Blog by Cynthia Norton
Last year felt so dark and terrible. My father had a stroke and was moved to hospice. It was right at the beginning of the shutdowns. The hospice workers told us they did not have any personal protective equipment and refused to come into my mother’s home. I quickly learned that I do not have the skills to be a nurse, nor did anyone else in the family. It was a neighbor who had recently cared for a sister who came to our aid, showing us how to administer the palliative medicines, perform my father’s ablutions, adjust the medical devices, and so on. I was watching over my father when he appeared to take his last breath but didn’t know what to do. It was more than an hour before the chaplain could arrive to declare the death; he apologized profusely but said he hadn’t been able to find any PPE, either. We were unable to hold a funeral because of the size of the family and are only now figuring out what we can do for closure. I am still suffering from the experience but know so many others are suffering, too.
On my walks at English Landing Park this spring, one year after my father’s death, I have thought a lot about healing and restoration. The park is restoring the wetlands there and as I watched the workers push around the dirt for what seemed like an eternity, I had my doubts about whether restoration was possible. But then I saw the fading blue-purple bloom of a water iris! And then the butterflies – tiny azure, and orange-brown! White and yellow-green! And then dozens of baby frogs and toads! Oh, how I remember my delight as a child when I came across those baby frogs! It has been years since I have seen any and I had become resigned that I never would again.
But I will see my father again! And God helped our family by working through a kindly neighbor! Through God and our faith in Jesus Christ, restoration and healing are not only possible, but assured: “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10. I pray for restoration and healing for all who are suffering. Amen.