Self published Christian romance author of four books, with more on the way. I may not be famous, but as long as I'm writing, I'm happy!
I Can't Do This Again, God!
It's Tuesday morning, February 22, 2021. Time: 7:49AM. I had a restless night and was up shortly after 6AM. Why? My 86 year old father is fighting for his life in the hospital. Reason? COVID-19. And as I sit here waiting for the latest update from my older brother (who is also possibly coming down with the virus!) I can't help but think, NOT AGAIN! Not again, Lord, not again. I CAN'T do this again!
My memory flashes back just five months ago to a similar time and place. It was September 1, 2020. Time: approx 7:35 AM. I got a phone call from my father informing me my mother had passed away earlier that morning at home. Moma had a myriad of health problems that finally resulted in her death at age 80. And though she didn't die from COVID-19, her death was traumatic for our whole family, just the same.
In the months that followed, we all learned to live life again without my precious Mother. Even Daddy was finally getting past his grief and starting to get out more - despite the stringent restrictions of the COVID-19 virus. He didn't take it lightly, and masked up wherever he went. But at 86 years old, Daddy also has a few health problems that make him highly susceptible to not only contracting the coronavirus, but succumbing to it, as well. In fact, in the short three days he's been in the hospital, he had gone downhill quickly - his oxygen levels plummeting to dangerous levels. And all I can do is wait with a stomach that feels like its crawling with thousands of acid ants, and a mind that replays my worst fears over and over like a broken record. And of course, I PRAY. And I BEG God to spare my precious father's life for a few more years, as I just can't go through another loss of a parent right now. Not again! A selfish prayer, I know - but aren't they all?
Life Isn't Fair, But God is Still There!
A good friend of mine mentioned to me yesterday as I was lamenting about my father's situation, that "life isn't fair", referring to how I had just lost my mother a few months earlier. She's right. But why should it be? It's IMPERFECT. It's a roulette wheel that we spin every day and the odds are generally not in our favor. Yet we EXPECT them to be. We expect life to be fair and are vehemently offended when it isn't. Maybe that's why we have so much pain in our lives. Unrealistic expectations from an imperfect world.
It's true that life isn't fair, but God is STILL there! And that's what I'm trying to hold onto as I breathlessly wait for the latest update on my father. For he is in God's hands - and always has been. In fact, so am I. So are we all. He is there for us to lean on, talk to, and cry out to. He is there for us to get mad at - to blame, even. He is there for us to PRAY to - to BEG to. And he is there for us to give PRAISE to - even in the storms of this unfair existence we call LIFE. And I've done ALL that - when my mother was sick and died, and NOW, as I await the fate of my father's life. And even though deep in my soul I'm crying out, I CAN'T DO THIS AGAIN, I know that as long as God is there - I CAN. I may not WANT to, but "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me." And that is what will get me through the next minute, hour, day and weeks ahead. For this is NOT about me. It's not even about my father. It's about GOD. I can either selfishly dwell on MY feelings, my sadness and my loss; or I can seek HIS face, and HIS strength, and HIS grace to get through whatever lies ahead. I realize that there is NOTHING in this imperfect world I can truly count on, but I can ALWAYS count on GOD because He is ALWAYS there.
Until a Decision is Made...
As my father's life hangs in the balance, I will continue to cry, beg and plead with God to spare his life, all the while knowing the final decision is ultimately OUT of my hands, and in HIS. And no matter what - just like with my Mom - I will be a PEACE with whatever that decision may be. Even if it turns out to be another "NOT AGAIN" one. For I know that even if God spares his life THIS time, there will come ANOTHER day when death will come for him again. And I will not be ready then, either. I may even say "NOT AGAIN" that day, too. But no matter what, God will be there to carry me through it. AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN.
The Unspeakable Happens
It's Monday, March 1, 2021 - 4 days from what would have been my father's 87th birthday on this earth. WOULD HAVE BEEN. That's because at approximately 4:00 pm on Thursday, February 25, my precious Daddy succumbed to complications of COVID-19. My heart is broken and shattered into a million jagged pieces and the world around me is raw and cold. My prayers to God to save my father's life fell on deaf ears. Again. The unspeakable happened and in bitterness of soul, I weakly cry out NOT AGAIN!!! Two parents taken away in just a little over five months apart. As I sit here and type this, it doesn't seem real. Or fair.
I'm numb with grief. Void of any other feelings but sadness and despair. Helplessly dragging myself through the foggy minutes, hours and days. Holding onto the splintered banister of my frail existence, each step heavier than the one before it. And this nightmare isn't over yet...
COVID-19 Strikes Again!
As if the untimely death of my father isn't bad enough, my oldest brother is ALSO suffering with COVID-19 - stricken down the same day my father was admitted to the hospital. It's day eight for him and he, too, is hanging on for dear life. Like father, like son. NO GOD! NOT AGAIN!! In a strained and hoarse echo, I beg for my brother's life, as I wait the next update from his wife. He's still recovering from home - his condition extremely weak and fragile. Bravely fighting with what strength he has left to avoid following in his father's footsteps. For once, I pray he takes another way.
Trying to Move On...
With my body and soul mired up in grief, I try to take baby steps and move on. So much needs to be done. Arrangements need to be made. Decisions made. I long for closure, yet, with my brother still sick, there's little I can do. COVID still has us in its deathly grip. Our lives in a stranglehold of time. Our hearts begging God to release us from this "not again" existence...
Mercy From Heaven
After suffering miserably for eight days and a scary respiratory episode yesterday, my brother was admitted to the hospital last night with pneumonia from his bout with COVID-19. Once again, our family was on proverbial pins and needles waiting for word on his condition. I cried. I prayed. Then cried some more. The leftover tears I cried for my Daddy spilled into new tears of worry over my oldest brother. I shuddered to think the unthinkable. Would this have another "not again" ending? Finally, after several hours of holding our collective breaths, I was able to talk to his nurse who informed he had greatly improved from when he was brought in a few hours earlier. We all breathed a collective sigh of relief. It seemed that God had imparted His gracious mercy on my brother and spared him from the same fate as our father just a few days earlier. Mercy from Heaven! I can only guess that BOTH my parents had a part in begging God to spare their eldest son from joining them too soon. I'd like to think they did, anyway.
Waiting to Exhale
The past five months (and even earlier) has had our family "waiting to exhale" around every corner. Afraid to go to sleep. Afraid to wake up. Hesitant to make plans. Fearful of the next phone call. I've held my breath so much I feel much like a whale underwater sometimes! And when I do "come up for air", it's only to quickly exhale then sink back down to the watery depths of darkness, worry and fear. Drowning in the tears of my "not again" ocean.
God is With Us - AGAIN AND AGAIN
Throughout this horrendous ordeal, I've learned one thing: when we go through those "not again" trials, God is right there with us - AGAIN AND AGAIN. Carrying us. Comforting us. Encouraging us. Consoling us. He hears our mournful sobs as we bang on the doors of his heart begging him, "NOT AGAIN". He carries us in his strong arms when we crumble and fall apart. He sends his angels in the form of caring friends and strong family members to comfort, console and pray for us. He understands our hurt, our anger, our pain and our discouraged hearts. And he whispers, "TRUST ME", when our faith is nothing more than a weak, watered down ember. He is there through it all. Again and Again and Again. Life is full of "not again" moments. But isn't is wonderful that we serve a God who is there again and again when they come?