Saturday, February 22, 2014

The fear I hide.

(The following post was written three nights ago, as I was sitting in the dark ICU in Nairobi, Kenya, next to my very sick husband.)

Do you see the fear in my eyes, my love?

Do not be afraid.

But I am afraid, love, I am.
There are moments I'm terrified
when  I consider
I cannot tell four little girls they no longer have you
this moment
our last.
Sometimes I flee
out of the room full of sick and dying patients
to cry in a corner
to hang my head out of the window and gulp in cool air
with the breeze on my face
Today a young man died next to you
we could not hide
beating on his chest, trying to pump life into his heart
over and over
heart wrenching wails and screams
Not us, love, not us
I will not say goodbye yet
His story
will not be yours tonight

Do not be discouraged

Yes, love, I admit
there are times when I am filled with bottom thoughts
when I wonder what we are doing in the middle 
of Africa
that brought us to this pass
while your blood swims with small deadly parasites
and your organs swell

For I am with you.

I whisper my prayers in the darkness
while life giving machines breath into still bodies next to you
I whisper thanks as you take your own breath

For I am your God

The pleas of my heart I cannot utter
others utter them for me
from around the world
whispered words of love
and supplication
but not from me
for I am too tired, my love
you want me close by
you are brave, husband
so very brave

I am your strength and shield

These moments I wish
were a nightmare 
we could wake from
but also ones I want 
never to forget
the days when my eyes would never leave yours
memorizing the lines of your body
when I would beg for more days
more hours.
You hold my heart in your hands.

I will never leave you or forsake you

Tonight I sit in the quiet
only so because you are finally in a deep sleep
in an ICU 
in Africa
with malaria, racing
filling organs
and cavities with fluid
monitor lights reflecting on your face

For I am your God

Numbers mark my days
eleven days of fever
two days apart from our children
two CT scans
two ultrasounds
three hospitals
one medical evacuation plane

Slow to anger

life giving 
carrying death

Abounding in love and compassion

Your finger glows as oxygen is enumerated
we couldn't count the numbers of yelled
"I love you daddy!"
on the phone tonight
by four little girls
bewildered again by another parent
sick and absent

Be certain of what you do not see, what you hope for

Warm faces
caring hands
reassuring you
and me
you will be okay
it will be okay
God is here

perhaps we did catch this one on the edge, the cusp.  too much longer we would have spilled over.  your life moving on.  but tonight.  courage. hope. prayers of love and encouragement sent up for you around the world.  you are loved.  you are loved. measuring progress by numbers on blinking monitor lights in an ICU. by sleep, deep and quiet.  tonight. God. Immanuel. Is with us.

My love, you and I, we are not alone.

we are not alone.  

(After emergency surgery the next day for a ruptured spleen secondary to complications of severe malaria, and intensive malaria treatment, he is on the slow road to recovery. I will share more in the future about the testimony of what has happened in the past two weeks and the miracle of his survival. We have humbled by the outpouring of love and support we have received and the amazing amount of prayer said on his behalf on people around the world. We appreciate continued prayer for complete healing and recovery. Thank you.)


Jess said...


Naomi W said...

Best wishes for complete healing!

Peg Ross said...

Holly, your poem from the ICU is amazing; I'm sitting here having read it to my husband, tears streaming down my face. Please find a way to share it more broadly; others will find solace in it.