My Faith in a Stranger

I just saw this photo that Wendy posted to my timeline on Facebook. It was so beautiful, and since this is the main topic with Al most days I thought I would print it off for him.

jesus at the gate 2Every night before lights off Al asks for two things. He doesn’t need to tell me what he wants, I know from many nights. Prayer time and the movie, The Christmas Story.

Although he can no longer speak, I know his request by heart. Ask Jesus to come and take him home.

When I saw this, my heart sunk and my eyes became wet.

How can someone I have never seen affect me to the point of tears? For Al and me, we were brought up in the church. The First Brethren Church in fact. We went every Sunday with our parents.

As we got older Al and I went on Sunday evenings. I became involved with the choir. Al and I partook in different plays. Eventually I took over the Junior Choir as director. Al continued his routine of going every Sunday from way back when.

Sunday evenings he went to church and then came home and read his Bible. I know for a fact that Al has read his Bible completely through at least four times. I got married to a military man and lived in Germany for a year.

The military had church every  Sunday also, but each week  was for a different religion. I remember there were Sundays for Jews, Catholics etc. I got out of the habit of going.

It was almost too easy to drift away. I was married, and living in a new country. I let God be placed on the back burner and lived my life. When things went wrong or I became scared, I would quickly bring Jesus up front and pray like crazy.

Jesus never left me. No matter how much I tried to ignore what I had been taught he always filtered to the front burner. I was the one who left him. When our dad became ill, I found my way back to my upbringing.

I told Jesus I wanted him to be my priority again. I prayed for months and then I learned how to talk to him like he was my best friend. Everything that went right, I thanked him and everything that went bad, I blamed him.

As dad became closer to heaven’s doors, I inched my way into trusting God more than ever. I have never looked back. I rely on him for all that I am and do.

Now that Al is so ill I have fallen. Not fallen away from God, but more like questioned him. I have screamed at him, cried to him, told him how much I love him and have told him I am sorry for my behavior many times over.

Today, as I watch my brother slip closer into Jesus arms I am not scared to see Jesus. I am scared for myself. A sadness creeps over me at the human loss I am about to take on. This is where my strength comes from. This is how I make it day-to-day.

I asked Hospice today when they decide the time is right for them to start staying longer or making more visits. The answer was poor in my eyes. I was told they have to follow the law about driving in bad weather, so they can’t come anymore than they are scheduled. I felt like saying how sorry I was for not planning Al’s illness for warmer months, but I kept quiet.

I hear many times through this terrible winter that the only time we should be out driving  is to go to and from our job. I instantly looked at the nurse and replaced the words friend and hospice to employee, and found it soured me.

Al is my brother, but he is her job. I explained that I didn’t want to be here alone with him dying. I told her I was afraid he would die while it was just him and me. She just looked at me, then said she would try to get a volunteer to come over to sit with me. I thought to myself, how can a volunteer come and she, the nurse, who is getting paid can’t?

I instantly felt embarrassed. I am not an infant. I don’t need a babysitter.  I am not that weak, but I do expect, well I don’t know what I expect, but I expected more from this one limb from the tree for support of Al and me.

Al is in pain and yet he seems comfortable. I can see when I look at him that he is nearing Heaven’s gates very soon. I won’t go into graphics here for the weak stomachs, but I recognize the signs from 23 years of taking care of the elderly and dying.

So when it comes down to it I can cry when I see the photo. I do not know this person as I don’t know many of you personally. I do know that I trust many of you, the same as I trust God.

In the end I can and do feel alone so much of the time. I beg my child at times to come down and see Al. I cry silently that I may get a call from my kids or friends, just wondering how Al is.  I plead with Hospice. I count on my caregivers to be here. But God is here.I am not really alone.  He is standing with Al and keeping him calm. He is beginning the process of opening the gates, and for this I cry.

Tears for losing my brother and tears that he will be happy once again. Al will without a doubt watch over me and wave. He will show me those big, blue eyes and that familiar twinkle will once again shine. The heavens will open up and the skin will be shed away and Al will be free to smile once again.

