Sarah's Story~ Part One
This day is a moment in time for me. August 18, 2012. Four years ago. When I went to bed the evening before, I couldn't have had the slightest idea of how my life would change before the night was over. In the wee hours of the morning, my daughter came upstairs to wake me. She was feeling very ill. I knew instantly that she was really feeling bad, because it is her disposition to always do for others, and her concern for me getting my sleep would always come before her own need if it were something she could possibly manage on her own. Just the fact that she woke me told me that it was bad. She was having severe stomach pains. I gave her some pain meds and something to drink, and had her curl up in the Lazy Boy while I lay on the sofa. I take allergy meds right before I go to bed (they make me sleepy), and I remember now dozing off while she sat in that chair in pain, trying to get comfortable enough to sleep. I don't think she ever did. I still struggle with that as I think of it today. I should have drank a cup of coffee and sat holding her. But I didn't know what was to come. Daylight came and she was no better. She agreed to go to Urgent Care, just a few minutes from our house, when they opened. This was my second sign that things were really bad. She easily agreed to go. She is very much like her momma. :) And then the day progressed from there. From Urgent Care, to the county hospital, and then transfer by ambulance to one of the top hospitals in the country in Washington, DC. By nightfall we knew it was very grave. A bowel blockage, an NG-tube, and two large masses. The ambulance ride in itself was a horrendous experience that no one should have to endure, but that is an entirely different story which I will not tell. I will tell you as her momma not to mess with my baby, even if she is thirty years old. And by the grace of God and despite all odds, she and I were in a room together at the big city hospital before midnight. The next few days were filled with grueling tests. Doctors and nurses came and went. Now, I've been in the ministry for a long, long time. Any preacher or preacher's wife will tell you that the very worst possible thing that the Lord ever asks them to do is visit and pray with the gravely ill. It's bad enough when you are asked to go pray with some church member's uncle's next door neighbor. But it's quite another when it's your own church member, who you know and love. It's bad enough if they are old and have lived their lives and are ready for heaven. But it rips your heart out when the ill one is a young person or a child. But you do it. You go and cry with them. You offer them hope from the Word of God, and you pray with them. You pray heaven down, until you can feel the very presence of God. You hug and comfort the loved ones. But it never, never, ever feels like enough. It is the single most heart wrenching thing that God has ever asked me to do. Every. Single. Time! I would rather sit with the dying, holding their hand as they take those last labored breaths. That is the second worst. But God doesn't ask you if you want to. He just expects you to represent Him to the very best of your ability, to love on people, and to obey Him. And so you do. But in all of those years of doing that dreaded part of my job, I had learned a few things. And one of those things is that when the doctors and nurses know something bad that they think you don't know, they avoid making eye contact. They want to come and go quickly so they are not asked any questions. They do not look you in the eye. Very soon after arriving at that last hospital, they all stopped looking me in the eye. I was receiving sympathetic glances in my direction, though. And I knew for certain what that all meant. But I didn't tell a soul. I knew when I started that it would take several days to tell this story. We will continue tomorrow.