Our mother Lois was the welcome first born of 5 children - surrounded by a loving family, supportive church and community, and the beautiful rolling hills of northwest Pennsylvania. Her stories of childhood are idyllic.
Then came the Depression. Her father lost his business, contracted TB, then died when she was 17. Pearl Harbor happened when she was 18, the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima, Japan, when she was a newlywed of 22. Little did she know that that was the hometown of her best friend-to be in Japan.
She and our Dad went off to Japan in 1952 to "build bridges" between our peoples and to spread the Good News that sustained them both. They lived and preached love and forgiveness as Jesus shared on the Sermon on the Mount.
They lived in Japan for most of 24 years, providing us 4 kids with a world view that few are blessed to experience. We in turn gave her blessings and some heartaches... but turned out pretty good, in her estimation. ;) She never misses an opportunity to tell us how blessed she feels by us.
She lost our Dad after 50 years of marriage and still misses him daily. It's been over 20 years now. After his death, she learned to drive (!), stayed very active at church, took classes, went to concerts and enjoyed visiting with her grandchildren.
Mom is now bed-ridden most of the time. She is tired and every action is an effort. Although she eats tiny amounts, she still enjoys food (especially sweets and coffee!). Because she has chronic shortness of breath, she has difficulty talking. Despite these infirmities, she shows amazing grace and forbearance, spiced with a disarming wit.
Mom has frequently expressed a desire to stay at home, so we have tried to support her in that wish. We initiated in-home hospice care about a month ago. Our hospice nurse Niels visits weekly and provides all of us with wise and gentle support. Keith, Joel, and their wives Tori and Carolyn take turns staying overnight with Lois. Nan has visited from Oregon three times since September. We are taking it one day at a time.
We know many of you have similar stories….and some have drastically and sadly different ones. We all learn lessons from those we meet - and the most difficult, I think come from our family. We are thankful for the parents we were given and want to make sure she knows it.