The time was approximately 9 pm one Wednesday evening. I had just laid the armload of things down on the tiny dining room/kitchen/coffee table. I sat on the couch/bed and removed my shoes. My feet were aching from standing on them for the 8 additional hours of work I willed myself to do so I wouldn't lose my apartment. I was going through some very hard times. But, no matter how hard they get, God is good. All the time.
I reached for the light switch and suddenly the ringing phone broke the dark silence. When I answered the phone, the voice that said my name was unrecognizable. It was as though there were hundreds of miles between us and not a clear telephone connection.
The man on the phone but so far away sounded afraid. He sounded llonely. He sounded hurt.
The next words that came through the earpiece crippled me, leaving me in a heap at the floor.
Genny, your mother has had a heart attack.
Please call your brothers Genny, and get here as fast as you can.
I couldn't speak, I swear I was just nodding my head. But he knew I would be there for him. He knew I would do everything I could to keep him strong. I got the number of the payphone he was standing at and told him not to move. I told him that God will be with her because, God is good. All the time.
Within the next few hours, two of my brothers and my sister and I already had our plane tickets to Albuquerque. I learned the details of my mothers accident and didn't know what to do other than beg God to keep her alive until we get there. I didn't sleep the entire night. Nothing but thoughts of my mom filled my head. Her voice, her smell. Her really soft hands and perfect manicured fingernails. I thought of the way she laughed and it made me smile. She has the cutest laugh that comes straight from her tummy. Almost every time she laughed she cried because she was laughing so hard it hurt. So, she would beg us to stop making her laugh. Nine times out of ten, it was my two oldest brothers. They were always telling her some story of some goofy kid they went to college with or some crazy lady that came in to try on some shoes at Nordstrom.
Time seemed to crawl by. Tomorrow couldn't get here fast enough. I already called my boss to let her know what happened and that I would need to be off for a few days but I had to come to the office so I could print my e-ticket. I didn't have a printer in my Studio Apartment that I was struggling to keep. Back then the airports didn't have the printer kiosks yet. I think I showered at 3 am and was ready to go about 7 hours early.
As I walked in the office the faces of my friends and co-workers said it all. They were all pulling for my mom to make a recovery. I hugged and hugged and hugged my way around the office. I sat at my computer and printed my ticket. As I was ready to leave and head to the airport, my favorite tall person tapped me on the shoulder. She was trying to tell me something but couldn't get it out because she was crying too hard. Instead, she handed me an envelope, hugged me and walked away. I shoved the envelope in my purse and ran out the door.
My oldest brother was already in Albuquerque holding my moms hand during a very scary procedure. My dad hadn't made it to the hospital yet because my mom had to be life-flighted to the Heart Hospital from the small hospital the ambulance took her too. Dad couldn't be in the helicopter with her because they were already taking another patient.
From the small town they were stuck in, my dad had to hitch hike. It would be a 3 hour drive to the Heart Hospital where the helicopter flew my mom, so far away from my dad. He had the worst luck for so many hours trying to find someone, anyone headed to Albuquerque. It seemed nobody was headed north then finally, a man driving a bus to California agreed to take the detour. God is good. All the time.
My flight was uneventful. I was meeting my middle brother at the airport in Albuquerque since his flight landed 10 minutes after mine. He reserved a car for us and we headed to the hospital. He is always the positive one and could make anyone laugh in a tough situation. He was my drink of whiskey to calm me down. Today, he is considered my Xanax, to settle my nerves! Thank you Lord, for my brother. You are good. All the time.
I have never in my life had such a flood of various emotions as I had when I walked into the room where my mother lay. Relief washed over me when I saw the handsome man with pretty grey hair sitting in a small wooden chair in front of a large window, holding the hand of the woman he loved more than life itself. But before the relief subdued my fear, my eyes landed on a small body, crippled and curled while laying motionless in a hospital bed. Her face, her arm, her hand, leg and foot were not of the mother that left my tiny apartment 33 days prior. Instead, they were turned in and stuck as though she were a coy little child, too embarrassed to look you in the eye.
I was speechless. I didn't know what to say. Inside, I just wanted to pick my small mommy up and run to safety where she wouldn't hurt or be crippled. Outside, I wanted to be strong. I walked over to where she lay and smiled. A tiny tear leaked out of her left eye. The right side of her mouth turned up in a smile and she spoke my name with slurred speech. I hugged her like I have never, ever hugged anyone before. I didn't want to let go. Thank you God, for letting me hug her again.
When all of the brothers and sisters arrived, we arranged a vigil in my moms room. We would each take turns sitting with her. Mine started immediately, thank the Lord. I just couldn't leave her. We talked, and laughed. I brushed her hair even though she hated it. I brushed her teeth too, and put lotion on her sweet, soft hands and perfectly manicured nails. When my vigil shift ended, I went to the house my middle brother lined up for us. I tried with every thing I had to go to sleep but I couldn't. I showered, watched TV and prayed so hard I thought my hands would be stuck together! I know, that God is good. All the time.
The next morning it was time to go back to the hospital to talk with the doctor. You would not believe the surprise we had waiting for us. As we walked in the door, my sweet mom was sitting up! I couldn't believe it. When I turned the corner to look at her face, I noticed that her left leg was straight and her left arm was resting nicely on top of her left leg! Her face was no longer distorted and this time she *felt* the tears streaming down her face. She couldn't believe it either. The doctor had already been in to talk to mom and dad and lined them up with instructions and a REALLY, REALLY long list of medications.
That is where the problem lies. My parents didn't have health insurance. Mom was just 60 and not eligible for Medicare yet. My middle brother called us out into the hallway and asked if we could all contribute money for her meds for the next three months. When she gets back to Mississippi, she would have to get a doctor on a regular basis and he would set her up with meds, and perhaps some samples. We all agreed. I can't remember who but one of us got the Rx's from my dad and walked them to the pharmacy in the hospital. All of us were there to cover the costs. When I reached into my purse to get my wallet, I remembered the envelope my friend handed me. When I opened it, once again I was speechless. In that envelope was hundreds of dollars that my co-workers had collected for me. How in the world did they know? I had not ever told them that my parents didn't have insurance and, I didn't have any way of knowing that I would need that kind of money. God is so good. All the time.
It was difficult getting used to a new lifestyle. Different eating habits and what medication to take and when. But, my mom and dad will be sitting at my dining room table this year, as they have for the last 4 years, and I am so very thankful that God is good. All the time.
I wish all my friends and family a very Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving.
Tell me, what are you Thankful for?