Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Fresh Perspective

This week marks the one year anniversary of my nephew, Louis, getting sick. For those of you who don't know the story, I will give you the highlights. Louis lived here in Ohio for about six years. He was raised as a member of the church but was not active as an adult. Louis and I have always had a close relationship and so during the time he lived here we relied on each other for help and support.
Last April, he went to Mercy hospital with pain in his abdomen. He was transferred to UC where they treated him for a blood clot in the main vein coming from his liver. He was doing pretty well with his treatment, however during a procedure there was a complication which caused him to go into respiratory and cardiac arrest. The doctors and nurses were able to bring him back, but were certain that he would not live. I was at the hospital when this happened and it reminded me a lot of what you see on tv.
We were blessed to have two worthy Priesthood holders working at the hospital that night who were able to administer to him. The blessing was beautiful and comforting to myself and also his mother. In the days and weeks that passed, Louis got stronger and eventually was able to be moved to a long term care facility in Utah so his mother could be close to home. In Nov. he came home from the nursing home and now lives with his parents.
He still has a long way to go. He cannot speak, but his facial expressions let you know what he is thinking. He requires constant monitoring, but he is home and he is happy. This brings me to my story for this week...I called my sister to see how she was doing and the Relief Society president answered the phone. At first I thought I had dialed a wrong number, but she assured me that I had not. She told me that Martha was busy with Louis and he was having a problem so they were taking him to the hospital.
Later that night, Martha called me to explain that Louis was choking on some mucous and they couldn't get it out. She shared with me how wonderful and calm his brother, John, was as he called 911 and explained that they needed help. She said that John looked at Louis and told him, "Louis, you stay here with us. You don't go to Grandma! Stay with us."
As I have thought about that statement the past few days I am amazed at John's perspective. He is 16 years old and he shares a large portion of the responsibility to care for his older brother. It would be easy for him to resent the time he has to sacrifice to care for Louis. It would be easy for him to resent the time that his mother has to spend taking care of Louis. My sister said she feared that they were going to lose Louis and she was sure that my mother was there during this episode.
I also know that this past year for Louis has been frustrating. One day he is healthy and able to go about living his life the way he wants and the next he is trapped in a body that won't work. I have wondered what impact John's words had on Louis. I have marvelled at the love John showed for Louis. Most of all, I am thankful because I understand how John came to love Louis so much.
When John was little, Louis was a lot older and he loved John and always went out of his way to do things with/for him. One might think that would be the reason, but the real reason that John begged Louis to stay with them is because he truly loves him. I believe this love came as a result of the example of my sister and my mother. My mother cared for my handicapped sister, Julie for 20 years and allowed each of us to take part in that. The privilege of caring for Julie is one that I treasure to this day. I miss her a lot. Martha now is doing the same thing as she teaches her children while they care for Louis.
I know for a fact that we love those we serve and there can be no greater blessing than this. I am so thankful for John's insightful words..."Stay here with us." Don't feel like you need to leave just because you are tired, frustrated, too much trouble, or you think we are tired and frustrated. We will take care of you because we love you. We want you here with us. What a different world it would be if more people understood the power of unconditional love. Thank you John, for giving me a fresh perspective.


Patty said...

What a beautiful testimony of serving and loving. I especially loved "Don't feel like you need to leave just because you are tired, frustrated, too much trouble, or you think we are tired and frustrated. We will take care of you because we love you. We want you here with us." Imagine if we all felt a little more of that towards the people in our lives. Thanks for the reminder to get past my own inconveniences while serving and just focus on the love.

Steve and Jamie said...

That was beautiful. Thank you. YOU gave me a fresh perspective today.

cassie said...

Syl, you always amaze me. I've learned so much from your family's example, and this just reminded me how much.

chelle said...

What a wonderful story. I wasn't a member very long before your sister passed away. But I still remember your mom and her loving service to her. Your mother was THE best example of service. No wonder her children are the same way.
I can only hope I become that great of a mother to Jessica. I am not there yet!
Thanks for sharing sylvia..that made my day.

Rob & Crys said...

That brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing.

Pampered Princess said...

thanks for sharing the chuckles and the tears. I'm glad Louis has such a loving family around him.

Mama D said...

What a profound lesson. Thank you for sharing this perspective with us.

I didn't know your sister, but I knew your mom and witnessed your dad's unconditional love and service for her. Your entire family is an inspiring example of Christlike service.

Papa D said...

Beautiful. Thanks.