Before you ask, no, I don’t have exciting progress on a new book to tell you about. I wish I did. I will have to count that as one of the “downs” of this month.
But I always look forward to August – good weather, our anniversary, often a trip to the lake – and this year was no different. In fact, we had two trips planned this time – unusual for us, since we hardly ever go anywhere.
First, though, I had a week of jury duty to get through. Not necessarily a “down.” I’ve done it before and found it interesting. It would just be an inconvenience – driving into Tacoma every day, dealing with city traffic and city parking, getting nothing else done. That’s what I anticipated. Instead what happened is that my group number never came up, so I didn’t have to report at all.
Then we were off to Sunriver, Oregon, for six days of vacation! We visited friends in Bend on the way, which was a delight, and we were meeting other friends at our destination. It promised to be a fun getaway!
That promise was mostly kept. We hiked beside the Deschutes River to a falls, and we also traversed the subterranean caverns of a mile-long lava tube. We explored the quaint town of Sunriver Village, ate overpriced ice cream, and floated the Deschutes River. All good.
But while there, I received the upsetting news that my 89-year old mother had been hospitalized with a significant stroke. We left Sunriver early to begin a bedside vigil that lasted ten days until she passed away.
My mom and I were very close, so obviously this was a severe blow, as those of you who have been through it know all too well. And yet, even in this most-serious of downs – loss of a family member – there were blessings. I’m grateful for my mom’s sweet spirit. I am grateful that she didn’t suffer a painful death. I am grateful there was time for everyone to come and say goodbye. I’m grateful that instead of lingering, possibly for years, in the ever-increasing incapacitation that her dementia would have caused, she could talk and walk and recognize her loved ones to the end. And I’m most grateful for the hope of heaven, where I will see her again someday. In the meantime, I’m glad to know she is freed from her struggle, restored, and at peace, safe with Jesus and reunited with my dad and others who have gone before.
One more thing I’m grateful for: that we had a peaceful place to retreat afterward. Although our trip to Montana was delayed, we decided not to cancel it entirely. So this is where I sit now as I write this post. When something bad happens, we more than ever need reminders of what’s good and beautiful in our world. It’s easy to see that here. In fact, it feels like a little taste of heaven.
“I shall soon be rested,” said Fanny; “to sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure, is the most perfect refreshment.”Jane Austen, Mansfield Park