My wife had only been home a few days following a six month long stay in the hospital and rehab as a result of an unprecedented medical journey that started with a ruptured frontal lobe aneurysm. Little of her true personality remained, but on the eve of Easter, a spark of her true nature surfaced. She wanted to give Easter baskets to our little grandchildren. I need to pause to tell you that I am a bit of a purist. Many of the Easter and Christmas traditions have little to do with the Christian faith.
Sue was in a wheel chair. I knew the trip to Walmart was beyond her physical and mental abilities at the time, but we went anyway. (Wasn’t that so good of me? Read on.) The Easter section was at the front of the store. I saw swarms of people, who had waited until the last minute, grabbing whatever was left on the shelves. That alone was enough to make me want to leave immediately.
With little physical strength, battered mental abilities due to five brain surgeries, and more complications than I have time and space to detail, my wife was doing her best to bring a smile to little kids faces. I, on the other hand, was not only being an Easter Scrooge, but also I was being a miser like Scrooge. I knew my wife would never work again. I had no idea what the final medical bills would be, and I had just cut my salary by 60% due to lack of funding. I had an objection to just about everything she considered, mostly due to the cost.
I had honestly forgotten all about this ugly Easter Eve event until our daughter reminded me during a discussion on burnout - mine. She had been close to the Walmart that Saturday evening before Easter and had come to the rescue. Sue and I had already been there almost two hours. Our daughter immediately noticed my state of mind and quickly helped Sue find a simple solution. The stresses of life have limits, and I had reached mine that evening. Sadly, exactly three weeks later God took Sue Home.
Are you ready for my confession? I messed up big time, and I don’t even remember asking Sue to forgive me! She would have in a heartbeat. With all she had been through I should have done everything within my power to make that shopping trip a pleasant experience for her, but I failed miserably. Thankfully, God gave us a miracle the day before Sue died. She was back in ICU, but the old Sue, the Sue before the first aneurysm, was back and it was a wonderfully blessed day by her side. She conversed normally with very little confusion, she smiled, we kissed, and we talked about Heaven. Although that day was an enormous gift, I had no idea it would be our last day together!
May I summarize what I have learned? Life is too short to sweat the small stuff. Be slow to anger, quick to forgive, and quicker still to seek forgiveness. Make everyday a good day with those you love. Tomorrow isn’t promised!
Elder Source Senior Ministries
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