six weeks

Six weeks. That’s what the hospice nurse told my dad yesterday. SIX. WEEKS. I mean… what do you do with that? That’s clearly not enough time, but it never is, is it? Not too long ago, it was four to six months. And where did that time go?? Now, six weeks. *Sigh.*

My mind is so scattered with all of these random thoughts, hundreds of memories bubbling to the surface, threatening to purge themselves through my watery eyes. And I can’t think straight. But everything else outside of me is perfectly, startlingly clear… The fact that my mom remains as lucid as ever… That I can have normal, everyday conversations with her… That her mind is sharp, her laughter easy, her kisses and hugs still lovingly present… That she still maintains some semblance of a social calendar at all… Although the outward appearance gives away her condition, she doesn’t seem like she’s dying. But above all else, this: the immediacy of the situation.

I will be forever grateful for the last two weeks, the time I took off from work to “vacation” with just Mom. Oh, I did some other stuff – GREAT and happy stuff with the fam. But mainly, it was to spend time at home. To just BE with her. And I am sooooooooooooo glad I did, because it was perfect. Are you allowed to say a vacation was perfect in that manner? As in, utterly therapeutic, taking care of your sick mom? I don’t care if it sounds strange; it was. As an added bonus, I of course made LOTS of good food. That was the other goal attached to the vacation: 1) be with Mom, and 2) COOK, BAKE, whip up a FRENZY in the kitchen. And I frenzied. Too many recipes for this one post. You’ll find one of my favorites at the end.

I’m ashamed to admit I subscribe to a website that sends daily Bible verses to cheer you up. I know – corny, right? Especially since the Christian faith and I aren’t the best of buddies. It’s not so much that I’m unwilling to find inspiration in the Bible. I know it’s there; I’ve read quite a chunk of it (mostly the inspirational stuff – forget that fire and brimstone crap). No, I’m embarrassed to tell you the website whence I’m getting these little morsels of sage advice… Are you ready for this? Joel Osteen.

I can already hear a thousand cries of protest, disgust, and general dismay. I know. I KNOW. Don’t judge me. I said I was ashamed (here’s where I’m hoping I don’t have too many readers of this blog yet). Allow me to explain. I watch this man in fascination – not because I believe every word that comes out of his mouth – no, I watch him because I’m mesmerized by his message delivery and general charisma. He knows how to command a room. Or a stadium, as it were. Maybe even the Galactic Empire. Who knows. The man is nothing but ultra-positive, to the point of brainwashing. Which I realize is why others find him so wholly offensive. If you have half a brain, you must surely see the dollar signs illuminated in his beady eyes. Regardless, Emperor Palpatine, er… uh, Joel Osteen, I mean, is a study in motivational speaking if ever there was one. He simultaneously fascinates and repulses me. This must have been what Hitler was like.

But this is not the point. When times are tough, you seek solace, in whatever form you can find it. And some of the simple verses sent by his website (called “Today’s Word”) do resonate with me. I delete well over half of the ones I get, rolling my eyes to the heavens, as I think how susceptible people are to this kind of “reality tv.” I signed up over a year ago when Mom got sick again as a way to find inspiration, comfort, SOMETHING to help me deal with it all. I choose the verses I like, and look them up in the Bible myself. I proceed to read the chapter and passages associated with it, to understand the greater meaning. Or something like that. I’m still not convinced to actually attend church on a regular basis or anything, but these do make me stop and ponder.

Anyway, today’s verse was this:

“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you…”(Isaiah 66:13, NIV)

How weird is that?? Especially with this recent heartbreaking news. Things like this make me honestly believe there is SOMETHING out there. I have no idea what – I don’t think any of us really do – wouldn’t that be awfully arrogant of ourselves to do so? But I have to believe there is a purpose to all of this… to my mom’s life and her time here on Earth and why she has to leave us so soon. And that’s enough for me, I guess – for now, at least. If I continue to question the WHY of it, I’ll go crazy. Maybe that’s what faith really is… I don’t know. Maybe I’m talking out of my ass. Probably the latter.

As promised, a recipe for you. :) I’ve made this TWICE in the last week, because Mom and Dad inhaled it. Mom even had two pieces (albeit small ones) in one day. I ask you this, in sadness and in happiness: what am I gonna do without her?

German Chocolate Pie
1 four-ounce German sweet chocolate bar (in the baking aisle)
1/3 cup milk
1 three-ounce package cream cheese (softened)
2 tablespoons sugar
8 -12 ounces Cool Whip topping (thawed)
1 graham cracker pie crust

Break up the chocolate bar into squares. Heat the chocolate and 1 tablespoon of the milk in a small sauce pan over low heat. Stir until completely melted. Set aside. Beat cream cheese and sugar in a bowl until blended. Add the rest of the milk and melted chocolate and beat until smooth. Gently fold in the whipped topping. The original recipe called for 8 ounces, but Mom being Mom, she added more because it makes the pie filling EXTRA light and fluffy. I agree. :) Place the whole mixture into the pie crust. Freeze for at least 4 hours. Keep in freezer until you need it. Guaranteed to be gone in a week. Deeeee-licious.


7 thoughts on “six weeks

  1. Pingback: Sandra Sue Lencke » Brian Powell Photography

  2. Thank you so much for including me in your two weeks. I am humbled to have been a very small part of that time. I am so happy to have been able to discuss such mundane and normal things with your mom.

  3. I am so sorry to hear your news about your Mom. We are never ready to let them go-I lost my Mom 29 years ago. I still miss her and I am sad for how much she has missed. I will keep all of you in my prayers-He will help you thru this, if you lean on Him. Tell your Mom I am keeping all of you in my prayers.

  4. OK, trying not to roll my eyes TOO hard at the Joel Osteen thing, but hey, whatever works for ya. Just don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

    As for a hospice nurse making that kind of “prediction,” I find that highly unprofessional. Even doctors, who are more likely to have a handle on his/her patients’ health, can’t say for sure when someone is going to die. So, don’t mark your calendar. Just enjoy your mom and keep on cooking!

  5. Mary Beth, I’m not certain what to do with that news either. While it has been many years since I saw Sandy, I always loved all my cousins and had such a great time with them. This is a tough time for the Redenbarger family with what your family is going through, and today is the memorial service for our uncle Ted. Jim and Ned are supposed to be back for that, so I hope they get a chance to visit. Those guys were also close with your Mom and her sisters. Give my love to your Mom. She, along with the rest of your family will be in my prayers.


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