Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Rest in Peace

8:37 p.m. Today's project was to attend the Christmas meeting of a very exclusive but rapidly growing group--caregivers of dementia and Alzheimer's victims. We exchanged tasty party snacks, white elephant gifts and personal stories of struggles with loved ones. Best of all were the recounted victories over the medical establishment in the quest for earned, promised, and legally deserved care for our loved ones. Thanks to the vision of Mary and Darlene of the Riverside County Office of Aging, knowledge gained in the 12 week course won the day when shared pointedly, placidly, politely and patiently!

My next stop was the dentist, the third leg behind the chiropractor and the physician, of my pursuit of an answer to the pain that  runs sporadically down the left side of my head and into my jaw. Sweetener from the Lord: since the staff discovered that I was due for my free cleaning any way, I emerged from the "nothing's wrong" exam with sparkling clean teeth for Christmas!!  God is so good to His kids, isn't He? Psalm 34:10 says,

The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

I received no suggestions other than my doctor's prescription for the steroid Nasonex to combat the ill withdrawal effects of an addictive over-the-counter decongestant. Haven't gotten on board with that, but do want to find and begin use of a natural approach or supplement before I've completely ruined my liver with ibuprofen!

Another matter had been bothering me all morning. A Facebook message I'd gotten in response to wishing a friend Happy Birthday about 7:30  had me puzzled. This private message from another good friend said that Pamela had died over a month ago! Pam was one amazing woman. A lifelong loner, she had let a lump in her breast grow to grapefruit size before seeking help, at our Bible study women's insistence.  Stage Four, it was declared, and a whirlwind of treatments began. Pam had retired and had an unreliable vehicle. So a list to which I contributed the names of my summer Bible study ladies, was formed for Jan in the church office, the names and numbers of women able to drive Pam to all of her dr. appts, chemo,and radiation treatments. I had just retired, so I joined in on my available days, and Steve even went one time. Pam and I always had excellent talks, at her apartment or when eating out together. Her good experience with Tate, a Christian publisher, in writing her poetic book Naming Horses, gave me the impetus to submit my Galatians Bible study, and it too became a book. After intense revisons and corrections, Galatians: An Exploration of Faith & Freedom came into being.

Through the ministations of ladies, including seating Pam with their families at Thanksgiving and Christmas, Pamela became the outspoken, humourous person she had kept deep inside her imposing frame. As I was telling a nursing assistant  in Steve's hospital room, Pamela's cancer opened the door to many lifelong friendships.She was suddenly enjoying birthday lunches and outings to Rogers Garden Nursery at Fashion Island.  Pamela loved flowers! She loved her God, first and foremost. His gift to the last years of her life was that of koinonia, friendship centered in Christ. I had prayed for her recently because I knew she'd moved to a rehab center from her apartment, but hadn't caught up with her at church..

This evening, after a day when I'd left at 9:15 and returned about 6 p.m., and got the true facts, Pamela  had died, and her memorial service was on December 1st. How had I missed this? I see the small group of friends who helped Pam when I conduct Heart to Home classes, or just around at church on Sunday.. Thought I'd call Barb , and so she told me of the ceremony they'd had today in honor of Pamela's birthday.  On my rdge is a photo of a birthday party we'd thrown for Pam a few years ago,Barbara was totally shocked I didn't know! Everyone must have assumed I did. Steve was beginning to get unruly, and more time consuming in arrangement for his care. When I didn't make to the memorial, they probably assumed I had a difficulty and couldn't leave him.

Pamela's death is not about me! I love what Barbara said about Pam being in heaven now: "She's up there tending the roses." Any occupation in heaven will be pure delight! To be in the presence of Jesus will be joy indescribable ( See II Corinthians 12:1-6, Paul's time in heaven)). David had it right in Psalm 84:10,

For a day in Your courts is better
  than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper
  in the house of my God... 


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