If you’d like just a taste of the book, here’s a bit of Chapter One – A Phone Call Change Everything….
“When I felt my phone vibrate that night, telling me I had a call, I didn’t think anything about it. I figured it was an after-hours emergency from work. It shouldn’t have been unusual to look at the phone and see our pastor’s name come up on caller ID. After all, he and his wife were good friends of ours, and we talked often.
But during a Wednesday night service at his church? When he and his family were supposed to be on a plane flying back to Virginia Beach? And during Praise and Worship, knowing we always sit on the front row, which makes it obvious when we answer our cell phones?
I figured they’d forgotten the one hour time difference and were probably calling to say hello and tell us they were on their way back home. I almost didn’t answer, but when your pastor calls, even though it’s during a church service the associate pastor is conducting in his absence, well, you answer!
So I said “hello,” and quickly walked out of the sanctuary so I could talk. I remember so clearly hearing Annette’s cheerful voice, “I’m so glad you answered. All of a sudden we had this strong feeling we just had to call you. Is everything all right?”
Well, of course, it was, as far as I knew.
“We were supposed to have been in the air over an hour ago,” Annette explained, “but there were some fueling problems or something, so we’ve been sitting here on the runway forever, waiting to take off. I’m ready to get home! How’s your mom doing?”
“She hasn’t been feeling too well the last few days. My aunt was going to take her to the doctor this afternoon. I’m waiting for one of them to call me and tell me what the doctor said. They haven’t called yet, and I haven’t been able to reach them, so they’ve probably seen the doctor, and then went to have dinner. They’ll probably call later when we’re out of church.”
How wrong I was! And how wonderful of the Lord to have our friends call and pray with me for encouragement and strength, and even peace, at the beginning of what became two of the worst weeks in our family’s life.
Because another phone call was coming shortly.
My mother had always been extremely healthy most of her entire life. Except for a bout of severe appendicitis forty years ago, the only other time she had been even remotely sick was Thanksgiving some ten years previously. She was finishing putting dinner on the table for about ten of us when she suddenly fell to the floor. I didn’t know whether she’d had a heart attack, or died, or what! Fortunately, our entire extended family was there, which included my cousin’s wife who is a nurse, and she immediately started taking care of her while my other cousin called the ambulance. I was terrified, and have to say I had no idea what to do, except pray I wouldn’t lose her.
Of course by the time the ambulance got there five minutes later (though it seemed like an hour) she was her usual feisty self, refusing to tell the attendants her age, and refusing to go to the hospital until her sister and I told her she was going, and that was that! It was a long twenty-minute ride from her house to the hospital, with me sitting in the front of the ambulance, looking in the back constantly to see if she was still all right. I’d never been so scared. But Mom’s biggest worry was none of us had eaten our Thanksgiving dinner!
Over the last few years, though, like many people her age, Mom had begun to have problems with her memory. A fiercely independent ninety-four-year-old, my mother lived by herself in the same small town in Maryland she’d lived in for almost seventy years. It was particularly troubling to all of us as she struggled more and more to remember things. Her sister and I made sure at least one of us called her every day to check on her. Because I lived two and a half hours away, my aunt Pauline, who lived a lot closer to her, would often visit her for several days at a time, and take her places she needed to go. While there was thirteen years’ difference in their ages, Mom was not just an older sister to Pauline, but my aunt sometimes thought of my mother as her second mother, as well as her best friend.
Mom had slowed down quite a bit and had recently been saying she was tired a lot, but at her age, that was to be expected. She’d told me a few days ago she wasn’t feeling right, but couldn’t, or wouldn’t, tell me exactly what was wrong. When I’d suggested her seeing a doctor, well, let’s just say it was a suggestion that was not taken very well. She must have felt a lot worse than she’d told me, though, because that morning Mom asked her sister to come take her to the doctor.
Little did I know at that time, Mom’s doctor had told her she couldn’t find anything specifically wrong, but because she felt so bad the doctor thought she should go to the hospital to see what the ER doctors could determine. Mom must have felt awful, because she actually agreed to go! Of course in her typical “mom style” she wouldn’t let my aunt call and tell me, because she didn’t want to worry me.
About twenty-five minutes after I’d talked to Annette, my phone vibrated again, and I looked down and saw it was my aunt calling. It was about time! Once again, I slipped out of the sanctuary, in the middle of Pastor Moses’ message, to find out what was going on.
Which is when my world started to unravel….”
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