I’ll never forget that Christmas morning smile. When I woke up and looked at Mike, he was as bright as the Christmas lights. My first thought was, he’s happy to be here for Christmas. Mike wanted to say something to me right away, so I got the alphabet. “I would have said Merry Christmas at 5:55, but I can’t talk,” he spelled. He had to go pee early in the morning and I mentioned the time.
The sadness is starting to sink in. I’m past the “shocked slash numb” stage that I talked about in my last post, although I’m still a little shocked (and still collecting rocks).
I’d give anything to go back to Christmas morning, just to get a glimpse of his smile one more time. It’s like I didn’t see it coming, but everything leading up to Mike’s passing was a clue it was near. I feel kind of dumb now, but I think God was preparing me and protecting me at the same time.
The following is a quote from my November 29 post, ‘Trooper’, “After Mike was all tucked in and comfortable in his bed, I said, “Let’s pray.” I stood beside his bed and started to speak … I opened my mouth and without thinking, the words just came; the Spirit moved in a mighty way. I could barely keep up with the words, it was like a river of words flowed from my mouth and a river of tears flowed down my face. I ended the prayer by saying, ‘Lord, whether we have a really short time left together, or if we have more time than we think, please prepare us to part.’”
I asked God to prepare us to part a few times and looking back, it’s obvious He had been preparing us for a while, and even though I figured so, I still didn’t believe it was actually going to happen. I was just so surprised. I must have rocks for brains … or God was protecting me. You can be prepared to die, but very conditioned to live and hopeful to the very last minute, that something will happen and take the love of your life off death’s door step and put him back on the front lawn. Hope goes a long way and I think it’s one way God protects us.
Mike was ready to let go for quite a while before he finally did. I think he stuck around for me and the kids and the rest of the family, but he had heaven on his mind for a long time.
On November 16, I wrote the following in my journal; “Tonight after a long session of suctioning in the bathroom (Mike was on his commode), while down on my knees cleaning up things, Mike and I caught each other’s eyes and exchanged a long smile. Then he motioned for the alphabet. With the same smile, he spelled out, ‘I can’t wait to see you in heaven.’ When he got to ‘you’, I knew what he was going to say and was overcome with emotion. Able to hold it in, I only started crying at ‘heaven’.”
I told Mike that I’d meet him for a picnic when I get there and I whispered the same thing in his ear a few minutes before he left us.
Mike has been taken off death’s door step and is fully alive on the other side. I can only imagine what he’s been up to, and at some point, he’ll size up a nice patch of soft grass by a crystal clear river for our picnic … he’ll probably pick some flowers and maybe we’ll even collect some rocks.
PS - Our friends Neil and Donna came for a visit last week. It was so great to see them! They were at Mike's memorial service, along with their daughter Deana, but I didn't get a chance see Neil there amongst the many people. Neil and Donna always speak with so much hope. Their hope for Neil's healing and a cure for ALS makes me happy and reminds me of me and Mike. We won't lose hope!
Neil, Donna, Mike and Me at the ALS Walk at Mill Lake in Abbotsford last spring
Mike thought Neil looked a little chilly so he offered him his Leafs blanket - looks good on you Neil!
Go Team Hemmings!
Mike and me at the ALS Walk - A picture by Donna and Neil's granddaughter, Evie. I love how the sun is shining right down on us!
PSS - Lots of people have been asking about my book, Hold On, Let Go. It officially comes out on Amazon on April 2 and is available now (pre-orders). Copies have already been sold and I just found out, it's already a best seller in three categories (which means top 100 in those categories) ... wow, I'm so honoured! Local friends and family can also get a copy from me. I'll have some copies for sale pretty soon - I'll do a local book launch or something.