Bill and I spent several months in the James Cancer Center with Mom. We took turns taking care of her, bathing her, dressing her, reading to her, and playing card games with her when she was awake. Even then, it was a struggle for her to hold a conversation. The leukemia didn’t let up and her neck and face were continuously swollen making it difficult for her to swallow or even speak. One day, I had been watching her sleep for several hours when she started crying. Still asleep, with tears streaming down her face she muttered, “I don’t want him to fall in love with someone else.” Even though I was certain that wouldn’t happen because her health was going to be restored, hearing the fear in her voice broke my heart.
The waiting room was tiny, but cozy enough. It only held maybe 5 or 6 chairs, a television, a small table with a box of tissues on it, & 2 individual bathrooms. It was my home for those months. I bathed in the sink and every few days Krystal brought us fresh clothes and something to eat from The Exodus House. We missed Hannah’s 9th birthday and Thanksgiving that year. Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday to spend with Mom. We would get up before the sun and bake an endless string of pies, cakes, and cookies. “A whole dessert for every person” was her motto.
Our services and gatherings through these months had one theme.
October 15, 2006. 1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, like a roaring lion watcheth about, seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” Steadfast Resistance. Your faith is power. Bill’s message this day was of a “holy rebellion against the things that are not of God.” Leukemia is not of God.
December 3, 2006. John 14:12 “Verily, Verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also.” Endurance.
December 12th, 2006. Romans 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” The laws of kingdom are life. Defiance: Defy Sickness, Defy Death.
We were amazed by Bill’s endurance. His faith could not be shaken. He stood steadfast in the words he heard from God. From Africa, Gary believed with us in faith for a miracle. He called frequently to check up on “mum” and offer his support. I was happy to be here with everyone & taking care of mom instead of standing alone far away in Kenya. When she was admitted to the hospital, she begged Bill to cancel my continental move. It was the right decision.
By the time our leader decided God would allow her to start chemotherapy, it was too late. Her doctor sent her home for Christmas. Unbeknownst to us, he sent her home to die.
Back at The Exodus House, Bill instructed everyone to continue praying and believing, which we did without wavering. He put Mom up in a room upstairs. It had all the pillows and blankets she needed to be comfortable, a humidifier, a CD player with life-giving music on repeat. He stayed with his wife most of the day, every day, reading her scriptures and praying over her. He allowed us each to see her for 10-15 minutes a day. Before entering her room each time, we were reminded not to lament or grant disbelief a place in the house. Not even my little sisters or 5-year-old brother shed a tear when they saw mom with the deepest dark circles around her eyes and her glorious long black hair gone from her head. God would grow it back, just as he would destroy the cancer that was coursing through her veins. They wouldn’t dare allow Satan to use their tears as tools of doubt.
There was one exception made when her brother, my Uncle Craig, came to visit. He and mom were exclusively close as children, best friends. We hadn’t seen him in a long time. He is tall and broad. He shares Mom’s green eyes and compassionate heart, but isn’t submissive to anyone, especially Bill, like she was. Mom easily persuaded him to pick up his guitar to sing and play for her. Over the years, this was my favorite part of Uncle Craig’s visits. He possesses the gift of music which seems to run so dominantly throughout our family. His voice is deep, rugged, and filled with emotion. We all listened in and despite Bill’s rules, Uncle Craig wept. He stayed with his sister for hours.