Mother of Mercy

I’m gonna be honest.  Right now, I have forced myself into this chair to type hoping it will calm me down.  My heart is racing, my hands trembling; my mind is spinning out of control.  This has been quite a week.  At this moment, the gift I am giving myself is to simply spew it.  This is what I would call a “stream of consciousness” entry.

Have you ever had a friend you just cherish beyond words?  God has blessed me with a handful of them.  I just call them “my girls”.   They are the cream of the crop, each with amazing gifts that make them incredibly special to me.  My friend Julie is the REAL DEAL.  She is a loving mother of 3 boys, an artist, quiet and unassuming, funny, selfless, and one of the finest women I have ever known.

As I wrote earlier this week, my wonderful friend, Julie, lost her mother a few days ago.  I omitted details from the day she died on my previous entry.  See, the thing is, I had been with Julie most the afternoon that day this world lost Nula.  Julie had what I call a “Lucy and Ethel moment” and fell down the stairs and onto her garage floor the day before her mom died.  When I got the call to take her to have her leg checked the next morning, we both assumed she simply had a bad sprain.  Wrong.  The ankle was broken.  We talked and laughed and determined that it was annoying as heck, but nevertheless possible, to survive 6 weeks as a mom of 3 without being able to drive.  She picked out a purple cast….the ideal color for the mom of a Guerin Catholic Golden Eagle football player.  We found the sunny side, and I promised that we would help her through.

When she got home, news reached her that her mom had taken a major turn for the worse, and that doctors didn’t think she would make it through the night.  This was jarring.  Despite the fact that she had been ill, the end came very suddenly and was without warning.  The prayer warriors went into overdrive that night praying Divine Mercy for Nula and strength for Julie and her entire family.  Word came just a couple hours later that God had taken Julie’s mom.  Julie sat beside her mom’s bed in a wheelchair herself, filled with angst, in that quickly forgotten purple cast.

Funeral plans were made.  Eulogies were written.  We painted Julie’s toes purple to match her accessorized right leg.  Casserole dishes and platters full of cookies appeared.  Four priests concelebrated the mass, and Deacon Rick was “robed up” too.  It was a beautiful celebration of an amazing life.

SIGH.  NOW, it seemed time to let my friend have some room to mourn with her family.  Then, the phone rang.  It was Julie.  She wondered if I could take her to the doctor.  Her good leg was hurting more than she thought it should.

Two days post funeral, there we are in the doctor’s office again.  The doctor looks up at us and says, “I’m going to need you to head to St. Vincent’s now.  They will confirm things for you, Julie, but I believe you have some blood clots in your leg.  You need to go immediately.”

I was thinking, “Goodness.  That’s a fine how do you do, God.  Really?  Hasn’t she been through enough this week?”  Off we went, trying to remain calm.

Within half an hour, the ultrasound technician confirmed the diagnosis.  Her good leg has quite a few clots.  More tests were ordered.   Tears streamed down my friend’s face as I held her crutches, and her necklace, and her hand.  “Jules, this is when trusting God feels really hard, but we have to try.  He and I are gonna have some words tonight over you, FOR SURE, but our job is to trust Him.”

I went to get her a tuna sub from Subway, and I called her husband.  He left work, and we tried to see the sunshine.

Yesterday, more doctors were consulted.  Specialists galore, friends, and family swirled about.  She was sent home to rest and wait for instructions.

Now four days since her mom’s funeral, she finds herself in a chair, in the same hospital where her mother passed away last week, with her purple cast, a left leg full of clots, getting a blood transfusion.  It seems her blood counts are poor.  It’s REEE-DAMN-DICULOUS!  Why now?  None of it makes much sense.

Her concern is for her children.  She is texting me not to forget the youngest son’s cleats.  There’s carpool pickup, practice, and don’t forget the 9am football game.  Every mom can relate.  There’s no way to be present and peaceful in the moment until you are certain your children are safe and in loving hands.

Tonight I will have some extras at the Thieme house.   There will be picking up, dropping off, packing bags, watching games, meal preparation, kid bathing, sleeping bags, and extra hugs needed.  I wish I could do more.

To all the people today to whom I seemed distracted or even rude, I was.  I’m sorry.  Gus, greatest handyman ever, thanks for saving my house from the leaky plumbing while I talked and talked and talked on the phone today and completely ignored you.  I’m sure you’d like to give me a piece of your mind about my tacky hand waving.  A nice tip will be forthcoming.

Here’s the thought I can’t quite escape as my heart hurts for my friend.  Who do we want when we are sick and struggling?  I can’t speak for you…..but I want my mom.  Gosh.

Jules, this is my prayer for you.   I’m asking Mary, mother of us all, to watch over and intercede for you this day.  She will, because you are beloved.

HAIL HOLY QUEEN, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope…..



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