In the fall of 1995 Pauline Cox was dying. The significant thing about Pauline and Carl was their love. Married 50+ years and they were still in love. Over those few weeks that Pauline was fading, Carl told me stories of WWII and how Pauline waited and worried. One time his ship was lost at sea in the South Pacific. Pauline didn’t know if he was dead or alive. Then together they struggled to keep the dairy farm. Pauline worked at his side. Disappointment pain struggle. But they always prevailed.
Carl smiled when he told me about a time they were sleeping out on the back porch. Texans sometimes did that in the hot summer. The place was notorious for scorpions. I didn’t know it, but scorpions like to climb. At night they drop down. One dropped right on Pauline. She screamed and flicked it off. The thing landed right on Carl’s Adam’s apple and stung him good. He said, “After I got over the hurt we laughed till we cried.”
Now Pauline was going. Diabetes, heart problems, dialyses, then she fell and broke her pelvis. She couldn’t fight back. Doctors say there is nothing more they can do. Keep her comfortable. The day we all dread arrived for Carl. The last goodbye.
One night I was in the room and Pauline was hot. Laying there. Wasting away. Carl, in his mid seventies, stood beside her bed all night and fanned her with a newspaper the way a newlywed might care for his bride. All night long he never stopped. After all those years the flame burned.
I sat with him at her bedside. Carl has those kind of eyes that sparkle in the corner. Not now. The sparkle was gone. I wondered if it would ever be back. Tears weld in the corners. I asked, “Carl is this the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do?”
He shook his head, fighting back tears, “We lost a baby once, but this is worse.”
When I left the hospital I had an overwhelming urge to go home and kiss Amy.
Tough times come, even for people that walk with God. And there are times when the pain is so great that you feel that you can’t even bear it anymore. God is there, with you in the pain. He’ll carry you, trust him.
Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!