He lay there, a skeleton of a man. His every rib exposed and sunken in stomach spoke of a year of new sickness on top of his lifetime of other sicknesses. The shell of a once-strong and confident man crumbled into the hospital sheets. He stared off into a distant land. Unmoving. Laboring for breath.
and her reserved expressions
told a tale of a lifetime of respect and honor to others.
She reached out to his arm and stroked it, whispering in her native tongue. A tongue I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around and yet instantly knew dripped with compassion. She moved slowly, spoke quietly and almost floated to the other side of the room with the basket. Slowly each dish came out and was carefully set in its proper place. A mixture concocted. The family all watched her move. And stir. Slowly. Carefully.
The bowl rested on the side table as she removed her shoes and climbed into the bed. Her firm yet gentle arms slowly pulled him up. His blank stare, his helpless expression. Her biceps straining as she climbed behind him in one smooth move and propped him onto her chest. His full weight laying back on her as she crouched behind him, supporting his frail sitting. Carefully, gently she wiped his face and adjusted his shirt. He didn’t speak a word. She motioned for the bowl and her mother loaded the spoon full of his lunch. While the mother fed him, she propped him up with such strength that finds a backbone in love.
Three spoonfuls today and relief was found in her eyes…. until he coughed. And then she caught it all, wiping his mouth and his nose. Her hand was merely a tool. A tool used in sacrificial love. Not once did she think about her comfort or her needs, he was her sole focus. He couldn’t keep any of it down. The reality hit like a brick. Her face showed no expression, but her eyes told of great pain.
She waited patiently, receiving the last of the washing. Gently she laid him down. Tenderly she wrapped him in his sheet. Her eyes carried her heart. She stood there and watched him. His chest rising and falling. She adjusted his legs. She fanned away the flies and spoke quiet words to her mother. She cleaned up the dishes, rising some in the nearby sink. She emptied his bed pan. She redistributed the baskets and items to return home.
And then she leaned in, her arm gently touching the pillow by his head. She overflowed in tenderness. Her words floated in the air. He responded weakly. And in one word “vamos” we found ourselves in the hallway.
She would repeat this process until the situation changes. This is a familiar street for her. This road she has traveled so many times before. Sacrificially mounting her bike and riding what takes us 30 minutes by car to reach. Three times per day. Delivering three meals and caring for her brother. While she’s still working her full-time job. And raising a child. By herself. As a widow. At so young. She doesn’t speak of it. All attention she shifts to praying for her brother. Her example of selflessness as she falls asleep during her lunch break from sheer exhaustion.
These are the stories we don’t see.
The reports we don’t read.
And this, my dear friends and family, is your sister in Christ.
Lord, teach me. Open me. Change me because of this sweet sister.