Days of Divine Appointment

Today was a rough day, and I knew it would be 5 minutes after I pulled into work.

There was a package waiting by the door; I puzzled for a mere moment and then remembered, it is The Brain’s custom-made urn. He has chosen cremation after his death rather than burial, thus he has been looking at various urns on eBay of all places. After several months of looking at urns or even large pieces of pottery, he found a man who makes black walnut urns. (I believe from this seller. Link only provided for visual reference.)

Then The Brain got an idea for what he would like – a hinged top that would open to a felt-lined compartment where he can place mementos and pictures. His “cremains” would be sealed in the bottom portion.

I wasn’t certain whether to tell him that the package arrived, so I placed the box in the living room. Yet, as he was waking up, he mentioned that his urn would be arriving today; I told him it had, and he requested it be opened after breakfast.

Opening a box that contains someone’s final Earthly resting place is a hard feeling to describe. It wasn’t the joyful opening of presents for Christmas or even the “Oh, yay! My order came” feeling. Yet it isn’t full of tears; the craftsmanship was excellent and all of us were wanting to see the final product, as there had been no prototype.

The closest I can come to describing my reaction to opening the box and showing its future resident the final product – sacred.

From there, we finished the morning routine. I always worry about The Brain in the bathroom as it is a quiet room; still and quiet to where he can think himself into a frenzy. I wondered if today would be a day where he decided to cry; I told his wife that I was expecting today to be difficult for all of them. We made it through everything for the morning and headed towards his office. Since the massage therapist needed to cancel today’s appointment, I asked The Brain if we could do some range of motion and other stretches. Unused muscles easily tighten and atrophy, which results in a lot of pain. Massage helps keep the muscles loose and somewhat flexible, which in turn, reduces pain.

As I stretched his arms, The Brain mentioned that he was disappointed his wife didn’t take interest in the urn, especially since he designed it. I offered some encouragement, but then he said something to the effect of, “She acts like she’ll put me in it then place it in a closet.”

I understood the fear behind that statement. It was the impetus for me to say, “You will not be forgotten. There are too many friends and family that love you to forget you. And there is an eternal God who loves you too much to forget you.

The flood gates of emotion for both of us opened.

We talked about his fears, his disappointed expectations for life, his need to talk with his wife and family. I encouraged him to not expect any reaction from people once he talked with them, just to be thankful that he was able to say what he needed. I even got to pull out some marriage advice for him by saying he should thank his wife for caring for him. To tell her how much he appreciates her sacrifices and the amazing job she has done being an administrator for his care. That he loves her. That because of her, he has lived closer to 5 years with the disease as opposed to 2-3 years.

There was a point that his wife appeared in the doorway asking, “Is everything okay?” It was my chance to exit. She asked him what was wrong, and all I said was, “It’s okay to let it out. Tell her.” And I left the room, closing the door behind me.

I cleaned up a few things and silently waved good-bye to The Brain’s wife.

And I cried; called a friend to ask if I could come over to process and bawled the entire 9 miles to her house.

About an hour later, I got a call asking me what the heck The Brain and I had discussed. I told his wife a general outline of the conversation; and she thanked me. They had never had an honest conversation about really what was going on or how either of them was feeling. Both were self-protective based on events in their pasts, so they had never been incredibly honest about how they felt. I relayed to her another point I brought up to The Brain – that it is hard to grieve and bond at the same time. Both of them are grieving, but they are doing so as two separate people.

I don’t know how tomorrow will go, nor the next day. But today is a day that I will selfishly look back on and be thankful for my role – even as hard as it was. Two grieving people needed to share their mutual pain and concern. God gave me the eyes to see an opportunity to share His hope.  And whether it’s me being a control freak or practical, I am thankful that I was chosen for this conversation. The other people in their lives would dismiss The Brain’s feelings with “Don’t worry about it” or “That’s silly.” He had valid fears and needed to express them.

As I was talking with The Brain, the only verse I could think of was from Psalm 23: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”

I pray that The Brain and his wife have less fear tonight even though they are still walking a LONG journey through the valley.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jylene
    Nov 03, 2012 @ 14:04:14

    peggy sent me the link to your blog so i have been looking for these posts. funny, because i remember hearing about this day from her. and now i know the rest of the story. i missed seeing you at my last visit and i hope all is well with you!


  2. Trackback: What People Don’t See « tallrayofsunshine
  3. Ellen
    Jul 26, 2012 @ 00:28:22

    Wow, Laura. It sounds like you shared some incredible wisdom and insight with them, even at the expense of your own emotions. Thanks for sharing about your day.



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