Saturday, July 22, 2006

Roses for Rose Anne

My dear oldest sister Rose Anne went to be with the Lord five years ago today. She was twelve years older than I; eighteen older than our baby brother. She was so glamorous! Gorgeous legs (I'm still jealous); she went to many "formals" in her day; she could dance wonderfully.

I was her flower girl when I was seven. She had a darling Girl and Boy in the years to follow.

Evidence of mental illness became more apparent in her mid-thirties; she lost her family to divorce. She endured now barbaric treatments that were standard in those days, including shock therapy, which destroyed the memories of her raising her babies. She lived in an apartment on disability income, but was "creative" all her life. She found the most fabulous gifts at thrift stores; she also crocheted and did other crafts.

The illness began to further steal from her: panic attacks made socializing more difficult. The last time all five of my parents' children were together was Christmas 1988 for a surprise for our parents. She was not able to attend their fiftieth anniversary celebration in '91.

In 1993 she was in the hospital for pneumonia when she had a stroke; they found her not breathing. She was in a coma for thirteen days, with only one brain "wave" evident. My sister and brother were called into town, the date was set to "pull the plug."

The Lord had different plans. When we went in to "do it," Rosie was awake, all bodily functions working! We rejoiced that we had seen her virtually "raised from the dead." Her earthly healing was not complete: she spent the next eight years in a nursing home, her body crippled and bent, unable to speak (she could mumble words), unable to swallow (which meant a feeding tube), short-term memory gone (but she could sing "all four verses" of any hymn in the book!). We could not understand why a healing could be "halfway." And, why bring her back if she was to exist as a prisoner in her own body? But I have walked with the Lord long enough to Know Him. That these earthly sorrows are not to be counted when the Lord is "conforming us to the image of His Son." Suffering--that precious Gift, but the Gift No One Asks For.

We got a call one day that she had slipped away. Mourning Rosie has been strange--I think I mourned more during her coma. How could we do anything but rejoice when she was freed? Her healing was finally complete: no longer a prisoner of her body or of mental illness.

I know what she is doing today--she is one of the ones around the throne (probably dancing) who is singing with so many others, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD, who was, and is, and is to come!"

Blessed be the Lord, who doeth all things well!

graphic courtesy of Lise's Garden Graphics


Mrs. Linebarger said...

What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing about your sister. God is good to give you such lovely memories of His faithfulness.

April 1930s said...

And what of her children today? Are they walking with the Lord? Thank you so much for sharing.

G.L.H. said...

Mrs. Linebarger,

Thank you for your lovely comments!

Mrs. April,
Unfortunately, her children are away from the Lord. We hear from them only sporadically, but continue to pray, of course.

Thanks for your comment!

Terri said...

What a wonderful testimony! Thank you so much for sharing.