Saturday, December 19, 2009

There is Love

I got a phone call in the school office right before I sent the kids to lunch on Thursday.
It was Jesse. I'd left my phone in the car, and he needed to reach me.
Papa Chuck has started hemorrhaging and was losing so much blood that Mom and Dad had called us all to come to say goodbye.

As soon as the kids came back from lunch, I had them all sit on the carpet with me so I could let them know. Before I even began, one of the 4th graders noticed, "Mrs. Brubaker, you're eyes are all red." I said yes, and I told them that my Papa was very sick. I told them that I was going to drive up to see him as soon as school was over, and let them know that it's ok for me to be feeling sad right now. [I feel that too often, children don't know how to express feelings or react to situations because they don't see their adult role models show emotion. Hiding sadness or any other range of emotions stifles a child's ability to be able to deal with things of their own. Off my soapbox.]

They came up to me and gave me hugs. I asked them to remember my papa and our family in their prayers. David, one of the 5th graders, folded his hands and said "Let's pray for him right now!" The kids all bowed their heads, and David led us in a beautiful prayer for my papa. It was very sweet. I love these kids!

Jon met us at our house about the same time that I got home from school, and the three of us drove up to Oxnard together.

When we got to Papa and Ami's house, it was warm and cozy with soft lights and lots of blankets to keep Papa warm. Ami, Dad, Mom, Kate, Laura, Uncle Todd, and Uncle David were sitting in the living room where Papa's hospital bed is these days. Jon and Jesse and I joined the group, and we sat there enjoying Mom's shepherd pie for dinner.

There were tears intermittently through the night, but it was a happy night, a blessed night, where we were all together as a family, enjoying one another's company, reminiscing in favorite stories, catching up with each other, and being there for whenever Papa opened his eyes.

He is so weak right now. The amount of blood he has lost has left him with skin that is cold to the touch, and only enough energy to open his eyes and wave to people in the room before drifting back to sleep. But he was there, and we were there. A whole family. Treasured moments.

Ami's tender love for her best friend is so beautiful. March 2010 will be Papa and Ami's 60th wedding anniversary.

With everything that has been happening the last few weeks, Papa and Ami'se tree had been put up, but there were only two ornaments on it! Laura and I spent some time filling it out with the treasured ornaments that we remember as little children. I love trees that have stories behind each ornament!

Now Papa can see the Christmas tree from his bed, and Ami can enjoy its cheer while she sits next to him.

I read something tonight about what a sad Christmas this is, with all of the tragedies that are happening this season. I don't feel that way. God has blessed us in so many ways. He's blessed us with a family that has been so close, supporting each other in everything, rejoicing with each other in everything. He's blessed us with time that we didn't think we would have with Papa (I've driven up to Oxnard 5 times since September to "say goodbye.") He blessed us with the ability to be together as a family for another night. Blessed us with joy and comfort that evening. Blesses us continually with the fulfillment of his Promise, which is why we celebrate Christmas.

These days are hard, preparing daily to say goodbye, dealing with guilt about being unable to be by Papa's side every moment, praying desperately that he will see his need for his Savior. But they are not hopeless.

I've never felt that so much as I did on Thursday night, surrounded by the family I love.