Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mary Jean

One of the sweet souls I have had the chance to get to know while here has been Mary Jean Harris. Mary Jean has the best gray white hair in church, she has three daughters, is a widow and loves her some Jesus. I met Mary Jean at a study we did as a church called Contagious Christian, we were in the same small group and then when we broke up into even smaller groups, we were together. She's fixing to be 82, she get's dizzy sometimes and while her mind is still sharp as a tack, I can see her struggle to get the words to come out right sometimes. Above all, is her quick wit and sense of humor. 

It was announced that Preacher man was being appointed to Sylvan Hills in Sherwood, right before communion at third service. I was sitting on the front row and as I looked to my right I saw Mary Jean. She doubled up her fist and shook it at me, on her way to receive the elements! When she came by me, I stood up, went to her, and asked what that was all about. She told me I'm mad at you for leaving me, I just got to know you! This fist shaking continued for months. I would always find her and give her a big hug and tell her that I loved her.

About a month ago, Mary Jean was at home on a Saturday and had gone into the bathroom, where she got dizzy. The next thing that she knew, she was in the tub and could not pull herself out. Her oldest daughter was to meet her at church on Sunday, but was stood up. Hattie, her sister-in-law, got concerned when Mary Jean wasn't at church and got a friend to go to the house to check on her. They found a side door open and found Mary Jean, still in the tub. 

Mary Jean has broken ribs and when she get's out of bed, has to wear this protective thing that makes her look like a turtle. She stayed in the hospital for about a week, they moved her out to Jamestown, a rehab center, where she started going down hill. Back to the hospital and we saw her yesterday and my heart just broke for her. They are talking hospice and where to put her. I grabbed a hold of her hand and saw the light come on in her eyes. I swear I saw down into her soul, looking into her eyes I saw things she could not tell me. She is tired, the pain is bad and as her daughters talked about how hard this was on them, she rolled her eyes!

My fear is she will die either before we leave or after we leave. I want to know why we can't take better care of our older people who really are full of wisdom. How come we can't help them die with dignity at home surrounded by family? Because it makes the rest of us uncomfortable? I know that death is part of life and that sometimes, we that stay need to tell them, that it's ok to go. 

When I go, I want to go, just like that. I don't want to hang on! I want to die like I've lived, full throttle, running with everything I've got right into the arms of Jesus!

God Speed Mary Jean, God Speed!

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