I’m one of those people who have experienced miracles. I walked away from a car accident I shouldn’t have 13 years ago. Maybe for the 2nd time, though I’m unsure how bad the car accident really was or not, when I was 6 . The Cougar was totaled though. I remember falling into the wheel well with the jugs of water we had in the car.
There was the time I was drowning in a lake. My mom’s best friend was supposed to be watching me, but she was chasing her own son (my best friend back then) who’d headed over to the diving board on the dock. I knew better than to go over to the deep area, so I waded in from the shore and got swept off my feet. I remember bobbing up and down in the water, panicking, watching the big kids play ball and paddle board around me. I couldn’t swim. I couldn’t float. My body sank. I held my hands up, but all I could see was the green water around me and the surface reflecting above. And a great sense of calm fell over me as I floated there. It was beautiful, and I let go. Everything faded dark and I heard voices as someone wrapped their arms around me. I woke up on a picnic table with a horrible sore throat, pain in my head and shivering. My mom’s friend Jean just wrapped me in a towel.
There was the night I nearly miscarried my son. Bleeding heavily and knowing I was about to lose him. Bracing myself to be ready to experience what millions of women before me have experienced. And then I heard a voice in the darkness that I could not explain, that simply said, “Mommy, don’t give up on me.” And I knew he was alive. For 9 weeks we didn’t know if our baby would live or die because scar tissue from my endometriosis had torn a hole in my uterus. He was only 20 weeks along and too young to be delivered. The doctors and nurses were concerned that I wasn’t facing reality, as I was told over and over again that I was going to lose this baby. But I was calm – I knew he was alive. And while I bled throughout the rest of the pregnancy, I didn’t lose him.
And there was the whole not knowing I couldn’t even have kids in the first place. But if I hadn’t ignored the naysayers and met the right people, who led me to the right specialist out of New Orleans, he wouldn’t have discovered that my tubes were closed. Something they told me was a birth defect and that at the time couldn’t be identified with just a scope. And they fixed me when I had that laparotomy for endometriosis. I would have tried to have kids my entire life. And instead I later gave birth to two miracles. The surgery was not 100% successful, but I was able to live a much more normal life afterward, because the damage caused by my endometriosis had been off the charts for someone just 23.
And let’s also not forget that my mother and I were run off the road into a ditch on the way to New Orleans to get that surgery. It was the strangest set of circumstances and I remember Mom sitting on the curb of the mechanic shop after we were towed in, asking me if maybe this was a sign from God that I was not supposed to have that surgery. The car was completely undriveable and would take days to fix, but I was supposed to be at the hospital the next day. We were stuck in nowhere LA. But somehow Mr. Havir, a minister I knew and called, knew someone who called someone and somehow 2 airline tickets were bought, someone showed up to give us a ride to catch a plane from the nearest big airport in some town not where we were. I had no luggage with me, I’d just thrown things into Mom’s car. Not only did the airline hold the plane for us, they helped us throw my stuff into boxes so it could be checked. I remember running through the airport with my mom and a minister and an airline employee I didn’t know with these awkward cardboard boxes of my clothes and things. I can’t remember the plane flight, but I made it to my surgery. And a family I met a few years prior when my college choir toured through their area, opened their home to us and gave us a place to stay. To this day, I always pack my clothes in suitcases now, no matter how short or local the trip or stay.
And there’s the night the remnants of hurricane Harvey came through, soon after John was in ICU. The night torrential rain poured down the walls of his hospital room in the dark and began flooding his room. Our son was staying with John that night, but our daughter and I were late to leave, because John had a seizure. After things seemed to settle down, we headed down to the lobby to go home, only to discover that the rain and trees were literally horizontal outside, while the lights in the parking lot sputtered and sparked like a fireworks show. We headed back up to John’s room, all the lights dimmed for the “night,” only to look at the floor and think it didn’t look right. And then I realized that half the floor was covered in water and it was moving. And worse, there were electronics units in contact with the floor, including John’s Optune unit. I immediately unhooked everything I could reach and screamed for personnel to help. If John had not had that seizure, and I had not tried to leave too late, making it unsafe for my daughter and I to go home in the weather outside, someone stepping into that water might have been electrocuted in that room that night, a nurse or most likely our sock-footed son. And who knows what could have happened to John, his life support, several things could have gone very badly and horrifically. It was terrifying to be thankful that John had that awful seizure.
