Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Matthew 1:23
December 24, 2019
Paul Mauk is the good son. Yes he is. Not everyone will agree, but I don’t care. I’ve watched this unfold and I know that Paul is the good son.
His mom, Kathy, has battled cancer for more than 5 years. She made the decision to stop treatment a few weeks ago, so conversations were had and plans were made. Doctors give their best estimate on time, but that’s all it is. It’s an estimate. Things turned more quickly than expected and Kathy went to Hospice over the weekend.
Paul’s sisters Rebecca and Michelle are exhausted from being at Hospice. They feel torn over not being at their homes with their families. Their bodies ache from contorting and adjusting in Hospice chairs. Aside from knowing it’s Christmas Eve, I’m not sure they know what day of the week it is. They are missing the get-togethers their kids and families are having, but they are ok with it because they are where they need to be. You know what? No, they aren’t ok with it. They are where they need to be, but nothing about cancer is ok. Kathy’s sister Ann came in from Raleigh, and she worked on writing the obituary for her baby sister. How do you do that? Kathy’s brother Rayburn is several states away, torn over not being here.
Paul’s step-sister Cathie C. brought a CD player and hymnals. She’s an extraordinary singer, and she led us in worship a cappella because she’s more talented than a CD. We started with Oh Holy Night, which has always been my favorite Christmas song. We also sang It Is Well, my Lauren song. Lauren sat at the edge of her Nana’s bed, stroking her hand, and I’ll bet she’ll never think of that song the same way again.
Emily stayed home tonight, but she came to hospice yesterday. It was a bit much for her. She was short-tempered and impatient, and her Momma knows that’s how she is when she can’t sort out her feelings. When we got home last night, she kept walking up to me leaning in for silent hugs.
Grace and Chandler have spent the last 2 days at Hospice, and when not at Hospice, they’ve been running errands and fetching food for the family at Hospice. Grace and her Nana have both been bald. Her Nana lost her hair with previous chemo treatments, but her own hair has grown out over the past year or so since she ended that particular treatment. Grace lost her hair to trichotillomania years ago, but now her hair has grown out past her shoulders. Today my chick with trich washed her Nana’s hair. Of course she did.
I’m going to say wonderful things about my husband, and I don’t mean to imply that anyone else hasn’t been wonderful. But I live with Paul. I’ve seen his anguish. He cried to me in the kitchen, and when his sister called this morning at 3:00 to say he needed to come back to Hospice, I saw his jaw tremble and his heard his voice crack. He’s been at Hospice all day, and when Lauren and I left there to come home at 6pm, he still didn’t know if he would come tonight or just stay there. He has kissed his mother’s cheek and been her advocate. When Lauren became emotional saying goodbye to her Nana, Paul spoke faith and hope into a sad moment explaining that Nana wants her children and grandchildren and great grand to meet her again in Heaven. This isn’t a goodbye. It’s a see you later.
Paul has been at Hospice every minute he could. He has given everything he needs to give, and received all he needs to receive. He has walked into awkward, uncomfortable discussions at Hospice and spoken unpopular truth. And at one time or another through the years, he has spoken unpopular truth to each person in that room. He’s also had most of those same people slap him in the face with truth when necessary, and he hasn’t always liked the way it has felt.
He’s home. He’ll leave if he gets a call tonight. I’m certainly not trying to draw parallels between Kathy’s good son Paul and Jesus. I think we all know too much about Paul Mauk to make any crazy parallels like that. But it’s Christmas Eve, and tonight comes The Good Son who speaks truth into our sad moments. He gives us the promise and hope of no goodbye. He is the reason we have assurance to see you later. The Good Son gives us the authority to stand tall when slapped in the face because we can count on His redemption. Take heart, it’s Christmas Eve and we await The Good Son.