Monday, October 19, 2015

Goodbye Grandma Rita!

In September, Joe and I received a phone call from home.  Joe's grandmother was ill.  She was in the hospital.  Doctors determined that she had heart failure and would likely not live long.  They recommended hospice.

Hospice is recommended only for those needing end-of-life care.  Hospice is only for those with a prognosis of less than six months to live.  Estimating how long a patient may live is very difficult.  The doctors said she may only have days.

Grandma Rita lived for almost two weeks and died on 3 October.  She was ready.  For years, she told Joe's father, Skip, that she was ready.

The family made it possible for us to return home.  She would be thrilled to know that her entire family was all together for even a short time.  Even if it was for something as sad as her funeral.

Joe and I took a 9-hour bus ride from Toamasina to Antananarivo (the capital) to catch a flight out.  We flew to Mauritius to Paris to Chicago.  After 44 long hours, two teary-eyed mothers greeted us in the international terminal of O'Hare Airport.  We have since spent time with Joe's family, supporting and helping as much as possible.  Skip and Aunt Marianne, Grandma Rita's two living children, have been so strong.

It was a blessing to have this time with our family - though I am sorry it was brought about by such a sad occurrence.  We had not planned to return home until our time had ended on Mercy Ships, in November 2016.  This extra time is definitely a gift.

It is weird to be back in the States.  That is the best word I have.  Weird.

It is also healing.  We met our youngest nephew, Ben, who was born just weeks after we left last year.

We return soon to Madagascar, back to the work God has called us to do.