Death comes in springtime

As spring has erupted in color and light, we have watched my mother-in-law reach the winter of her earthly life. She suffered several strokes in March, and her decline has been steep and steady. Death is drawing very close now.

Rick has gone back and forth to Wisconsin, first to comfort his mother and recently to assist his father. On Easter Sunday, we all left our brimming-with-life church service to travel the six hours to say good-bye. We arrived on a gorgeous spring evening, the Wisconsin fields golden in the warm light. During the few days we were there, our children pressed in, bravely sitting with and talking to their much changed Geegee. Through tears, I did my best to model courage in the midst of tender good-byes.

She was so diminished, no longer bustling about the kitchen, listening to our latest news with an interested “Oh?” She could not speak or move, but there was an occassional alertness in her eyes that showed she knew who we were and was glad to see us. My father-in-law tenderly cared for her every need, taking time to hold her hand and speak soothingly if he sensed she was agitated. We watched him carry out his vows of 52 years and were arrested by the beauty of it.

As we await her passing, we are focused on how best to serve my father-in-law and to shepherd our kids through this first, huge loss. We are holding all the items on our calendar loosely, our personal plans suspended for a time. We are honoring her life by walking closely through its final days.

This blog has lain sleeping while I have focused my emotional energy elsewhere. My creativity is demanded in other places right now.

Below is a glimpse into the diverse beauty of our spring.

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©Laura Goetsch and Thinking about Such Things, 2017

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10 thoughts on “Death comes in springtime

  1. Barbara Gebhart

    Oh Laura, this made me cry.  Beautifully written….she was lucky to have you in her life as a daughter.  I’m sure she thought of you that way.  I will hold you all in my thoughts and prayers and may God keep you in the palm of His loving hand.  ❤️🙏🌈

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad

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  2. Irene Hahn

    Maybe once before have I read a blog…I just don’t go into that world. But today I did for a second time…beautiful words, incredible photos. Thank you for sharing! You are in my heart and prayers!

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  3. So, so hard.

    The deaths in my life have all almost exclusively come in the summertime. When the sun is its brightest and hottest and the trees’ leaves are flush and the flowers are vibrantly bloomed, death of my aunt, grandma, father…they all happened in June, July, and August.

    But I think this time of year, Spring and Summer, when life in the world is so abundant, is a time where God has built in reminders of his blessing, his providence, and his perpetuation of life after death. It is hard, hard, hard to lose someone, and sometimes you wish it were winter or the rainy end of fall to just have something in the world make sense along with the pre- and post-death grief you’re feeling. And then sometimes you just want that sun, something to cut through the hurt and sadness, and then it’s there in the liveliest part of the year. It’s a paradox whenever it happens, but it still is so stark in the spring and summertime.

    I had been wondering how you’ve been when I noticed you hadn’t blogged in a while. Take your time – we’ll be here to read whatever you wish to write when you’re able. For now, I pray that God continues to fuel your creativity and lovingkindness during this very difficult season, and above all you and yours feel his comfort and strength when feeling anything is hard.

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    1. Thanks for writing, Laura. The contrast between the bright, glowing spring and my fading mother-in-law was stark…but I took it as God’s gift in the midst of a hard season. The light, the color, the warmth were so needed. And, as we’ve looked back over the past few years, we can see so many signs that God was perfectly orchestrating the timing. Even moving us to Trinity in ’08-’12 meant that we were near my in-laws when my MIL was still in good shape and when she could build strong relationships with my kids. Those turned out to be our best years with her.

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  4. Pingback: Becoming Mrs. Goetsch – Thinking about such things

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