The Look & Feel of Prayers In Action

“I hope you could feel the breeze of our prayers stirring the air in her room, in the car, at your house and in the hallways. We were all there.”
–Email from a dear family friend from our hometown.

Shortly after my sister popped her head into her guest room in Portland to say goodbye to my mom last Tuesday around 8:40 a.m., the prayers started, and the divine orchestration unfolded.

She was simply going to tell my mom that she was taking my nephew to preschool. Instead, she found my mom sweaty, shaking and feverish and having a hard time catching her breath. My sister knocked on the bathroom door, telling my college roommate—who was in town visiting colleges with her 17-year-old son—that she needed help. They soon called 9-1-1. My brother-in-law got the word and sped home—running more-than-one-but-less-than-ten red lights to get there. My friend helped answer questions as the medics arrived. Her 17-year-old entertained my nephew in the basement so he wouldn’t have to see grandma leaving by ambulance. My sister called me from the Emergency Room. My mom had sepsis, an infection that had spread to her bloodstream. She was going to be transferred to the Intensive Care Unit. I knew I needed to head South.

The only two words on my calendar for the week: Spring Break.

I re-packed clothes from our Easter trip and got on the road with my two boys and one cheese pizza.

Late that afternoon, after 3 1/2 hours of driving, I stood outside my mom’s room, being updated by one of the doctors, who, as it turns out, lives near my sister. Another one, who lives across the street and a few houses down, stopped by to check-in. As I listened to the words, reality started to sink in. “JUST STAND,” I told my legs. That’s not what they wanted to do. Quite opposite. They wanted to crumple to the floor, collapsing in a heap. Finally in Portland, finally in the hospital, I just wanted to curl up and bawl, as my one parent lay fragile and healing, just feet away, amid monitors and medications. But my legs followed my command. They stood. They held me.

My brother-in-law generously took the rest of the week off work. My college roommate extended her trip by a day. They were there to step in, hang out with the boys, and just be so that my sister and I could spend time with mom at the hospital. We could focus on mom and her healing, and that was a blessing beyond words.

But the blessings didn’t end there. An aunt, also a nurse, who called with comfort, understanding and reassurance. A neighbor who loaned us a bike. Another who brought homemade soup. A doctor from Gilroy who called with information to help with my mom’s care. And with every Facebook comment and like, every email, every text message, every voicemail, every phone call, we felt loved. We felt cared for. We were in it together.

We felt prayer in action.

So here’s what Spring Break looked like for the boys: A gourmet salmon dinner cooked by my brother-in-law, who also took all three of them to a Bouldering gym and baked homemade pizza with my 9-year-old, who got to watch the Miami Heat, Giants and Mariners with one really cool high schooler. There were bike rides around the driveway and through the neighborhood, with squeals of delight. An impromptu sidewalk game of tetherball. New Nikes. Disco dance parties in the morning. Silly, nonsensical preschool jokes, like “Why did the road cross the road?” Soccer, t-ball and basketball together.

And here’s what Spring Break looked like for me: I got to eat falafels with my college roommate and talk about life, grief and the San Francisco Giants. I spent so much time at my sister’s house that I finally learned that yogurt lids go in the compost pile, not regular garbage, after being scolded like I’m some kind of moron. I got to fold clothes with her. I got to laugh with her at the fact that Ratt’s “Round and Round” was playing on the radio as we drove around a roundabout. We got to care for my mom together.

And mom? The nurse became the patient. She got excellent care. She was right where she needed to be. Her body responded, she healed, and her strength of spirit and that resounding, cheerful, beautiful laugh shined through. She returned to my sister’s yesterday and will come up here for some extended R & R. We will get more time together.

It was a Spring Break to remember.

“I hope you could feel the breeze of our prayers stirring the air in her room, in the car, at your house and in the hallways. We were all there.”

We could. And you were.

And we are grateful beyond measure.

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9 thoughts on “The Look & Feel of Prayers In Action

  1. So beautifully woven TOGETHER sister. Although yogurt lids go in the recycle, not the compost! I’ll cut you some slack. this time!! I love you and am so grateful we’re in this TOGETHER.

  2. Ha ha! I was wondering what kind of yogurt lids you had up in them parts (those weird Portland people) that they needed to be composted. Kira: get your face on Facebook…awesome writing/blogging. Can’t wait for you to be published someday :).

  3. Kira (and Krista)–I know just what you mean when you talk of “how prayers feel”. Prayers are powerful and wondrous and uplifting in healing the body, heart, mind and soul. I also know that you can never have too many of them when you feel your knees unable to hold you–for whatever the reason. I’m so happy to hear that your sweet mom is on the mend and that you were able to recognize the prayers said for her, and both of you and your families. May you feel continually blessed and loved and prayed for by all who love you!

  4. Amazing all the details that just were in the places they were supposed to be in!

    I used this thing that the Hagenbuch’s do so well in making and using support systems as an example of the contrast to being alone and having these things to go through… cause ***t happens to all of us. It’s the difference between thanks and despair through the rough stuff. You teach us all by your example.

  5. Kira (and Krista)… Thank you for writing for sharing for being there for your mom together. Sending love and more prayers. You are all awesome.

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