“Her Name Is Martha” {A Prayer for My Mother}

MarthaI type these words as I email my prayer request to some folks at church, people who might be aware my mother is still living but who don’t necessarily know her name. They might even have a vague recollection that she’s in Mississippi, but they can’t know that we used to dance together in the living room to “I’m a little teapot,” or about the memorable conversation we had while riding the ferry from Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard, or how she used to sign her letters “Love, Me.”

“My mother has been hospitalized with pneumonia,” I write. “She is 93 and has dementia. I worry that she’s afraid. Her name is Martha.”

We hate this for her, my sisters and me, her body being subjected to multiple injections and further indignities. She’s had breast and colon cancer; blood clots in her lungs; gallbladder surgery; Crohn’s disease. Hasn’t she suffered enough? I pray for her not to linger, and wonder if I am trying to outmaneuver God.

“Do not be afraid.”

This is what I would whisper to my mother at her bedside, but my sisters tell me not to drive the 400 miles south toward the town of our births.

“She’s stable,” they say. “We’ll keep you posted.”

We’ve been at the brink a couple of times, so close that my sisters and I once gathered in the hospital lobby to go over our notes about what Mother said she wanted at her funeral and draft her obituary. We sometimes pretend we are prepared.

Several days after penning that prayer request, my mother was released from the hospital. She does not remember what was done to her, or why. And maybe that is for the best.

So we continue on, grateful for today, and trying not to borrow trouble for tomorrow.

“Do not be afraid.”

9 responses to ““Her Name Is Martha” {A Prayer for My Mother}”

  1. Prayers for you and for your mom. I know that these near the end of life times are difficult and challenging. She sounds like a fighter. >

    1. I so appreciate your kind words. This is tough stuff.

  2. God love you, Amy Lyles. While it may be true that aging is not for the faint-hearted, neither is watching parents nearing the end of this life. I know this from personal experience.

    1. Love to you right back.

  3. Lovely. Thank you. I and my family are in the same spot with our mother, Ruth, who turned 93 in September.
    Prayers for sweet Martha. And for you and your sisters. ❤

    1. Thank you, Cece. And prayers for Ruth as well.

  4. So beautifully said, my good friend. I hope you can feel the prayers also coming your way. Peace be with you.

    1. Thank you, dear friend.

  5. So beautifully said, my good friend. Hope you can feel the prayers coming your way.