48 thoughts on “My Faith in a Stranger

  1. Him Terry. That was a beautiful, and moving post. Spiritually, you are prepared. Emotionally, no one is ever prepared. You are not alone. I was also stationed in Germany, for three years. Like you, I attended church whenever I needed a touch from God. Glad I am serving Him with all my heart. That Nurse should be there, even if she has to stay at your place. It’s her job. You are constantly in my prayers. We might not be there physically with you, but we are there. Blessings.


  2. Oh how I wish I could be with you. When my neighbor died hospice was there for the last 48 hours and we had so much snow that when he passed the county had to be called to come plow eleven inches of snow from the road so the hearse could pick him up…This in rural Kansas so it bothers me that rural Indiana is not the same…makes me angry for you and for Al. And stepping out of line here but your family should be there with you regardless of what they are afraid of. Sorry but kids now a days don’t understand putting others first like we did when their age. Have you called to see if the doctor has any suggestions or your local hospital may have a volunteer that would be willing to come stay with you. I don’t know Terry I am just worried for you both.


    • I didn’t check with the hospital but I can. I thought Hospice stayed also. I so wish they would. We don’t even have that much snow in my city. We have had bitter cold temps with wind advisories, but now we are dealing with cold only, so why won’t they come…………


  3. My beautiful friend, you continue to be in my prayers. I wish I could say something that could sew it all up nicely for you, make every bit of it make sense, and give Al the peace he needs to go home and leave all this behind. I would give that to you in a heartbeat if I could. All I can do for you is pray for your peace of mind and a calmness in your spirit as you sit with Al through these last days/moments of his life. Blessings on you for your generous and brave spirit.


  4. John 14:27 (New International Version)
    27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid

    I’m sure you know this scripture… but I wanted you to hear it tonight …. Diane xoxo


  5. We think we are prepared but we never really are for the death of one of our loved ones. I am selfish and wanted my brother to be here forever with me, but didn”t want him to live in pain. I was so thankful he went so quickly and peacefully, and in no pain.
    He and i walked through many years of childhood abuse together and I was honored to be with him as he stepped into heaven.
    I was surrounded with angels as are you and Al.
    Breathe and know death is but a comfort sent from God on the wings of angels for those of his children who shall suffer no more.
    It is an act of love to let go and to allow the angels to come and do their job and they are.
    They are preparing Al of this journey and allowing you time to say good bye.
    Sit in his chair in the front room, close your eyes, ask God for comfort and to allow you to feel the angels he has sent.
    Al is not there with you Terry. He is walking with angels and rejoicing in their love and comfort for him. His body is there but he is free and shall soon be on his way.
    You, dear on, are in my prayers and hugs your way.


  6. Al will be so happy to walk through this gate in your picture. God IS with you and you are not alone, he is the one who has givne you strength to keep going till now, he won’t leave you now. I do understand your feelings and thougths though. Know that we are with you in thought, Terry, you are certainly not alone.
    Love and many hugs!


  7. I know these are hard times for you Terry – God is with you – a special time for you, not only Al, but of all the gods people can choose to serve, you chose one that watched His own son die – in other words – He understands your feelings. I hope that makes sense. He loves you so much – so do we all (your readers).


  8. Again, I feel at a loss for which words to say to you Terry. I feel so sad that the caregivers are not able do do more for both you and especially Al. I know you must be in your reserves of strength, but I am sure with all your beliefs they will not run out before the end. ((Hugs))


      • Thinking about you often, wish I was close enough to help you, not young enough to lift, but I could clean, cook and listen, know that I think of you and hope ;you are doing well. This is such a hard time, I wish I could take the pain for you, but it does not work that way does it. Hugs and Love Ann


  9. I really feel for you it is a no win situation, I know you want to keep Al at home with you but I know here that the only way you get round the clock support is for him to be in the hospice, and I am going to say something that I hope maybe will put your mind at ease, when the end comes if you are home alone with him you get the chance to say goodbye peacefully and in your own time, you get the chance to compose yourself before being faced by others who will be busy taking care of what needs to be done. You will have time to organise your thoughts before questions are fired at you about what you want doing, who you want calling. you know Al better than anyone else and from everything I read I actually think he will find his passing easier to bear in the arms of his loving sister rather than with health care professionals checking pulses and heartbeats.


