I was not only captured by the adversity Melanie and her family experienced, but by how this mother responded out of the deep well of her faith. Today I want to share Melanie's beautiful story of what she did for love of her son and how God's love sustained her in the hard places. I'm so thankful for Melanie's gift of sharing with us here.
“I gave him his first bath and I will give him his last.”
I responded to the nurse as she explained the options, my boy’s twelve year old body lying on a hospital bed between us. Family spoke in hushed tones a few feet away. This was not the way we thought it would end. In less than four months we had heard the diagnosis of stage four brain cancer, had been in and out of hospitals for four brain surgeries and had lived a lifetime of heartbreak.
Andrew, whose passions were skateboarding and graffiti art, unexplainably lost the use of a finger. An appointment with his pediatrician, an MRI and a phone call heralded a nightmare had begun. A few days later and the left side paralysis included his hand, arm, leg and foot. A biopsy revealed three tumors growing in the grey matter of Andrew’s brain.
On our first drive to the ER, I wanted to make sure, without doubt, that we were all ready to go to Heaven. I said a prayer of commitment to Christ and each family member repeated the words. Andrew’s voice was steady and strong. Although he had accepted Christ as his Savior a few years earlier, I wanted his decision for Christ to be foremost in his mind and in ours.
As the nurse began to ready Andrew’s body for bathing, she removed an IV and blood pooled around his upper right arm. The bright, red blood soaking the sheet brought tears streaming down my cheeks.
“Please, clean his arm. I don’t want to see the blood.”
Even in death, I wanted my son’s body cared for. That’s what mothers do. They bandage the little cuts and kiss the boo boo’s.
The kind nurse brought a basin of warm water and soap to the bedside. Together we bathed my precious son. I ran the soapy, wet cloth over his hair and face.
I moved slowly over each familiar freckle and, like many times before, I tenderly kissed the three little freckles near his left ear.
When we got to his feet, I washed between the toes just like when he was a little boy. Then I kissed his feet and in that moment I flashed back to ten years earlier.
I had tried to spend extra time in prayer but was having difficulty in carving out time as I mothered three young children. When my husband came home from work, I handed Andrew to him.
Kneeling in prayer at my bedside, I felt I had disappointed God.
“God, I cried, I wanted to spend more time with You today but how do I do it with young children to care for and a household to run?”
Andrew cried loudly from the living room, “Mommy!”
I heard my husband trying to calm and distract Andrew.
God spoke silent words to my heart and I knew what to do.
I rose, opened the door and Andrew ran into my arms. I scooped him up and kissed him. Reflected in a mirror, I saw my teary face and his dirty feet.
Carrying Andrew into my bathroom, I sat him on the counter and ran warm water. I picked up the soap and began to wash my boy’s feet.
And it was then that God’s Word bathed my heart with these words, “What you do for the least of these, you do unto Me.”
On that day, in my little bathroom with my little boy, the holiness of God was present.
And once again, as I washed the body of my son who had entered into the Holy presence of God, what I did unto the least of these, I did unto HIM.
This is what I did for love.
Melanie is married to Dannie Dorsey and they live in Florida with their children Audra and Avery. Their third child, Andrew, resides in Heaven now and they anxiously await their glorious reunion! Andrew Christopher Dorsey passed from Earth to Heaven December 15, 2009.
In the meantime you will find Melanie choosing to run this earthly race in such a way as to obtain the heavenly prize. For encouragement and inspiration to run your race farther, faster and fearless, find Melanie blogging here: TheBellaMella.com & SeeMyMomRun.com.