Hell and Heaven all at once – Part 2

Continued from Part 1 

Those minutes waiting outside of the Intensive Care unit where my mum’s life hanged by a thread, were the longest minutes of my entire life.  At that point I was not sure what was waiting for me on the other side of the door.  Eventually, the door opened and through it walked out my younger brother, my dad and my two sisters.  My older brother would join us soon after. I immediately felt faint and thought I would collapse, but I made it just in time to my brother’s arms and as I hugged him tears just began to pour out, which became more intense as I gazed at my dad whose eyes were also full of tears.  My dad, a man whom I have never seen crying.  I don’t know what made me more sad at that point, whether my mum’s predicament or a family torn by the pain and fear of losing the bone and marrow in the family: my mum.  I went from one relative to the next, embracing them and in floods of tears.  Once I greeted them all, they told me that mum had made it through the night and that she was still in a comma.  They tried to prepare me the best they knew how for the moment I would see her, but I knew it was all in vain.  They explained that when she was rushed into the hospital all the doctors could do was cut a hole in her head to release the pressure created in her brain by the severe haemorrhage.  Whilst this was helping, there was not knowing whether she would pull through.  She needed an operation and fast but the doctors would not intervene until her vitals were stable. So with all this in mind, my sister begged one of the members of staff in the unit to allow me to go in and see my mum as I had just flown in from the UK, she explained.  Only 4 people were allowed in at one time twice a day, and I had just missed the midday slot.  The nurse was very compassionate and allowed my sister back in with me, although he insisted on us being quick and quiet. 

As expected, it was a terrible shock to see my mum connected to multiple machines and with tubes popping out of various parts of her body.  Her eyes were closed and she laid there totally helpless.  As I came back out I felt so grateful for having had the opportunity to see her and speak to her.  I thanked God for the way we managed to make it to Bilbao so quickly and without any obstacles.  I thanked God that we are a big family and that we could all find comfort and encouragement in each other.  I thanked God for my husband who without hesitation insisted we should get on the first plane there, against my sisters’ advice who in the stress of the moment thought it best if we stayed behind until further news. 

We made it out of the hospital and headed somewhere all together for lunch.  Of course, my husband and kids were not allowed in, so for all that time had been waiting in a waiting room outside of the main building.  Once we were out, we met with them and all headed outside of the city to grab a bite to eat out in the countryside somewhere.  In the car I strongly felt God speak to me a second time.  The night before as I received the news and I helplessly waited whilst my husband was booking the flights, I sat alone trying to picture what I would say to my mum when I first saw her.  The kind of thing you imagine sometimes when you watch a film about someone dying, but you never really think you will have to endure.  Anyway, in the middle of that turmoil, the Lord gave me a vision of me massaging my mum’s feet.  In the picture I was not talking to her, but simply giving her some sort of relief by massaging her feet, which is peculiar because I have never ever done that before.  The picture was very clear and it kind of stuck with me.  I got in the car with my younger brother who was driving, and my two sisters.  My dad went with my husband and the kids.  I felt so happy that despite the circumstances and the language barrier my dad still felt at ease jumping in the car with my husband.  They have always got on like a house on fire, but I was worried that this time he would want to stick with us.  To be fair, none of us really knew what we were doing.  We all agreed that it felt like a bad dream and that it was all extremely surreal, though I fear I was the one who really could not come to terms  with being in the comfort of my own home in England one minute, and contemplating my mother’s death in another country the next.  As we drove to the restaurant, we were all struggling to maintain a positive mood and as we talked about whether mum could hear us or feel our touch, my sister said that she was planning to give her a foot massage in the coming days and that she would surely feel and enjoy that.  As soon as she said that, I burst out into tears and told them all that the evening before I had had the very same vision, and that in faith I trusted that mum would pull through for long enough at least to make that vision a reality.  We all cried, specially me, because though my brothers and sisters believe in God, they are always quite cynical of my spirituality and think I have taken my faith one step too far.  But God in his wisdom propitiated that perfectly designed encounter in the car during which there was no denying that something outside of ourselves and way, way beyond our own efforts, was giving us a strong hope and assurance that it would all work out, at least for a few days. 

I have to mention at this point that it has been my prayer for these last few years, but specially in these last few weeks that my family would come to know Christ intimately; I prayed that something would happen that would draw them to their knees in helplessness and sheer recognition that apart from God we can do nothing, we are nothing.  Just like when I prayed that my husband would be released from his limiting and frustrating job situation, my prayers were indeed answered but not in the way I would have ever chosen or envisaged.  That something that would release my family from self-reliance, pride, self-sufficiency and alienation from a personal relationship with God had finally come and it had come in such a manner that they would finally realise unequivocally that God was and is in control and that our every breath is held in the palm of his hand; that by His grace we are sustained and because of his mercy we still remain. 

Before all this happened, I thought I knew all this, but clearly, I had been deceived by the power and beauty of my own rhetoric, not really pondering in-depth about the true meaning of all these truths.  I had been playing at faith and God was taking me on a painful journey to show me that faith was not “make-believe” but the substance of all that IS and ever WAS and forever WILL BE. 


A beautiful strong woman, inside and out. 2005


To be continued in Part 3


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