There’s the time our son was diagnosed with 6 different medical issues that negatively affected his eyesight, requiring therapy that we didn’t have the money to pay for and that insurance didn’t want to cover, even though it meant the difference between being legally blind and able to drive. After the doctor presented all their findings, we found out how much the treatment would be. How? How do we make this happen? We have an answer and this can be treated. I remember praying to God please help. I’ve looked over the finances every way I can think of. I can’t see how this will work out. Please, please show me. Please provide the means for our son to have this treatment now that we finally know what’s wrong. Please provide it in a way we cannot deny. I don’t know how to pay for this, but if we don’t, our son will be essentially blind. And it’s preventable! I cried and prayed my heart out. And 3 weeks later one of the credit cards I closed during John’s deployment sent me a letter. It stated that they’d recently audited their system and discovered that they owed me money. It was a couple thousand dollars. Enough to start our son’s treatment. Since when does a credit card company refund thousands of dollars? I didn’t question. I knew what it was for. A few months later a fellow crocheter also sent us some money to help our son out. How is that not God in action?
I could go on with personal stories of magical moments of hope bestowed to me and through me. The people John helped rescue. I’m no stranger to miracles. Nor kindness. Nor love and service, both given and received.
I didn’t expect there to be silence now, when I need hope more than ever.
While my faith has been challenged in every way I couldn’t imagine, I do still believe in a God. Even though I don’t understand why so many terrible things have happened. If God is the comforter of widows, then please dear God, comfort me.
So I’ve been asking for help, with all of the pieces that have to be resolved, all the work that has to be done, all the things I don’t know how to do, all the things that keep breaking, like my car, the lawnmower and the fence.
And I suppose if broken things were a sign that my husband’s spirit was still around, then all the things that keep breaking down must be John screaming at me. But it just doesn’t make any sense. Because all these broken things are causing harm to our family, and are hurting me. And there’s no way John would ever do that. If being in contact with me meant harm to me, there is no way the man I knew would ever contact me then. Because he would sooner disappear and exit my life than cause me any harm at all. And I just don’t believe that’s how it works.
So that doesn’t make sense to me either. That’s not the kind of language John would use to try to comfort the kids and I.
And yet this pattern of adversity persists, with a safety net following behind. The yin and yang of whatever this new reality is.
A lot of that surrounds the car. Like the shifter cable breaking Friday afternoon. Or when my car up unexpectedly broke down after visiting family in another state over the summer. A starter coil went bad after I replaced the spark plugs on my car. The first happened a month before my trip. The second happened in another state during the middle of that really bad heat wave, but I managed to limp over to a nearby Love’s where there was food and air conditioning. And I just happened to be within 30 miles of grandma’s house where my uncle lives. I was stranded in OK for 5 unplanned days, but it wasn’t bad. Just an expensive repair. It could have been way worse.
Or recently when a lady hit my daughter while she was driving John’s truck. Thankfully nobody was hurt, and everything happened under 10 mph. But the lady hit the back wheel of John’s truck with the front corner of her car hard enough that it broke something in the wheel assembly. Now she’s trying to claim that my daughter somehow hit her while she was parked on the side of the road; this after she tried to get my daughter not to file with insurance. Our insurance company says they have no idea how she can possibly make such a claim with all the evidence laid out. Everything is still in arbitration. It was in discussing all these things with our rep that it came out that when he was 17 his father died from glioblastoma.
Glioblastoma is an orphan disease, affecting less than 200,000 people in the US. And it just happened that the claims rep I got, when I called after my daughter’s frantic phone call to me from the scene, lost his father the same way she did, at close to the same age.
TO BE CONTINUED…