And It Comes Yet Again…

And it comes yet again… the hours before a loved one’s surgery…  

There was one night when I was very small that I sat, crouched in the dark hall, huddled on the old, brown carpet outside the door and listened quietly.  I’d been wakened from a sound sleep and I knew if I were found, I’d be in trouble for getting out of bed, but I couldn’t stop myself from coming close to hear.  My mom was on the other side of the door and she was ill.  She’d gotten out of her bed and tried to make it across the room and, feeling too faint, had cried out for my dad in the middle of the night.  I still remember the sound of her voice as it woke me because children remember the sound of their parents when the tones are helpless.  That’s the kind of thing that sticks with you for many long years because mothers are strong and when you’re little, they’re strangely larger than life.  Mothers make skinned knees hurt less and storm clouds less ominous, and everything feels better when they’re near.  Much like “Marmee”, Louisa May Alcott’s beautiful matriarch to the March sisters, when my mother was in the room, all the upside down was set to right.

Tomorrow, my mom goes into surgery to remove the cancer and a part of her body with it.  And it’s strange how, even though I’m grown with babies of my own, I feel like a tiny child in the hall again and the woman who could make it all right is having to undergo great wrong and it feels so helpless.  

Even so, her words have remained sure… she doesn’t fear the cancer or the surgery, or even the potential complications: “I know where I’m going when I die”, she said.  And if ever it hits her, she worries about the drugs they’ll use on her.  She’s always been so careful with those things.  And she worries what she might say when she’s under anesthesia, and because it’s a genetic tradition on my father’s side, we laugh and joke about the worry moments because somehow, it works for us, and if we’re honest, we get funny looks when we’re trying to be serious, so who are we kidding anyway?  She got injected with something radioactive and the text came from my dad – a message to let us know she was okay and that she’s beautiful when she glows.  

But when you strip away the laughter, the strength, the years, and even the helplessness and fear of it all, what is left?  Especially in these days when, it feels like there’s cancer everywhere I turn…what is left?

I want to share this that she wrote:

As I walk this path I am being lovingly and unhesitatingly escorted by dear women who are willing to return to this route and walk it with me. They are precious friends whose strength and encouragement has been forged in the fire of their own trial, and from their loving dependence on the Lord. 

“Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Cor. 1:3-4

One of her greatest joys in this to date has been watching links form in the chain of ugly turned very beautiful; the awe of knowing a little more of Chase’s journey now, the wonder of those coming around her to share their own experiences.  And she is willing to be helpless to know what it’s like for others.  That’s something kind of breath-taking if you really consider it.

And so it comes yet again…these hours before the surgery.  Tonight and tomorrow and in whatever follows, we are all drawing near to the One who loves us in brokenness and understands our helplessness and takes the ugly things and pours them out in great beauty for His glory and our ultimate good.

Mom, I’m so proud of you.  See you on the other side… 

Moment by moment.  

With my mom in her beloved Germany, June, 2001

With my mom in her beloved Germany, June, 2001

18 responses to “And It Comes Yet Again…

  1. Jolene Arends

    Wow God Bless your mom, she has prayers coming her way, I thought can ONE more thing hit this family, but as u know Ellis, my story, but we have the 10 year old CANCER FREE, ,lost my Husband(PC), my son @43 had BYPASS surgery, doing well , and we move on , with FAITH,FAMILY&FRIENDS I move on.
    “You have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious then gold that perished, though it is tested by fire, May be found to praise,honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6,7 Blessing to all your family. Love, Jolene

  2. Sweet Ellie,
    As I read this post, these words just flood my heart.. leaving me overwhelmed and silent at the throne with you. Peter’s response to Jesus in John 6 comes to mind.. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the word’s of eternal life, and we have believed and come to know, that you are the Holy One of God. ” All I keep thinking is, the Lord loves the Ewolt and Poole family SO much, that His endless love could reach into the depths of this kind of turmoil and stream it through His loving hands. Praying that we trust in His perfect love, because His ways are so much higher than ours. Love you so much and praying always. <3

  3. Even though it was 2 1/2 years ago since I walked this path, it is so fresh in my mind. The unknown was the scariest part for me. Comfort and love surrounded me from family, close friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. I was fortunate to have so much! I felt protected in the Lord’s arms through my whole journey and that is where I went when I felt the most afraid. You are all in my prayers.

  4. The Burrichter Family

    Please convey to your mom our love and prayers for her healing! We are saddened to learn of the impending surgery, but we know Christ has her in His hands, and that He has her best in His will. We will be praying for Leslie, your dad, and all of you!

