(This post continues the story I began in my last post.)
The master plan for our renovation was first to move the furniture from Priscilla’s office into mine so we could rip out the carpeting and put down wood floors. We’d then move our bedroom furniture into her empty office and change the bedroom floor. After putting that furniture back we’d move the combined office furnishings into Priscilla’s office, redo my floors, and finally put my office things back.
The only problem was, each of the rooms was so full of accumulated stuff that it couldn’t accommodate anything from the other rooms. So when our nieces arrived a week after the church cookout, in addition to having some great social times with us, they spent many hours with Priscilla “sorting and purging” (as she put it). I brought two car loads of donations—trunk full, back seat and front passenger seat piled almost to the roof—to thrift stores. We sent further quantities of things home with our nieces when Priscilla’s sister came to pick them up. She helped quite a bit herself with the “sorting and purging” before they all left.
Our nieces also helped me carry inside the half-ton of wood that was delivered to our driveway a couple of days after they arrived. It needed a week or so to adjust to the temperature and humidity of our house before being installed. The boxes of wood were eight feet long and there were twenty-four of them. We stacked them in three tall piles in our front room. There was no denying that this was really happening.
The day after our nieces went home, another friend arrived. She helped me move all non-essential furniture out of the renovation area and down to the basement. She also helped me move the remaining furniture from Priscilla’s office into mine, creating our first open room. Families from our church signed up to bring meals for our whole crew almost every night they’d be here. A young man in the church volunteered to come each day and help us move the furniture. This was very helpful, since the job included moving the hundreds of books I had in four large bookcases out of my office and then back in again.
The day before our workers arrived, we heard from some longtime friends. They did not know that we were going ahead with the floor renovation at this time. But they told us that God had put Priscilla’s situation very much on their hearts in recent days, and that after considerable thought and prayer, they had felt led to give us a gift of a certain amount. It was a very generous gift, one that would cover all the anticipated costs of the floor project! There would likely even be something left over for another renovation we needed to do as soon as possible, making our master bathroom barrier free.
We set three goals for the week Priscilla’s two brothers (along with one brother’s wife and son) would be with us. We wanted to finish the project by Friday evening, since everyone would need to head home by Saturday. We wanted no one to get hurt. And we wanted to have no major disagreements about how to proceed as the project developed.
The job was finished in the early afternoon on Thursday, in safety and in harmony.
One brother took the opportunity to go thrift store shopping later that day and found an excellent wheelchair for $30. The previous evening Priscilla herself had visited local thrift stores with her other brother and his family and they’d found a transport wheelchair (fold-up, with small wheels) for $21. We’d been looking at both kinds of wheelchairs and thought we’d have to pay hundreds of dollars for them. But much more importantly than these great deals we got, how wonderful it was that Priscilla’s brothers could make an ongoing contribution to her care by helping her acquire this equipment that she would shortly need to use on a regular basis. The vinyl armrest covers of the transport wheelchair were cracked, so the brother who helped find it gave Priscilla a “leather upgrade” by making and installing new covers from some black leather she had.
I’d finished my last freelance editing job on the day the wood was delivered. But the night before we finished the renovation, a client contacted me about another job he hoped I could start soon. I’d been made available to help full time with the floor project for as long as I was needed, and now God was sending me more editing work.
On Saturday, after we’d sent the last of our workers off with our love and profound thanks, we got an email from some other longtime friends. They also didn’t know we were doing renovations at this time, but they too said they had been led to give us gift. It was another a very generous one. Between it and what was left from the earlier one, we were well on our way to having enough money to renovate the master bathroom as well.
This whole experience is typical of the way God cared for Priscilla throughout the 4½ years she fought so courageously with ALS, and so its story makes a fitting overture to this blog. I don’t know why she had to suffer so terribly from the disease and finally die from it. But I do know that God never abandoned us. I want to tell you the full story of those years, because I want you to witness, as we did, how God walked through them with us, showing an intimate concern for every detail of Priscilla’s care. So please join me for the posts ahead. I want you to see that God’s mercies to Priscilla didn’t end when she get an untreatable fatal disease. God’s mercies are endless.