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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.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Phone Call That Forever Changed My World

My world-stopping call came as I traveled to my daughter’s home on that beautiful April 21st morning in 2009. I pulled off on the side of the road to answer my phone. I was not prepared for the words that drifted into my consciousness. The voice was familiar for a moment: the voice of one of my husband’s nurses. I sensed the urgency as he simply said, “I have her” and handed the phone over to a neurologist who explained as gently as he could what had happened to my husband. A CT scan had revealed that after four months of fighting courageously for his life, my sweetheart had been stricken with a massive stroke. The doctor explained to me that he could do his best to stop the bleeding in his brain, if I wanted him to, but he could not promise a favorable outcome, and he had to inform me that the stroke had disqualified Buck from being a candidate for a future heart transplant.

My heart pounded out of my chest as I tried to listen intently. I asked the doctor if he was a Christian. I was comforted when he said he was. I asked him, “If this was your wife, what would you do?” He told me he would not pursue any treatment because he and his wife had discussed what her wishes would be under circumstances such as these. Just a few weeks before, Buck and I had talked about end of life issues, because the hospital had a workshop set up to help families discuss Advance Directives. I did not attend the workshop, but it did inspire the difficult but necessary conversation. Buck made it clear he would not want to go on living under these kind of circumstances.  
I knew what I had to do, but I had to talk to my daughter for reassurance that I was doing the right thing. My cell phone rang again as soon as I finished talking to the doctor. It was my daughter, Sarah, who already knew what was going on because the hospital staff had called her when they couldn’t reach me at home and she too had talked to the neurologist. She agreed, there was no question; it was time to set my sweetheart free, just as her Papa would want. Her words still echo in my heart: “ Oh Mama, I can’t believe I can’t be there with you, while you are going through this!” She softly encouraged me to stay still until I felt I could make the drive to my home and she would meet me there as soon as she could.

I still remember the immediate numbness, as I spoke with the doctor. I’m not sure what happens in your mind when you experience emotional shock, but I suspect it is a measure of grace...a gift from God, to protect you from the total impact of your reality all at once. Thankfully, I was only about ten miles from home. I was physically shaken, but slowly pulled myself together enough to turn my car around and head back toward my home. 

There was a beautiful blue sky when I headed out for my hour and a half commute to my daughter’s that morning, but, I vividly remember the colorless landscape, void of anything but a tangible gray fog, as I slowly made my way home on the back roads I had just traveled. My world had lost all it's color and beauty. I looked but could not see; only the road before me was visible. Everything else was a grayish blur. I was thankful for the “automatic pilot” and God’s protective hand that got me safely home.

To be continued.

1 comment:

  1. Your memory of the colorless landscape really shows the impact of loss---it affects everything! Yet God's watchcare and protective hand is undeniable. Thank you for sharing this precious point in your life Renee'. Keep on keeping on--you're a blessing and encouragement. :)