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Despite two thunderstorms, they came! For starters, yummy earthworms and grubs will satisfy hungers and jump-start prodigious growth. We give thanks …

“For the first time, I’ve seen his face—from yesterday’s ultra-sound,” she said, rushing into my kitchen, deep laughter roiling her three-trimester belly. Her brown eyes fired like sparklers on a hot summer night as she pointed to the films on the counter. “Look, there’s his nose, somewhat squished, but there it is. His eyes, blinking…” Then knowing hands smoothed her unborn son beneath her grey T-shirt, a loving gesture I’d experienced the last five months of receiving her help. “And just three more weeks until his due date—time for him to practice using his body before delivery. He’s all there.”

It had been an unusual five months of sharing, a vital learning experience for me. Never had I been so close to a pregnant woman as her unborn baby developed. And my helper, was also a registered nurse. Cheerfulness ballooned her spirit and countered anxiety, belly-kicks and sleepless nights, dietary changes, hydration, awkwardness, and diminished energy. Her long brunette ponytail was tied up in a knot as she prepared and served meals, looked after my bungalow, and took phone messages.

However, last night’s significant contractions warranted a trip to the hospital. My prayer for her safe delivery and son filled the night, only to be upended by this morning’s call. “I was only seven centimeters, so they sent me home. I hope to go back soon.”—Certainly a major reversal, but no complaints.

It seems to me that Hezekiah wants to see his laughing mother’s face. He will come.

 

A flash of red trembles the branch outside my study window. It is the cardinal, its orange-red beak clamped with greens intended for its mate, brooding over their nest that is secluded by shadowy leaves from an upper branch. Another shimmering of red lands the cardinal upon the side of the nest, inserting food into the opened beak of its mate, then flaps off, but not for long.

Again, the cardinal alights upon the nest, this time with a black seed in its beak. For five days, such feedings have heartened me, only to become more numerous after their chicks are born. For now, it’s about guarding their eggs from predators and waiting. Whispering breezes gentle this event.

I’m in good company as I also wait in my comfy home, its décor painstakingly assembled like the cardinals’ nest layered with twigs, leaves, grasses, and feathers. I, too, am in vital need of feeding lest I grow weary of my transition and lose heart. My hungers are deep. This morning, Eunice, the hospice chaplain, stopped by and listened, while my helper Tracy prepared a tasty lunch of baked bass and vegetables.

Paradoxically, as I am fed, a corresponding emptiness yawns in my psyche, stretching my purview into the unknown, fraught with the unimaginable. Like plucked violin strings, trust marshals my resolve toward deeper surrender of the inevitable. With this process comes loneliness: alone I was birthed into this existence and alone I will leave.

Like fledglings, I’m all mouth…

 

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