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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

God said; "Ok" - Part Two

Jeff working at the Hurley Pro Surf Competition. Summer 2011.

Charlie and I left the hospital and drove home in near silence. We had pretty much said everything there was to say. We didn't really have to speak, we knew what our hearts were saying. But my heart kinda spilled over and I just couldn't hold it in anymore. I wept. The kind of weeping where your body shakes and you just can't stop. Charlie reached over and squeezed my shoulder. So unfair. I couldn't stop thinking that no one should have to deal with this horror. Especially not someone so sweet, so kind, so soulful. Parents should never have to watch their children suffer so much and for so long. It just isn't right. I couldn't wrap my head around it. He spoke of seeing God. What did he mean? I know he told Bry that he was at peace with God, but what was this "I saw God" thing?

Tonight Jeff would rest. We hoped it would be a good rest, at least as much as humanly possible given the situation. But they think they got all the infection and his intestines and kidneys were functioning again. His urine was clear and he actually wrote "Poop!" He smiled. We all laughed. Yay! Poop! I honestly never thought poop could make so many people so happy. Bry went to see Jeff after he got off of work. Though he couldn't speak, these two seem to know what the other thinks. Jeff made Bry laugh with all of his "thumbs up" signals and Bry made Jeff smile with football scores. When Bry got home, he talked with us a bit. It's hard for him, but harder for his friend. He doesn't complain. He just keeps being present for Jeff.

Monday morning, I saw Charlie off to work and then went to the hospital. His parents met me in the hall of CCU. Said he had an "okay" night, but he's upbeat in spite of everything. They removed the trach tube so he could talk a bit. His voice was soft and scratchy but he was communicative. I mentioned to his mom that he had written on the note to us that he had "seen God". Had he mentioned it to them. His mother smiled. Yes. He said when he woke up from the surgery, God was there. God asked him; "Do you want a quick life, or a long life?" Jeff responded; "I want a long life." God said; "Ok." Then Jeff went back to sleep. He told them it was quite vivid and that he felt that God was going to let him beat this and stay because he wanted to write a book. A book about being young, and living through cancer. His mom and dad both said that they don't know what happened, but Jeff began to rally. Some kind of light surrounded him. He seemed different. They don't know, they only know he's still here and he shouldn't be. I hugged them and went to see Jeff.

When I went in his grandma was there and the nurses had just finished giving him a bath. He looked at me and nodded his head and smiled big. The nurse asked him if I was a friend. He softly said; This is Pua. She is my best friend's mom.  She's one of my other moms." I melted. These boys have always had a way of doing that to me.

I stepped up to his bedside and held his hand. All the typical questions you ask someone in his situation, I asked. He said his pain was 1000 times less than yesterday and he sure would like a taco. I laughed. I imagine he's qite hungry. He told me quietly that they would be closing his open incision tonight or tomorrow. Suddenly, quite without warning and to my surprise, he began to pull his gown up to show me his very large incision. I suppose when you have been through all he has been through, there is no such thing as modesty. This once shy boy was now a quite matter of fact cancer fighter. I had to smile at his tenaciousness.

I got up close to him and said I wanted to tell him a story. He nodded. I put a little pouch in his hand and squeezed his hand over it. "Jeff, you know how my nickname, email name, license plate, everything says 'Kekai'? (he nods). Well, it means 'the sea'. I've always been 'The Sea Girl' because my parents never could get me out of the water. I've always felt happy there. (He nods enthusiastically and gives me a thumbs up). When I was little, my mom gave me this. I want you to hold it for me now." He opened the little pouch and took out my mother's rosary. "The beads are blue because they look like the ocean. You and Bry have always been my ocean boys. So you borrow this for awhile. Until you are strong and out of here. Then you can give it back to me and we will go down to the ocean and play in it together. All of us. Just like we did in Maui. Okay?"

He kissed my hand, kissed the rosary, and said; "I promise Pua. I promise we will do that." I left him to rest and went back to talk with his parents for a little while. They needed some talking time, I could sense. His mom was as "usual" herself as she could be. She said he had written them so many notes when he couldn't talk and was more demonstrably affectionate than he had ever been. It was nice to see them smile. It had been so long. I told them I would be back and I let them get back to their son.

I have had a long and difficult spiritual journey and the truth is; I'm still not one of God's biggest cheerleaders. I've been so hurt and so damaged by people who call themselves "His" that it is hard for me to trust. I also struggle with a loving creator who would allow such pain, especially if he is all-powerful and can do anything. Here we are, this couple who answered "a call" to full-time ministry and packed up everything, lock, stock, and barrel and went 1300 miles away to seminary. Only to become so disillusioned and return to a church family who basically shunned us for being "disobedient". Still, I respect people to believe as they will and who am I to question the spiritual journey of someone who is SO deserving of a reason to believe?

My son wisely said that whatever brings Jeff peace, bring him peace. That's where I am. It doesn't make all right with the world for me. But then again, this isn't about me. It's about him. Right now, my peace is Jeff's faith and that is all that's important right now.