~The insights of crappy Jasmine gal~

Monday, October 08, 2007

Story: Mom’s Cure for Mrs. Litch

I got this story from my friend's daily dish, which he stopped already.. Sighz.. Decided to share it with everyone.. Enjoy reading..

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Mom’s Cure for Mrs. Litch
Lois Hoadley Dick
Christianity Today International, May/June 1998, Vol. 36, No. 3, Page 67


The medicine for her real ailment didn’t come from a doctor

My mother was widowed at age 54, left with a mortgage, no bank account, and no job skills or experiences. I gave up thoughts of college and went to work in an office. Meanwhile, Mom prayed for a job and took the only one listed in the local newspaper—a home nursing position across town.

Her first day on the job was dreary with rain. The atmosphere wasn’t much better at Mom’s destination. She was shown in by Mr. Litch who tried to prepare my mother for what was to come.

“Cancer,” Mr. Litch said in a low voice. “She never gets out of bed.”

“I’m so sorry,” Mom ventured.

“Oh, not the real cancer,” he explained. “She has a fear of cancer. She only thinks she has cancer. Her best friend died of cancer and she’s convinced she caught it. No doctor has been able to help her.”

Mom could just make out a middle-aged woman curled up in a fetal position in the bed. The drapes were closed and the room smelled of musty bed covers and urine.

Mrs. Litch lay with her eyes closed, a ridiculous blue cotton nightcap tied around her head. From time to time she sighed deeply.

“Listening to that sighing was the worst part of the job,” Mom told me later.

Mom gently gave Mrs. Litch a sponge bath and coaxed her to eat, a half-spoonful at a time. Mrs. Litch didn’t want to talk. She seemed in a half-conscious state, never moving, only sighing.

Mom brushed her hair and turned her in bed, with a few feeble efforts on Mrs. Litch’s part. A very long day stretched ahead of them both.

As the hours passed, Mrs. Litch began to respond. No, she didn’t want the radio on. No, she was too weak to sit up. No, she didn’t want to look out the window; it reminded her that life was going on all around her, while she was sinking rapidly.

Mom filled the time by reading aloud some magazines and a book. She made a mental note to bring some sewing the next day. It had been a long first day.

Catching the bus home, Mom rode for about forty-five minutes, then walked uphill in the rain before she got home. She was too exhausted to eat supper.

Little steps of progress

Day after day, my mother trudged through her routine. She listened to Mrs. Litch sigh and breathe out a growing list of self-diagnoses.

“It’s in my throat today. I can feel a lump there. And last week it got to my stomach. There’s such a heavy weight on my chest. I know it’s a tumor.”

Each day Mom opened the drapes a little further. Just an inch at a time. Now, the room was almost sunny and Mrs. Litch didn’t seem to notice.

One morning, Mom asked Mr. Litch if it was okay to read the Bible to his wife.

“Oh, well now, I don’t know,” he said, alarmed. “You won’t mention death or dying, will you?”

Mom promised, and that afternoon began to read. She read aloud softly from the Psalms, as though reading to herself, not sitting too close to Mrs. Litch.

Mrs. Litch opened one eye, much annoyed. “Don’t talk so much,” she complained. “My head bothers me today.”

After a few days, Mom switched to the Book of John, reading of God’s love and promises of eternal life in Christ. She couldn’t help noticing that Mrs. Litch opened one eye to “listen” to the Bible reading, snapping it shut if she thought Mom was looking.

Months passed and Mom grew fond of Mrs. Litch. The Bible reading continued and when Mrs. Litch would quaver, “I don’t understand what that means,” Mom put it in simpler words.

True to her promise, Mom never mentioned death or dying. Instead, she explained the way of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ slowly and carefully.

Bad news

When my father died, a rich uncle had taken out a life insurance policy in my name, pleased at my determination to support my mother with the office job. But after a time, I felt God’s call to work with a home mission to unchurched children.

I stepped out on faith, praying for God to provide.

When my uncle learned about it, he was furious. He immediately canceled the life insurance policy. We would receive no help from him. But Mom and I trusted the Lord and kept going.

At work, Mom now opened the drapes wide and helped Mrs. Litch sit up in bed each day. The patient was eating a little more, though she still sighed.

Mom detected that Mrs. Litch seemed to look forward to the Bible reading and Mom’s prayers for her. She assured Mrs. Litch she could pray when she was alone in the night, or at any time.

That Friday, when Mom left, Mrs. Litch was once again curled up in bed, her eyes shut. She made no sound, not even a sigh.

Not prepared for this

The following Monday, about two months after Mom had begun visiting Mrs. Litch, was clear and crisp. Mom arrived early for work, catching Mr. Litch still at home. He sat at the kitchen table staring into his cup of cold coffee.

“She’s gone,” he said. “Gone.”

Mom dropped her purse and sank down on a chair. “Oh, I’m so sorry. But she’s in heaven, I know it. She believed; I could see it in her eyes.”

Mr. Litch laughed nervously and splashed cold coffee on his pastry. “Not gone to heaven! Gone to the hairdresser, and then to buy some new clothes! She said there’s nothing wrong with her!”

He laughed again, understanding how crazy this sounded. “She’s out on a shopping spree, like old times. She showered and ate something and just took off in the car. Why, she smiled at me, her eyes dancing. I was so stunned I’ve been sitting here ever since.”

Then his eyes filled with tears. “I owe you a big thanks. But with my wife back to her old self, I won’t need you any more. I’m so sorry.”

Mom didn’t mind one bit being let go under those circumstances. That night she looked in the classifieds, saw a job for a housekeeper, and applied. After interviewing with the family, who lived only a block from our house, Mom got the job. She worked for them until retirement.

And the rich uncle? He never spoke to me again, but an aunt helped us financially all the rest of her life.

After retirement, Mom went back to teaching children for her church and Child Evangelism Fellowship—five nights a week and twice on Sundays!

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