Friday, February 13, 2009

"It's OK"

Sunday night before Judy died on Wednesday, we were just getting settled in the hospital room. Her oxygen had been tripled, and she was beginning to calm. She said she needed to go to the bathroom, so I called the nurse for assistance. The nurse's aide came first; Blanca was her name, a young Nigerian. I thought I would step out and do an e-mail update on Judy while they were with her, so I went down the hall to the family room where a computer would give me quick access to the web.

I sat there no more than three or four minutes when I saw Judy's nurse run past the window to a closet. I sensed something was wrong, so I got up immediately and headed for the room, just in time to see two other nurses scurrying to Judy's side. I walked in to see Judy in distress, staggering and gasping halfway between the bathroom and the bed, laboring for breath and struggling to get to the bed.

"What happened?" I asked.

In the midst of the panic, several explanations followed, translated as "Blanca misjudged the length of the oxygen cord and it pulled loose while your wife was in the bathroom."

The following seemed to happen in two seconds: Judy, gasping for air and in distress, looked at me, knowing that in our nine-year history with cancer only twice had I scolded nurses, both of whom deserved it. She sensed my anxiety immediately, but she quickly turned away from me and looked at Blanca.

Judy's little left hand crossed her body (her right hand was holding the oxygen mask in hopes for air) and gently patted Blanca several times; then Judy smiled and said to her, "It's OK."

My heart stilled. I thought of the grace in Judy at that moment of despair, to be so kind, so comforting, so soothing, so consoling, and so concerned for Blanca, and for me.

Within a few minutes she was at ease again.

Since her death on Wednesday, I have often thought of that tender hand, that generous smile, and those two little words of kindness, compassion, and concern.

In my grief I think that she is touching me now, touching us now, and telling us, "It's OK."


Chris Poe said...

Dr. Brunson,

We had bumped into each other on Wade Burleson's blog last week.

I never had the opportunity to meet you or Judy. However I was aware of her battle with cancer through my association with Grace Church of Bentley, LA several years ago. Thank you for posting these testimonies and please know you and your family are in our prayers.

Hal Brunson said...


Thank you and God bless you.


Hippie Fringe said...


Thinking of Judy, grace first comes to mind; graceful in appearance and manner, graceful in care for others and Grace to those around her. The love of those many encompass you.

Sonia said...

Hal, at the time of your post I was actually looking at Judy's hands. I checked to see if her nails were polished with the right color. This wasn't silly. Her hands appear soft and delicate. Gentle hands. Gentle touch. Tender heart.
My love and prayers,

Brad and Deborah Arthur said...

Dear Hal,
Grace and Peace will always have a deeper meaning for us because of the walk of you and Judy we were privilaged to witness.
Continuing to hope in God,
Brad and Deborah Arthur