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The Most Difficult Trial

My son recently returned from sea duty on the USS Annapolis to San Diego, then flew to Ohio and the Navy transferred his little family (our daughter-in-law and 2 ½-year-old granddaughter) to the Norfolk, VA area.

We wrapped all that up around Memorial Day and I miss the energy, giggles and squeals so much. We FaceTime regularly, and I’ve already been down to visit, but life at home is very quiet. Hubby and I were beginning some home projects we’d put on hold and adjusting to calm rather than the happy chaos we’d been accustomed to.

And, true to that statement, we’re now dealing with a really difficult trial.


I’m sitting in a family gathering area of Hospice Care of Cincinnati, wondering how my tiny 87-year-old mother-in-law, Jean, continues to hold on to life. She’s a spitfire for sure, and late last week she was still sharing little jokes and saying goodbye to those of us who love her in her unique way.

Things took a sudden down turn early last week.

She was scheduled for a routine surgery last Monday morning. A nurse took Jean’s blood pressure and announced it was 210 over 120. Surgery was cancelled, and the medical team tried to lower her blood pressure with medications. Other issues began to creep up and Jean complained of a terrible headache. The medical team started running bloodwork, a CT scan and an MRI.

We lost track of time. Eventually, a neurologist walked in and said something I’d heard when my own mother left this earth for her home in heaven, “…inoperable brain aneurysm; there’s nothing we can do…” There were no words of possible healing or comfort for my hubby and his sister when we heard this. We understood Jean was not coming home. Plans for a different homecoming began to unfold in their conversations.


As I chatted with my husband, taking a break from the constant vigil at his mom’s side, there’s a sense of calm in this drawn out grief of waiting.


He’s been reading scriptures to her, knowing she can hear him, even with her eyes closed and seemingly sleeping. He’s been praying over her, softly weeping at times, mourning the loss but yearning for an end to her struggle, for her to take her next breath in God’s presence.

It’s precious watching this son talk about death and eternal life with the one who gave him life. It’s sweet hearing him tell her what heaven is like and that time isn’t measured there, so he’ll see her soon enough.


You see, he led her to the Lord barely 2 months ago, and it’s in this knowing, this reassurance of her final home and her ultimate healing that makes the vigil bearable for him.

The River

Author The River

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