The grace of dying during a pandemic

At 2:00am on a Friday morning a few weeks ago, I was awakened by text notifications on my phone. It was my brother letting me know that our mother had been taken to the E.R. from the healthcare facility where she was being treated for a chronic illness. A lower G.I. issue had suddenly developed, and her vital signs were plummeting. We immediately rearranged our schedules and made the hour-long drive to Muncie.

When we arrived, Mom was on a machine to breathe and was unable to talk. I never saw her eyes open, but she was able to squeeze my hand as I held hers.

Nine hours after my brother’s first text, my mother passed peacefully and without pain

Over the next couple of weeks, we planned for her visitation/memorial gathering, cleaned out her space at the assisted living facility where we had moved her not quite two years ago, and waded through all the other stuff that has to be dealt with.

Amidst doctors and nurses and machines to administer medications, sometimes grace is just being able to be in the room. I can’t tell you what a blessing it was that this happened when I was not overseas or out of state. All I could do was be there and hold her hand as she passed, but I’m grateful I was able to do that. Despite the loss, I can see God’s grace in it, even while dealing with masks and social distancing and everything else.

A few weeks later, Sarah (our daughter at Purdue) fell and broke her fibula (the non-weight-bearing bone between the knee and ankle). Fortunately, she can heal by wearing a big boot, which she is now hobbling around campus in. And again, I’m grateful I was able be with her when she went to visit the Orthopedic doctor.

So this month is more of a personal update – hopefully things will be a little less dramatic for while in November! Well, at least in our family, anyway.

Our team continues to work on writing and recoding music and planning worship experiences for Cru’s online- gatherings and events. A lot of the events we normally serve are not happening as they normally would, but we know that God is continuing to change lives through small gatherings and studies and other events, and we’re able to help those happen.

We pray often that you’ll experience Christ’s presence and peace during this season, just as we have. Thanks for being part of how God provides for us, so that we can make Jesus known to all sorts of people in all sorts of situations.

Please pray
for Sarah’s recovery! We’re blessed that all she has to do is take it easy and wear a boot. And pray our team continues to find ways to serve Cru’s evangelistic and worship events with music. We’re planning for December and into next year to see how we can contribute to events that must happen virtually for the time being.