    • that puts a different light on everything. It is like now I should feel honored that I get to be the one who is with him last. I really want to thank you for showing me another view. Bless you


  10. Peace be with you Terry. And as for questioning God, I’ve done it many times. I know there are numerous times in the Bible where God is questioned…I think it’s ok to do so. In the end I guess we just have to trust that He had it under control. I’m struggling with that right now in my life so I just wanted to encourage you. Hugs.


  11. Something struck me today. So I turned around and stuck it back. hehe. Sorry,

    Seriously I had a thought today. And wipe that “OH MY GAWWSH!!! look from your face. I can hear you smiling. See? Told you so.

    Anyway … why do we say “anyway” what does that mean? I mean, any – means any and way means way. Oh so anyway means anyway.

    Right .. left … right … left. Ten…HUN.. Where was I? Well if you don’t know, how on earth would I? I mean, I am not even from this planet. Can you guess that?

    Take care Terry, we are here.


  12. Terry, more than anything, I want to comfort you, to hold you in my arms and tell you that you’re not alone, but, here I am in Delaware, while you are on the other side of the country, and sometimes, we need a physical touch. Sadly, I can’t hold you in my arms physically and pray for you, and no words that I speak can ease your pain, but what I can offer you are the Words of our heavenly Father, who is not limited by time or space as we are, and whose vey Word is life and lifegiving. Therefore, I pray that you will receive these words and the comfort that they bring with them…

    7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:7-9 NLT)

    1 But now, O Jacob (TERRY), listen to the Lord who created you.
    O Israel (TERRY), the One who formed you says,
    “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
    I have called you by name; you are Mine.
    2 When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
    When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
    When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.
    3 For I am the Lord, your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
    I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom;
    I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
    4 Others were given in exchange for you.
    I traded their lives for yours
    because you (TERRY) are precious to Me.
    You are honored, and I love you. (Isaiah 43:1-4 NLT)

    Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with My victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NLT)

    Finally, my beloved friend, I leave you with a song that has brought me much comfort over the years, when fear and pain threaten to overwhelm me, and I pray that it comforts you as it has comforted me.

    May the Lord bless both you and Al richly, Terry, as He calls Al home, to that place where there is no more pain, no more sorrow, and no more tears.

    Love you,


  13. Oh Terry I am so full of sadness for you and your beautiful brother I also questioned God many times whilst my son was ill one day I just asked him to take Matthew in his sleep a short time later he did………even though I asked for that I was so sad he was alone in the hospital when he died I was devastated as I was on my way that morning to see him…….they tell us God has his plans for us and we try to change them sometimes…..but it is so very hard to watch someone you love in pain I cannot get over how you are being treated by the hospice..we give out here about our health care system( in Ireland) but there is now way they would allow whats happening to your brother he needs to pass away with dignity, each time I log on I am hoping to see Al has slipped away………………could you tell him its O.K. to leave you? perhaps thats why he is trying to hang on he loves you so much………I dont know why I said that was going to delete it but……………….something tells me not to………………hugs and lots of healing love are being sent to you from another Terry many many miles away in Ireland actually my name is short for Theresa………………….


    • Hi Theresa, I am so sorry for your loss. I pray daily that God takes Al also. We have both been through much. I don’t have the answers as to why Al is left behind to suffer when we all know there is no hope of getting better. Yesterday his lips started to turn a bluish color. It scared me to death because there is a big part of me that doesn’t want him to go, and yet I know he needs to. Each night I tell him it is ok to go but yet he remains


  14. Terry, you are blessing us with sharing the end of Al’s journey and your part in it. I know by watching all the care flowing back to you that you have touched many heartstrings. What a lovely crowd of blessings there is around you. Please imagine me joining hands with all of you.


  15. Hello my beloved Friend. Feel free to call me anytime. 925-303-9883. you need to know there is so much prayer around you… the Angels are consulting the FAA on how the overwhelming prayers in your immediate area aren’t disturbing local flight plans etc. we all want Al to head home.



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