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Dear Readers,

Thank you so much for visiting. If you care to follow my story from the beginning, I encourage you to click on the oldest post first and make your way to newer entries. In so doing, hopefully, you will see the hand of God in my healing journey that started in April, 2009.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Day My Sweetheart Was Called Home

As I traveled home after receiving that life-changing phone call, there was only one thought that consumed my mind: the love of my life would be going home to heaven today! Buck fought so hard, so courageously, to get well for those nearly four months of hospitalization, but he was ready to meet his Lord on New Year's Day when he had his life threatening heart attack. He made that very clear as he asked the Emergency Room doctor, "Is there was any chance that I might be seeing Jesus tonight?" My husband was not afraid, but rather, he was excited at the thought that this could be the day he would be meeting his Savior! I was proud of his attitude, but I did not share his enthusiasm then, and selfishly, I didn't share it on that beautiful day in April either! All I felt was shock and numbness!

I wasn't home very long before I was surprised by a knock at my door. I knew it couldn't be my daughter, Sarah, because she had an hour and a half drive to reach me. Sarah had called my step-daughter, Jessi, and she decided to pick me up and take me to the hospital. Sarah would meet us there. Jessi too agreed; this is what her daddy would want. She assured me and confirmed that I was  making the right decision. I was so thankful because I really don't know what I would have done if we didn't all agree! However, I knew while I was speaking to the neurologist that gave me the news about Buck's stroke, that I was doing the right thing; what was in Buck's best interest and fulfilling his wishes.

As we drove to the hospital, Jessi tried to keep things light, making jokes about her daddy.  Buck would have been proud of the way she handled the situation. I knew this day was going to be equally as hard for her as it was for me, because Buck was her rock and her best friend. Neither of us knew what to expect when we arrived at the hospital. I remember walking down the hospital hallways seemed surreal on that day! I was moving but everything seemed to be in slow motion.

As we entered Buck's large room in the Open Heart ICU,  he appeared to be sleeping. He seemed peaceful and comfortable and that made this painful situation so much easier. He was unresponsive, of course, and I'll never know, this side of heaven, if he could hear the words that poured out of my heart. I just spoke to him assuming he could hear every heartfelt word.

When Sarah arrived, she found her mama at the end of Buck's bed, and held me tightly from behind as I gave her papa his last foot massage. Because of his complex medical emergency, he was attached to every possible means of modern life support and that meant a myriad of lines, wires and tubes attached to his upper body, arms and hands. His feet were the only unencumbered parts of his body. Early on, I suggested that he might enjoy a foot massage and it became part of his daily routine during my visits. We both looked forward to it. He would often fall asleep as I caressed  his skin. I wonder if he was aware of my tears as they splashed upon his feet.

Buck's most important component of his life support was a mechanism that was surgically placed under his heart called an LVAD, which was an acronym for left ventricular assist device. It was literally pumping his blood through his heart for him because his heart was so badly damaged by his heart attack. This was a temporary means of sustaining his life until he was ready for a heart transplant. He had a drive line that exited his chest wall and was plugged into a large, very heavy machine that measured about 2' by 2' and was approximately 4' tall, and it was plugged into the wall receptacle.  Without the support of the LVAD, Buck would have been heaven-bound the first week of his hospitalization!

Someone among Buck's caretakers called my church office to inform my pastor about Buck's condition. He was not able to come, but our associate pastor was soon at our side, along with the rest of our immediate family, our closest friends and the staff in OHICU, who had worked so diligently and compassionately to save and sustain Buck's life. We all took our turns at saying farewell to Buck, knowing we would see him again when we too were called home. There were no goodbyes!

My last words to my husband escape me, but I remember they were full of thanks for all he did and for all he was to me. I'm sure I reminded him that I would expect him to be the first in line to greet and hug me upon my arrival to heaven, when my appointed days were accounted for. I knew the time had come to set my sweetheart free and nodded to Danielle, our nurse practitioner, who was in charge of operating the LVAD. I know that was a really hard assignment for her, because she and all the staff that took care of Buck had grown to love him as well! It wasn't very long before the monitors indicated that he was gone. Everyone present, who were circled around Buck's room, were very aware that we were all standing on holy ground as we witnessed Buck's spirit being ushered into his future.

Now, it was time for me to face my reality; the love of my life was with Jesus and I was a widow! This was the beginning of an unknown journey. I think of it as a tandem journey; my Lord and I walking hand in hand. I had walked through the valley of the shadow of death and I was confident that the Lord would be with me every step of the way as I faced my new future! He had promised He would never leave or forsake me.  He had always been Faithful to me and I knew He wouldn't disappoint me now!


  1. Dear Renee'--yes, that hospital room was holy ground, for precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His saints. What a blessed homegoing for your husband. I wonder if he's met my Bruce yet . . . Oh the glory they are in!Blessings on you as you pen your beautiful story.

  2. Ferree, Thank you for your comment and your blessings! I too, wonder about friendships and relationships that our husbands may be enjoying right now. We know life is grand for them; Two very blessed dudes, I'd say!!!