It seems like it’s all about preparing these days. My brothers are helping me prepare a spare room at Dad’s house for Mama. Hospice will provide a hospital bed, but we need a place for it.
We’re going to paint the walls with a fresh coat. And replace the old, stained carpeting. And hang some pretty pictures and photos and curtains.
We’re going to change the room she once prepared for her oldest son, and later redid for her two younger sons, into a place for her to rest and get care.
But I can still picture Mama bending over the crib in that very room, delighting in my baby brother with his chubby cheeks and big blue eyes and blond curls. I can still smell the Johnson’s Baby Powder she used when she changed diapers in that room. I can still picture her beautiful, bright smile. I can still hear her laugh.
And now Mama sits most of the day. And I show her pictures of her darling great-granddaughter and she doesn’t respond. And I try to tell her that my other son and his wife will have a baby any day now and that she’s about to be a great-grandma again. But she doesn’t seem able to share in my joy. She just stares at me.
And I think of my son and his wife as they prepare their spare room for their baby and assemble the crib they will need. And meanwhile we take old pictures off the wall at Mama’s house and fill in the nail holes and think of the memories that fill the place as we plan the best place for the hospital bed.
And I drive to the pharmacy to pick up a “comfort kit” hospice ordered for Mama. We’re supposed to keep it in a closet. It has medicines we might need some day. To give her comfort. As she dies. And I pray we won’t need it for a long, long time. And I hope that hospice kicks Mama out of the program because she’s getting better.
As I’m leaving the pharmacy I see a McDonalds. And I think of all the times Mama brought me to the doctor and then stopped at McDonalds and got me a treat for the drive home. And I look at the bag of medicines in the seat next to me, and I pull up into the drive thru and buy lunch. And I sit in the parking lot eating it and thinking of Mama and blinking back tears.
We’re getting prepared. It’s a season of preparation right now.
And thankfully Mama’s heart is prepared. Because I know she believed in Jesus and asked Him in her heart. I know she sought to follow Him. And so I know He is preparing a place for Mama.
And someday He will take her to see the beautiful home He has prepared for her. And her mind and body will be strong again. I can see her eyes sparkling. I can hear her laugh. I can picture her hugging her own mama again. I can imagine her grand-mothering two babies I miscarried years ago–or maybe meeting them all grown up now.
I can see her walking on those streets of gold with her own dear brothers and sister and friends that have gone Home before her.
But meanwhile I look at paint samples. I pick out a warm yellow. And I think it hints of sunnier days and of a golden time to come.