Wednesday, March 26, 2008

An Inspiration To Her Faith

Mom Lupole Playing Her Cowbells

Last year, as my mother in-law was wheeled from her hospital room, down the hall, to the operating room, the orderly wheeling her stopped, "I'm going to let her sit here, and wait for Dr. Anderson. You can wait with her. I'll be back for her."

She had a few minutes to tell her family any last words she had to say, before she underwent the operation to remove one of her legs. Soon, her doctor appeared, dressed in his scrubs.

As her family members all reached out to say their good byes before she was wheeled through the intimidating operating suite doors, her daughter, Pat showed the surgeon her other leg, "Dr. Anderson, look at this leg. It's worse than than the one you are taking off. Can't you take them both off at the same time?"

He reassured us, saying, "It looks worse than it is. But it really isn't. It might come back after the other one is taken off. I'd like to give it a chance." I think, in all realty, he thought, she might not make it through the first operation, let alone a second one, at the same time.

Dad & Mom Lupole in happy times

Her husband for 63 years had tears running down his face, as he tried to say any last words to his best friend and love of his life. It was the only time she shed tears over the ordeal she was about to face, but not for herself, for her husband.

"I love you, Bob," she managed to get out, trying to smile at him.

"I love you too," he answered her back, not knowing if he would lose her today.

My husband, Larry, her son, did not believe she would survive this operation. "How can she make it through this operation when she is diabetic and already in kidney failure?" he asked me.

She suffers, not only from Diabetes, but congested heart failure, has a pacemaker in, and because of the kidney failure, goes to dialysis three times a week. Bad arthritis has also hindered her movement in many ways. Not to mention, her age, of 82 years.

The hospital employees led us to a waiting room that was away from the regular waiting room, as we would have filled that room to capacity! We had many people stopping by all day to see how she was making out. She made it through the operation, and afterwards, we all donned hospital gowns to go in, and say a few words to her. Everybody taking turns.

In May, she was back for the second operation, to take her other leg. But this day, as we sat in her hospital room waiting for the surgeon, with the pastor of the church she was the organist at, she was sick. We felt the surgeon could not get there fast enough. She had gangre, and it appeared to be affecting her whole system. When the surgeon finally came, we felt like running her down the hall ourselves!

I was not brought up in a religious home myself. My parents, both were. But when they had children, they both worked, and I guess it wasn't something they felt was important for us, or had time for. They were good parents, and I am not faulting them for this. But that's just how it was when I was growing up.

When I married my husband, Larry, I knew his family was very religious. Though he wasn't as much, as the rest of his family. His mother, would really grind on me many times about going to church, about accepting Christ as my savior, about reading the Bible, etc. All it did, was to turn me off from it. I was never against it, I did believe in God, and did pray to him when someone was sick, or needed help. But I did not understand there was more to it than that.

My mother in-law is well known around Binghamton, New York, and the surrounding area, as she is a very talented musician. Playing a slew of musical instruments, including the musical saw and the cowbells, as well as the organ and violin. Her notarity comes from having played them for many years in the area nursing homes and churches. She even played the violin in the senior's orchestra. Every year she would win the talent show at the county fair, playing her musical saw, until they asked her not to enter, and give others a chance!

One of the hardest parts for her, has been the fact that she can no longer play her musical instruments. In fact, she had to send her beloved piano and organ to her daughter, Pat's house, so she could come home, and use her dining room for her bedroom. She thought she'd be able to come home, and do all the knitting, crocheting and needlepoint she never had time to do. But even that was not to be, as her finger on her right hand has arthritis so badly, that she can't even do that. She has to be satisfied sewing on her sewing machine and reading. Her son, Ken, who lives with his parents, has taken over most of the care of their home and his mother. He keeps the house running smoothly!

Wouldn't you think she would be very depressed? Nope, not my mother in-law! She's not depressed at all. I mean, she was a woman on the go! She used to go places and do things all the time. Now, she can only go to church rarely, as it is so much work to get her ready to go somewhere. I asked her recently, if she has depressing moments, and she said no, she does not.

I believe her. You see, her husband, Bob, her close knit family, and her faith in God has seen her through this. She has a real enthusiasm for life and the Lord. I found myself, seeing her as an inspiration to me. She made me question myself on where I stand with God, and what I want my life to be. I started reading the books written by Norman Vincent Peale, and reading them to my husband.

I marveled at her strength to be able to accept what she has gone through. Her faith is the cornerstone of her ability to live with complete dependence on others. She feels that she is lucky to be alive, and yes, she misses her legs and to be able to move around freely, but she is thankful for what she has. Her family and her faith.

Heart of God in Owego, NY.

My husband, Larry and I went to church for the first time together on Easter Sunday this year. We read the Bible every day together now. I have accepted the Lord as my savior, and want to live my life by following the Bible. I have also found that other areas of my life have improved at the same time. It must be my positive thinking!

Only a few months ago I had a conversation with her that ended with me telling her that nothing or no one would ever change my mind about following the Lord, and she said she was so glad to hear me say that. I believe that my mother in-law was instrumental in bringing me to becoming a real Christian, and wanting to learn more. I now feel that same enthusiasm, that she has always had!

As I am writing this now, she is in a hospital room waiting for her 84th birthday on January 13th, hoping to live to share that final birthday with her beloved husband, Bob. Yesterday, as my husband and I went to visit her there, she was surrounded by her family, and even though on heavy pain medication she shared a happy day with us all. Her granddaughter was there with her family, her husband and their eight children, and they sang the most beautiful song to her. I know that made her so happy, as her heart is in music. She listened intently to their singing, as the oldest was only 8! Not one was off key, as my husband, a musician also, told me later.

She did live to see her birthday and her son, Ken brought a beautiful cake for his parents' birthday. You see not only did they share 65 years of marriage, but also the same birthday four years apart. Her hospital room was kept pretty full that day as her sister in-laws and grandson and his family joined the rest of us there.

On January 17th, she went home to be with the Lord. Her death was a very profound experience with me. I have worked in the health care field and am very familiar with death and the dying process. But her death was like no other. She was watching someone or something on the ceiling. Her eyes were moving back and forth quite a bit. She even looked clearly toward the window, as if watching something. I do not think she could see the snowflakes coming down....but she was definitely seeing something or someone.

Everyone seemed to think she was in pain, but I do not think that was the case. I think she was in the transition period. I mean, here is a woman who had no strength to lift her hand to scratch her face, yet she was raising both of her arms up, as if toward someone up above! Even as she died, she was a testimony to her strong faith and love of God. I will never forget her or the wonderful things she taught me.....or tried to teach me. There is no doubt in my mind that I will see her again.

Copyright © 2010 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2010 Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated: August 2016