I saw a terrible thing yesterday – Involving a mama duck and her baby ducklings and a freeway and a car next to me rolling through feathers. I saw a dead body, and downy feathers on little webbed feet scurrying into the woods without their mama. I pulled over and moved the mama’s still-warm body off the road, tried to call to the babies to come out, wanting to gather them in my arms and bring them home, and keep them safe. And who can I talk to about this ache in my heart? Who would understand?
There was a misunderstanding months ago in the supermarket, involving a woman in a Seahawks mask – I thought she could be a new friend. I tried to connect to her in the aisle between bulk foods and olive oil – “Go Seahawks!” I said, muffled behind my mask. She looked at me above her mask, and frowned, and I knew the Seahawks fan didn’t understand what I’d said – – she couldn’t read my lips or see my smile, and I’d scared her – she was Black and I am White and we live in a time of distrust and fear. The Seahawks fan left quickly, before I could explain. And who can I talk to about this ache in my heart? Who would understand?
I drove by a big rhododendron bush with fat red flowers and thought of Mom and the rhododendron bush she’d planted by the front door of our old home and felt a sudden yearning for her warm hugs and her words of comfort and reassurance. If she were still here I could talk to her about the orphaned ducklings and the woman in the Seahawks mask and my fears and worries and insecurities and she would love me. And who do I talk to now about this ache in my heart?
And the answer came in an instant – a joyous Presence enfolded me in peace and love, without question or judgment or condition or hesitation, affirming the power of Good: Love’s communication of never-ending Life and never-ending care for Her creation – care for ducklings, and a woman in a Seahawks mask, and Mom and me. Love knows what’s in my heart. She knows my intent. And I know I can let it all go – She’s got this. Love gives all Her children exactly what we need, exactly when we need it, and in the exactly right way – including Her ducks and Her child in a Seahawks mask and Her child who is my Mom, and Her child who is me.
Who can I talk to about the ache in my heart? My Father-Mother Love. Always and forever. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
“The intercommunication is always from God to His idea, man.” -Mary Baker Eddy
Excerpt from Scrapbook of a Year and a Day: January 19, 2020 to January 20, 2021:September 17, 2020 : Here’s what I need tonight – I need to remind myself that we can’t always see how things will work themselves out – and sometimes salvation comes in completely unexpected ways. I need to remind myself of the amazing things that I’ve witnessed and experienced in the last several years during times when I saw no solution and things looked pretty bleak.
Back in February 2017 I found myself in a position that seemed impossible. Mom was in the hospital with congestive heart failure and Dad soon followed her there with a UTI. They were on two different floors, both struggling to stay alive. I’d visit one and then the other – and then go home, on high alert, waiting for the phone to ring and for someone to drop some new crisis onto me.
Just two days before Mom was going to be released from the hospital into hospice care, a hospital social worker told me that it looked like the assisted living care facility wasn’t going to accept Mom back into her and Dad’s home because of her medical issues. I told the social worker that the assisted living place hadn’t told me anything about this, and surely they would have let me know, right? But she seemed pretty sure about this. So I called the assisted living place on Saturday and was told that Mom was going to be evaluated on Monday morning to determine if she could be brought back to her home. Which. Hospice needed to set things up for her – and they needed to know right then where they should send the equipment. I needed answers immediately. Finally, the assisted living lady told me (under her breath) that if she was me she’d be looking for another place for my mother and father.
I had two days to find a new home for my parents.
In a panic, I started calling other assisted living places and soon realized that the cost of the care my parents were going to need in the facilities would clean out their savings in a couple months. I thought maybe I could use my retirement savings to help them – but that wouldn’t last too long, either. And – honestly, I didn’t want to send my parents to some strange, unfamiliar place that looked like an institution. The thought came to me, then, that I should bring Mom and Dad into my home when they were released from the hospital, and provide the care myself. Scotty agreed to this plan and agreed to help. (I married an incredible man.)
I was still teaching full-time then – so this was going to be tricky.But I told the social workers at the hospital that I wanted Mom brought to my home when she was released on Monday. She asked me if I was sure – I think she was concerned about me – but I told her yes. It felt right. Hospice got in touch with me – bless them! – and, when Mom was brought by ambulance to our home, a hospice nurse came over and showed Scott and I how to care for her.
I’m so very glad Love guided me to make this decision for Moz. I’m so glad she was brought to our home, surrounded by our love. We spent the whole day telling each other how much we loved each other – and in the wee hours of the morning, while I dozed on the couch next to her hospital bed, she passed. I felt myself brushed by joy and peace and love, and woke to find she was gone.
So now I had to find a home for Dad – I’d promised Moz that she didn’t need to worry about him – that we’d make sure he was alright. Originally the plan had been to bring Dad into our home where he could be with Mom – but, now that she was gone, our home wouldn’t be the right place for him. He needed the kind of care that someone with skills greater than my own could give him. The social worker asked us if we’d ever looked into adult family homes, and gave us a booklet with names and phone numbers.
When I got home from the hospital after my visit with Dad and the social worker, I went for a walk – at this point I was completely emotionally and mentally stretched – feeling out of my depth and scared about the future – and I needed to find some peace for myself. And suddenly a rainbow arched across the sky – and it felt like a promise! – like Moz was there with me, reassuring me, telling me everything was going to be alright. I began making phone calls to adult family homes – and on the second call I felt I’d found the right place. My brother and I went over to check it out – there were bird feeders in the front yard, and cats and dogs – and I knew the woman who answered the door would have been someone Moz would have felt an instant kinship with. AND the cost of care for Dad would fit his budget!
I felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. We had found Dad’s new home – a place I didn’t even know existed a day before!
Whatever it is you’re going through – you are not alone. You’ve got a legion of people beside you who care, and who believe in you. You are making a difference. Every kind smile, every act of courage and self-sacrifice, every gesture of wisdom and good will is making our world a better place. There will be challenges today – “friends” may falsely disparage your character; you may be treated without consideration or appreciation – but you’re above all that. You know how to invest your time and energies. You know what you need to do and be to heal our world. Go out there and work your magic!