Saturday, 5 October 2013

To the Moon and Back

A couple of weeks ago when I was at the grocery store, I picked up a jar of Smucker’s strawberry jam. I love Smucker’s, but I rarely buy it because it usually costs more than all the other brands. While reaching for the less expensive and less tasty jam I normally buy, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of the sale tag on the Smucker’s. No questions asked, I grabbed a jar and actually kind of hugged it. I grinned from ear to ear not because of the $1.69 savings, but because the Smucker’s jam reminded me of Mike. When Mike did the grocery shopping, he didn’t care about the price. He would get the Smucker’s because he knew I liked it best. And that is just one small way he loved me.

Mike and I have had the same discussion regarding our love for each other many times over the years. It goes exactly like this: When he tells me he loves me, I ask him, "How much?" He shows me the distance of about an inch with his thumb and index finger. I say, "That's it?" He says proudly, "Compared to an ant!" And then I say again, "That's it?" He explains that compared to an ant, an inch is a lot. He says that an ant can't even stretch his arms out that far as he stretches his arms out as far as he can. I usually say one more time, "That's it?" Then he asks, "Well, how much do you love me?" I say, "To the moon and back compared to an ant." He replies, "Double that and you got me!"

Double? I don't think so, but maybe Mike has loved me more than I have loved him. He was always thinking of me, always doing little things for me like writing notes for me on the dining room table with Alphabits cereal, and he usually put me first.  He would probably say I did the same for him, but I just felt really loved. I still do of course, even though he is unable to dump out a box of Alphabits and construct a message for me...With a nod, a smile, a certain look in his eye and I know its love.

Last weekend, Mike's health declined very quickly. Friday it started...the coughing, gagging, choking and by Saturday afternoon, we thought it was pneumonia (pneumonia is really common with ALS). We were constantly suctioning saliva from his mouth and trying different things to clear the congestion. Saturday evening, completely exhausted and pretty much unable to breath, Mike agreed to go to the hospital. My sister, Elanna and I bundled him up, and we were off. Elanna drove and I sat in the back with my arms around Mike. We were all really calm on the outside, but on the inside I was pleading with God to give us more time. It seemed to happen so fast and I wasn't ready for this.

When we got to the emergency room of our local hospital, we were whisked in right away. Within fifteen minutes, Mike was having his chest x-rayed. Elanna and I were so surprised and really excited when the news came that his lungs were clear! His stats were great too! Like I keep telling Mike, he's the healthiest sick guy in town. Dr. Alan (a friend), the nurse and the respirologist were able to get things under control and in no time we were home again.

It's a week later and Mike is still fighting this nasty cold, and in his condition it's pretty devastating. Throughout this whole ordeal, his gestures of love have been on my mind; the nod, the smile, the certain look in his eye and all I can think is, "Double that and you got me!"

He'd reply, "Hey, that's my line."

Through thick and thin, Mike remains positive and courageous!

After reading my recent blog post, Heaven Scent, Mike's response was: "Man can't live on bread alone." From Matt 4:4 where it says: "It is written, man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Mike hasn't eaten anything by mouth for a couple of weeks and he is still!

Mike was given a medication to help dry up secretions. He tried the drops, but they weren't very effective, so he was prescribed the same medication to be injected. Elanna and I were given a lesson at the hospital, but the next day when I actually had to give Mike the injection and Elanna was at work, he coached me through it by typing step by step instructions.  When I was done, he typed: Good job…You are a natural…I feel better already. I left a bit of a welt, and it was red, but he just smiled.

In a Facebook message to me this week, Mike says – “I’m ready when He is.”

“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.” GK Chesterton


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