word or two before she fall back into slumber. But when my brother told her I was on my way her eyes flashed open and she struggled to sit up. So I know she’s waiting for me.
My sister says that sitting with my mom is incredibly peaceful and sweet, much like the first days with a newborn baby—an infant can’t speak or walk, but it’s still a joy to be with them, a privilege to hold their hand.
In a few hours (Please hurry plane! Please!), my adorable sister will pick me up at the San Diego Airport, “You’re easy to spot,” she said, “because no one else is all dressed up.” She knows I’m old-fashioned and think that airplane rides require a nice dress and heels.
“No, I don’t think I’ll dress up today.” I told her. “I’ll just wear jeans. And I don’t have the heart to do my hair or put on make-up.”
“Oh no you don’t,” Ruth replied, “Mom loves her bright, pretty daughter. You need to walk in there like a great big bouquet.”
And so I curled my hair and brushed blush across my cheeks. Mary chose a pinky-red polish for my toenails and we both agreed on my floral dress, red sandals and, clearly, obviously, necessarily… the red rose purse.
I may be all dressed up,
but I’m not ready to let her go.