Beth P’s mom, Bev, had gone into the hospital soon after Mark’s death. After a couple of weeks, it became clear that Bev probably would not rebound, as she’d done so many times before.
I didn’t know, until last week, about any of this, but once I was told, I had to see her – she loved all the children at our church and preschool, including our Mark – and hold her hand.
And I wanted to hold Beth’s hand… Beth who had solidly supported me even as her own heart broke.
So I went there after church that All Saints Sunday, and got to see Bev two more times that week as she neared Heaven’s gate. To be honest: I was a little bit (a lot) jealous – she was going to get to see Mark. Like now, like any day. Oh my gosh. Does that make me an absolutely awful person, to think that?
Bev was not ancient, but her body was failing. As the days passed and it hurt her more and more to live, I felt like her soul was rattling around inside her flesh, trying to escape, to be free. She pulled at her hospital gown, her skin itched. She was agitated, delirious one moment and present the next, exasperated when her eyes would flutter open and she’d be told, drily, by Beth (God I love this woman), that she was still here. Bev would “Hmph” and shut her eyes again. Sometimes, death is like that…a friend you’re waiting for, when you’re just weary of living, of hurting, and your body is just done.
Bev reported to her granddaughter, the Pastor Katie, that she saw Mark standing with a group of her friends in heaven. I spoke out loud to him in my basement sanctuary, saying he needed to go stand by the gate and wait for her.
On the 5th, my devotional included the story of Blind Bartimaeus and Jesus. Bartimaeus is a beggar who shouts, as Jesus passes by, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Others told him to be quiet, but he shouted more. Jesus calls for him and he is brought before the Messiah.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man replies, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus. “Your faith has healed you.”
My hand is up in the air. “Pick me! Pick me! Ask me that same question, Jesus!” Because we all need some healing here.