In the midst of my husband’s valiant battle with rampant, widespread cancer and unbearable pain that dominated his body and mind, we were given gifts. Gifts that eluded me; gifts that now, in hindsight, I see as priceless gems and abundant splatters of grace.
It had been a distressing day for my husband. He had spent most of it in the fetal position and screaming out in agony. His doctors and palliative care team were not able to control or manage his pain. I had spent the day, rubbing his feet, massaging his back, softly singing his favorite songs and reassuringly praising him. Thankfully, for the first time in days, he fell asleep in a calm slumber. I decided to pull myself away to go home for a few hours and see my youngest daughter who has profound autism.
On the drive home, I wept and prayed concerning David’s pain. I pleaded for guidance and that our Almighty’s presence would prevail and be our stronghold. As soon as I walked in the door, it was about midnight, the phone rang. It was my husband, yet his voice was different, stronger, and even a little merry. He asked me to come back to the hospital. In addition, he was adamant about me contacting all of our loved ones and asking them to join us. He had an intense need to affirm and tell everyone what he appreciated, admired and loved about them.
When I returned to the cancer wing, one of his nurses ran up to me expressing her disbelief about what was transpiring. Before I opened the hospital room door; I could hear my husband’s voice echoing through the hall. The frailty was diminished as he chatted away. Upon opening the door, I felt paralyzed in shock, as he was sitting up and his demeanor, posture, and smile that had all been altered, returned. It was as if an elixir or magic potion had restored his body and mind.
The room was full of people: nurses, doctors, the chaplain, CNA’s and even the sweet, housekeeping staff. Everyone was being drawn in to listen to him. He was magnificently like his pre-cancer self; but, also so different. My husband was a Christian; however, he was soft-spoken and did not articulate his beliefs or have Bible verses memorized, he always believed like me, that our greatest example is in what we don’t say… until this day, this moment in time.
There was literally a mixture of joy, concern and a glow illuminating from him as he spoke. He said that he was so worried about the state of our world. That he had seen our Lord’s majestic face and that His arms were open wide for everyone. That loving others with a genuine, selfless, unconditional heart was the way to healing. He described what he saw surrounding God- a captivating, resounding peace. He shared with us how he had spoken to his dear mother and beloved family and friends that had previously passed away. He even pointed to places in the room where their spirits were and that his childhood dog, Dusty, was actually lying at the end of his bed.
After a little while, he decided to walk around to greet others. Over the two and half months of living in the hospital, we had the honor and privilege of getting to know on a personal level many of the patients, family members and most of the staff. As he had not walked for a while, we got him prepared with a harness, walker and wheel chair behind, just in case. One of the occupational therapists came and joined us as she heard what was going on. As we made our way around the loop, he spoke, waved, and thanked everyone. He then started relaying some of my most cherished Bible passages. He was fluent, eloquent, his gait strong, and there was a meticulous determination that resonated from him. My mind was swirling. I was speechless upon seeing God’s miracles at work. I felt like I was in the middle of advent, the time of silence and being in awe. I anticipated what was coming next.
He started to get weak. We wheeled him back to his room. Assisted him into bed and re-hooked his IV’s. He reached for me and gave me a tender kiss. He closed his eyes and slept soundly. An hour later, he woke-up again in brutal pain and all memory of what had occurred wiped away.
As his health care team and I met to discuss our next steps and the transformation that baffled us. We knew it wasn’t a prank, that there was no rational or logical explanation, that it was truly a blessing, a rare treasure amidst the suffering, and irrefutably a gift from above.
As always, my heart is with you as we are bonded in our grief journey. There is a disclaimer that goes along with my blog. Hope for Widows respects everyone’s beliefs. I by no means want to offend anyone. I was compelled to open up and disclose one of our fragile, precious moments with the hope that it might bring comfort or validation to someone. Please comment and/or share your experiences.
May Peace Flood Your Soul,
Lisa Dempsey Bargewell
My blog topic for next Wednesday: Seeing My Deceased Husband in the Corridor