Thursday, April 01, 2010

I Packed My Black Dress

Some dates are easy to remember. A potent occurrence or event or emotion has seared the date into your memory. April 1st is one of those dates for me.

One year ago today, Lucas and I had just returned home from a long road trip from Idaho to California. We had spent a glorious week with both Lucas' California family and my family (minus Tyler and Meagan), fulfilling one of my mom's dreams to take her grandkids to Disneyland. As Lucas and the kids and I drove back to Idaho, my mom's health took a serious decline. She was in horrific pain as my dad worked hard to get her through the flights and car rides back to Arkansas to her oncologist. When they finally got to the hospital, the news was not good. Mom's cancer was rapidly progressing, and the doctors predicted that she might have as little as 2 weeks to live.

Lucas and I scrambled to find a plane ticket so I could get back to my mom. The best one we could find was the next morning, April 2nd, flying out of Portland. We left before dawn to drive 7 hours in the wrong direction so Maggie and I could catch a plane to Arkansas. Max and Lucas would fly in to join us the following weekend for Easter.

I remember standing in my closet in Idaho, unpacking my bag from California just to repack it for this heart-wrenching flight to Arkansas. I stared at my hanging clothes, numb and trying to decided what and how much to pack. I pulled a black dress off the hanger and let the material slink through my hands. Based on everything I had heard from the doctors that day, I was going to need that dress. It made me angry, and so very sad.

I know my loving and gracious and eternal Daddy was holding me in His strong arms that day. I wonder if, in the midst of His compassion, He still smiled a bit, knowing the best was yet to come. He knew He had a gift for me that I couldn't fathom in that moment: another beautiful year with my mom. A new job for Lucas and a move to a home 1.7 miles from my parents' front door. Grandmama's tea parties for Maggie. The forever gift of learning to read from Grandmama to Max. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Two Easters.

One year later, this week has been hard on me. I returned home from India to face the reality that Mom's health is again in a precarious position (at least from a human standpoint). She's in the hospital getting blood transfusions. She's not able to tolerate a full dose of chemo that, even at its best, only offers a few months of life to the 5-15% of patients with whom it is effective.

However, I know that the same loving, gracious and eternal Daddy is present with us today just as He was one year ago. He is no less powerful now than He was then. The ordained days for the beautiful life of Vicki Dees has not fluctuated. And I believe, in the mind's eye of my limited human thinking, He is still smiling just a bit, knowing that the best is yet to come.


Kristen said...

Cherissa, what a beautiful post. Continuing to keep your mom in my prayers and smiling knowing that God has a plan - and it hasn't changed one bit. <><

Jonathan's Mom said...

Thank you for posting this, Cherissa. We still pray for your mom's situation daily and this was very moving. Love you and praying for you.

Emma Claire said...

Thank you for sharing you feelings about your mom and what you guys are walking through. I have faithfully followed your mom's journey and pray for all of you as you continue to walk through each day. Much love.

Michele said...

love you and your mama. i am praying for you.

Jodee said...

You expressed your thoughts and full range of emotions so well. I know it will bless so many who are going through similar circumstances or who WILL do so in the future. We join you in being so grateful for God's graciousness and mercy and especially for His provision of salvation through His Beloved Son, so that we can face hard circumstances with real hope. I know your Easter Celebration this year will be even more glorious!

David said...

Oh my, that was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing that heart-felt message.

Anonymous said...

Cherissa, you are "all grown up" physically and spiritually. It is so wonderful for our generation to see that God is, indeed, faithful "to all His good promises," and that "not one of them has failed." As long as this earth remains, He will raise up His Godly seed throughout the generations. It's so great to see that you have learned to share so honestly from your heart, just like your mama!

All my love, always!

Anonymous said...


The Lord directed me to two passages the other night, after a very stressful & difficult week, that included a trip to the ER for Lydia. (Turned out to not be very serious). One passage was Eph. 6:10-18, reminding me that our struggles are larger than the world we see with our eyes. The other was Psalm 3:

1 O LORD, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!

2 Many are saying of me,
"God will not deliver him."
Selah [a]

3 But you are a shield around me, O LORD;
you bestow glory on me and lift [b] up my head.

4 To the LORD I cry aloud,
and he answers me from his holy hill.

5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.

6 I will not fear the tens of thousands
drawn up against me on every side.

7 Arise, O LORD!
Deliver me, O my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

8 From the LORD comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.

Continuing to pray for you all....

the schilps said...

oh rissa. that was beautiful. and i am crying. with you. for you. and, am so thankful for this Daddy that loves you and your mama so well, even in the midst of this. i am so glad He holds you near.

love you, friend.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that was beautiful, Cherissa.
nancy j

jillbradley said...

love, love, LOVE this post . . . oh how you touched my heart, Cheriisa!

The Mains said...

well said. praying! Love, the Mains

John and Janel Breitenstein said...

Thanks for this. Praying for more miracles.