“Farewell Prayer with my Sister”
by Brunhilde Luken
Abide in Me, John 15:4
Life brings us joys and sorrows. Even in sorrows we can find joy. We have to allow the Lord to enter our space of sorrow. There we can find the magic. Magic I can’t find words to explain. To allow the hand of our Lord to touch the sorrow within you, this is exhilarating. Even in sorrow the touch of our Lord with His love can light our fires within. It is hard to explain an experience like this.
I have an older sister with dementia living in a nursing home in Germany. It would be hard to live with the pain this brings to my heart without knowing that our Lord is right there with me. He is always reaching out to touch my pains and ease them.
In the Spring of 2010, my husband and I, later to be joined by two of our grandsons, went on a journey to Germany spending most of our time visiting with family and friends. I tried to spend much time with my sister Brigitte.
With seven of us siblings, my sister Brigitte being seven years older than I, loved to play mother. She was my mother’s big helper. I had a brother just one year older, plus two other older siblings, and they kept my mother busy. When I came along my sister Brigitte took on a big role to play mother to me.
When Brigitte became ill a few years ago, it was very hard for me to accept that she had to go to a home to be taken care of. Now, she often does not remember the people around her. I had not seen her for a year. When we arrived at the home I entered the dining room where they were having a meal. I just called out: ”Brigitte”. Without lifting her head, she said “oh! Brunhilde, my sister from America”. What a joy I felt that she recognized me by my voice. She does not talk much but we always found a quiet spot where I was able to sing with her, tell her stories from our childhood and adult time. We really connected again.
My husband and I tried to visit often with her. She still remembers him by name also. She never wanted to let us go.
But the time came to continue our journey. I thought maybe I should not go and tell her that we were leaving. This I could not do. We had two grandsons with us and I wanted them to meet my sister Brigitte. The rain came down in buckets. My husband stopped at the home so we could run in to say good-bye. As soon as I saw her and told her we had to leave, my tears started to run and I could not stop crying. I took her in my arms and lifted her to the Lord for safekeeping. I held her close, then all of a sudden her body started to shake, and shake, and I was crying and praying and holding her. I just knew the Lord was touching us and binding us in His love. I will never forget this experience.
I was just told by my niece, her daughter, that she is getting better and responding better and that she asked for me. Who knows, miracles still happen, if we believe in them. I keep her in my daily prayers and oh! do I wish she would get better.
The painting at the top I created in memory of our farewell prayer.