  5. Joan Peterson

    Thank you for sharing your journey. Our prayers have been with Chase and your family; and now with your parents, particularly your mom. Please express my love to her. Thank her for me, for the example of faith in our God as she travels this, her own journey of cancer. Praying, Joan Peterson

  6. I’m holding you up in prayer, Leslie. Praying for complete healing and restoration of body, mind, and spirit. Be strong and courageous, God has you in His loving, capable hands. Much love,

  7. Dearest Ellie,
    My prayers are with you, your precious Mom and family. May Jesus be your comfort and peace as you accompany your mother on this unknown journey. I remember a time when your dear mother brought a meal to me and my family the day after my foot surgery. I was in so much pain, and your mom was so sweet and gentle speaking words of encouragement to me through a blur of painkillers. I remember saying to some friends that when I grew up, I wanted to be ” just like Mrs. Poole” . Leslie is the kind of woman that points one always back to CHRIST no matter what the situation is. Her wisdom and grace are noble qualities that are a blessing to many. Ellie, my thoughts and prayers will be with you and your mother and family. May JESUS wrap you all in His love and care.

  8. Ellie, Once again your eloquence is so beautiful — May our Great
    God and Savior uphold
    and sustain all of you – you are in our hearts and prayers…

  9. Ellie, you are so amazingly eloquent in your blogs. Your mom is held close by her Father, Who will guide and advise and heal her in His time. I have found that, when I’m facing another surgery myself, it calms me to realize that I will either be better or be perfect in heaven. It’s a win/win situation! None of us can truly fathom the depths of our God’s love for us. Please tell Leslie that I am among those praying fervently tomorrow, then also in the days & weeks following. Peace to you all.

  10. Andrew Renshaw

    Remember Ps. 23, “…as I walk through the valley of death (a paraphrase, I am still vertical amd walking!)…”. Ellie, you have 2 very strong parents that I witnessed all those years ago raise you girls as they should. It’s reassuring and emcouraging to see their strength replicated in you and how you write. That, and I have to agree with your comment on your dad’s sense of humor. My wife, Liz, is the same way and what you have written helps me to understand her better! Our prayers for you and the family.

  11. Andrew Renshaw

    Remember Ps. 23, “…as I walk through the valley of death (a paraphrase, I am still vertical and walking!)…”. Ellie, you have 2 very strong parents that I witnessed all those years ago raise you girls as they should. It’s reassuring and encouraging to see their strength replicated in you and how you write. That, and I have to agree with your comment on your dad’s sense of humor. My wife, Liz, is the same way and what you have written helps me to understand her better! Our prayers for you and the family.

  12. Ellie please let your Mom and family know that we are joining the so many others in prayer today. We are standing with you as we bring your beautiful mother before the throne of grace, to the only wise God who loves and cares for us in our weakness. We love you all

  13. Christine Huber Burton

    Many prayers coming to Leslie and to her loving family….their is strength and power in prayer!!! Love you….. <3

  14. Ken & Mary Ann Grutza

    Praying, praying, praying… for a successful surgery, healing/full recovery, and continued strength and courage through all of this.

  15. Hola Leslie: My thoughts and prayers are with you today and in the days ahead.Cancer is a journey with numerous ups as you realize that life is precious and your loved ones need to be held close.Your friends from your former Sandburg days wish you a short and safeN “journey” and may God bless you.

  16. Mary Beth Gibson

    I remember times with your family and the love you all have. Your mom is such a great and strong woman. I always admired her. She has such great love of God and family. They say God doesn’t give us more than we can handle your mom is no exception. God bless you all with the strength needed to get this all this. Also your writings are beautiful.

  17. I met Leslie when our daughters (Carrie and Whitney) both graduated from TMC. She is a lovely lady! My cancer survivor support group here in Alaska prayed for her when we met this morning, and we will continue to pray for her as she recovers. I myself am a 2-time survivor: in fact, I just had a double mastectomy seven weeks ago, and am healing up just fine. I pray your mom’s lymph nodes are clear and she will not need any further treatment. And I know that she is trusting in our sovereign God to work all things together for her good. She (and the family) will know that peace that only God can give (Philippians 4:6-7) ! Love to you all.

  18. Kathy Gephart

    I met your Mom and Dad in Israel this past March. As a former Poole, we bonded early into the trip. The strength and faith you speak of in your Mom immediately impacted me. This cancer thing seems everywhere. It is no respector of age, race, gender, or religion. The stories she shared about Chase touched my heart, and my husband and I send our hugs and prayers for her warrior role and supportive family.

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