I am the only one awake. The second hand arm of the clock clicks and is mixed with sounds of deep breathing and the occasional snore. I gaze at the faces of those sleeping around me as we occupy the two black couches and crowd on two single mattresses placed on the floor. These faces I have come to love too deeply and with a fierce protectiveness.
In just a few days, how can one muster up such strong, raw emotion? We relate it to summer camp, a mission trip, or (laughingly for some) rehab. But this is different. For we are family, brought together by God and Adrianna. Each member has a specific role they play in the care and love of Adrianna and the support of the family.
Adrianna’s mom chose this group as she asked us to stay with them ‘to the end’, not knowing the end would be so long. When the days drag on, she tried to think of whom to send away. After prayer, she decided there was no one she could put out the door. That would be another loss, another mourning. Knowing we will loose Adrianna is all we can bear right now.
Adrianna knows we are always here. Sometimes she calls us one in at a time. Other times she wants us all in her room at once. Mostly when we are all gathered we worship. But sometimes we pray, sit quietly, laugh, cry and even dance. We have videos to prove the dancing!
Adrianna is all about making relationships right; with God and within the family.
The first night, amidst laughter and fun and the homecoming, the family wanted a family photo. I jumped up to snap it as I was the new one in the group. They all cried out, “You are family!” so the hospice nurse took the camera. I felt special, but little did I know the debts of feelings for this group that would emerge in the coming days.
There is a fierce love and protectiveness for one another with the common goal of making this house first about God and then about Adrianna. We consciously put aside our desires and feelings to make this as easy as possible for Adrianna and her parents. This house has become a house of prayer and the family has turned into the body of Christ.
As I gaze over each special face sleeping around me, tears well up in my eyes. I don’t often let my guard down to love this fiercely. But they love me and I cannot help but return it. They know I have a tendency to retreat but will not let me. “I’m not like you,” I say. “I’m not ghetto!” And they laugh. We all laugh.
I cry, once again as I type these words as my heart fills with gratitude for God allowing me to become a part of Adrianna’s life and a member of this ‘family’.And so, we continue to wait and pray that God will take Adrianna soon into his arms. In the meantime, we will continue to love, pray, worship, and be a family.
When Enough Is Enough
The First Week of Hospice
Dancing With Jesus