More From Daphne Goodman

April 14, 2024 by Daphne Goodman (Maryland, USA)
Daphne Goodman

When I wrote today’s meditation, I was reflecting on a beloved friend who had lost his battle with stage-four colon cancer several years before. The 10th anniversary of his transition to heaven was coming up, and it made me recall how our church had rallied to support him and his family during that rough season. On his final night, I kept vigil with his wife and other family members until he took his last breath. Although it had been a long and arduous three-year struggle, my friend and his family experienced the love of God through the army of helpers at our local church.

Last September, over a year since I submitted my meditation, the unthinkable happened. My mother suffered a massive stroke three hours after arriving from Texas to my home in Maryland. She had come a few days in advance of a week-long celebration for her milestone 90th birthday, which was to be held in a beautiful beach town in North Carolina. Her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and close friends had prepared to fly there from all over the US to honor this matriarch of our family. Her only request was to have all of us under the same roof, so we had found a lovely property that was large enough to hold all 30 of us.

The sudden occurrence of my mother’s stroke made the year-long preparations for the big event null and void. Now we were faced with the real possibility that Mom might not even survive the stroke. Our attention switched to finding the best rehabilitation facility to accommodate her needs. The stroke affected her left side and slurred her speech. My once fiercely independent mother lay in a hospital bed immobile, unable to do anything for herself.

After 60 days in the rehabilitation facility, Mom was discharged to my home, and I became her primary caregiver. To say I was frightened and overwhelmed would be an understatement. I was in a unique position of bearing another’s burdens — my mother’s — and needing some of my own burdens as a caregiver to be carried as well. Over the three months since she’s been with us, just like with my friend’s situation so many years ago, God has raised up an army of helpers to assist me in taking care of Mom.

The same loving church family that prayed for my friend is now praying for us. Some have supported us with meals, visits, and finances. A wonderful woman comes five days a week to help me take care of Mom. Three of my sisters have flown in from different parts of the country to give me respite at times. Even my young-adult children who live with me have surprised me with how willing and gracious they’ve been in helping me take care of their grandmother. My army of helpers has included family, friends, therapists, nurses, home-health aides, and a slew of other people. God knows how much I have needed them.

Six months after the stroke that nearly took her life, Mom’s speech has improved, and she is learning to walk again. It has been both a frustrating and exhausting season for me but also a rewarding one as I see her make progress daily. We’ve spent precious time together in worship and prayer, and I’m grateful for that. God has used our army of helpers to mitigate the difficulty of this season and to show God’s love and goodness to us in a myriad of ways.

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