Friday, March 31, 2006

I'll Write This Weekend, I Promise!!!

In the meantime .....

MAJOR prayer requests of various varieties:
»»» Last July, my mom's best friend's husband was killed in a car crash; the best friend was driving right behind him and saw the whole thing; he was pronounced dead on the scene. Yesterday, the best friend was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has already metastasized. My mom said that the pastor was pointing out that folks are looking for John Paul II to have his first miracle towards canonization and so maybe ....

»»» The wife of one of the teachers at my school has I'm-not-quite-sure-what-exactly, but I know that apparently she had a kidney transplant last summer ... and there were problems with it (rejection, perhaps?). She was going to have another transplant over Christmas, but she was having other problems (so I'm not sure if she got it or not). Today, there was an announcement that she was back in the hospital again (I feel like such a horrible co-worker, not having anything to say!). During December, when her problems were really bad, some of the kids in my class were talking about it -- they really like the teacher and feel horrible about the situation. One of them talked about something from last year, pointing out that "You know how when people have been married for a while, you can kinda tell? But you can tell that [the teacher] is still just SO in love with her." Today, after the announcement, one of my kids made a card for her & took it to the teacher. When she came back, she asked me to do special prayer request with all my classes for her --- when she took him the card, she asked if she should get her friends to all make cards (like she did in December); he told her that his wife won't even realize it. Then the kid asked about going to visit her in the hospital (which she's also done before), and he told her that his wife won't even know who the kid is. So ..... things apparently are pretty bad. I don't know how long they've been married, but I'm guessing he's maybe in his mid-to-late 30s, so .... it's still way too young to be facing this.

»»» And, speaking of my kids .... it's Spring Break ..... need I say more?

»»» For all the sisters in my community who are battling cancer .... some of whom seem to be reaching the bottom of the treatment possibility barrel.

»»» When I entered the community, we had assigned seats in church; I got to sit between Sr. Mary Hilary & Sr. Mary Ethel for my whole first year. I also became quickly involved in Ethel's Monday and Tuesday night card games, but it wasn't until January that I realized that she only LOOKED like a "sweet little old nun" -- it was all an act!!! I saw her in the dining room that afternoon and she asked if I was OK, since I hadn't been in church that morning. I had been knocked out of commission with what was later discovered to be bronchitis; at the time I just said that I was sick. I pointed out, though, that I was doing much better than I had been that morning -- "This morning I couldn't even talk." She replied with the oh-so-sweet "Well, I guess there are some blessings in life" or something along those lines. It took me a minute to process what she said, then a little bit more to decide if in fact she said what I thought she said. But, since I just got a grin back in response to my indignant "Hey" .... I knew I didn't misinterpret anything. And thus began my awareness of what she was REALLY like.

And it continued. And as it continued, I learned more and more the truth about this woman. It got to a point where I'd sit down at her lunch table and the comment would be "Well, look what's here" .... not "who." I don't quite remember when it was, but eventually I even lost my name. No longer was I Steph. Nope, now I was "Trouble." Even in church. If I was sitting next to her in Mass, when it'd come time for the sign of peace, she'd turn to me with a "Peace, Trouble" as she'd give me a hug.

Ethel's a good lady. She's somewhere around 85-ish (and been in the community for 68 years!), but still working as a Director of Religious Education for two parishes. She was thrown (rather unwillingly, to hear her tell it!) into the role of Novice Mistress during the extremely chaotic times just after Vatican II .... but she must've done alright for herself, since two of her first novices were also a part of those Monday & Tuesday night card games. She's had various cancers and brain swellings and all sorts of that stuff, back when she was younger. It was back in the day before radiation was as advanced as it is today, so apparently she's had residual problems with her intestines and everything else since then. Nothing too problematic, but definitely some issues from time to time.

Maybe six weeks ago, she ended up in the hospital for an illiostomy. They had some issues doing it, because of the extensive radiation burns that she's had. And, all those previous radiation problems are still making their presence known, since her electrolytes have been out of whack ever since then. She comes home for a bit, but it's only three or four days before she's gotta go back in and get things balanced again. Now she's also got a staph infection, bladder infection, and fluid on her lung.

My thought as I read that latest e-mail update? "Ethel better not sneak out on me the way Elaine did...." The way I phrased it during prayer requests in school today: "One of our sisters is having some major health issues and she's not supposed to die yet so .... that her body realizes that." I can't keep losing all my fun old fiesty nuns!

So .... blessings on you, Ettel, and know that Trouble loves you dearly.

4 Comments:

Blogger Lorem ipsum said...

Trouble? You?!

Blessings to Sister Ethel, your mom's best friend and your coworker and his wife... and to your other Sisters... and to the kids, who always could use some help when they're out of your sight.

4/01/2006 8:33 AM  
Blogger T.O. said...

Your intentions are in my prayers and on my heart today, Sr. Steph.

4/01/2006 9:46 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Blessings on all these intentions, Steph, and a special one for Ethel!

4/01/2006 12:29 PM  
Blogger Natty said...

I know what you mean about the Sisters slipping away on you--especially when you're not there to "see it coming." My prayers are with yours.

4/03/2006 2:45 PM  

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