The room had become so stifling hot, I couldn't breathe. In sharp contrast was the chill around my heart: stone cold.
I had been at her bedside for hours but it felt like days. Was it only yesterday when this nightmare began? My best friend had been in a car accident: Jacey was going to die.
My mind floundered, trying to process whirling thoughts in an attempt to make sense of it all. Conflicting emotions eventually resulted in a chilling realization that slowly seeped though my body until I became completely numb. Arctic bitterness grew from within and swelled to blizzard-like proportions.
I got up and paced the room as the heat pressed in and the physical exertion created beads of sweat on my forehead. Finally I stopped in my tracks, ready to implode.
“God, how could you?” I hissed. “I need her so much- I can't go on without her!” With clenched fists and gritted teeth, I began to stomp around the room. “I'm a better person with Jacey near me and she's the only friend I have. I'm so mad at you- what kind of caring Father are you?”
Of course, there was no answer. Just the soft whisper of the ventilator that was keeping Jacey alive. Laying eyes on it infuriated me all the more.
Concerned faces appeared at the window of the ICU cubicle. Not caring if I had an audience, my tirade continued . Eventually, I crumpled into a corner, exhausted. The external heat continued to close in even while the cold inside spread outward. Strangely enough, I envisioned a tornado of warm and cold air colliding. It seemed a fitting picture for what I was going through: the perfect storm.
A small sound from the bed forced me to look up. I tried to focus through hot tears I hadn't even realized were coursing down my cheeks. Another little noise, more of a sigh, came as I scrambled to my feet and raced across the room.
“Jacey? Jacey? Can you hear me? Come on, girl. Open your eyes- you can do it.” No response.
A voice near the door startled me and I turned around to see Karen, Jacey's mother.
“Come here, Kate. We need to talk.” Gently she led me away from the bed .
“Kate, you've been here for so long and you really need to rest. Jacey is going to be fine but we don't need you making yourself sick too.” Karen held out her arms and enveloped me in a comforting hug.
“How can you possibly say that? Just look at her- she is obviously NOT going to be fine.” I started to sob again, inconsolable in my grief.
Karen looked at me with tired, weary eyes as she prepared to break the news that soon they would be removing Jacey from life support. There had been no brain activity since the trauma of the accident and it was time to let her go. Kate was like a second daughter and this was going to be almost as hard as losing Jacey.
“Kate, do you remember what Pastor John preached on last week? He talked about when Jesus asked Peter to trust Him and step out of the boat. Peter did pretty good at first but then fear got the best of him. He panicked, began to sink, and Jesus reminded him about having faith. If you recall, it all started with a storm. Jacey knows Jesus and when she leaves here, she will be in Heaven with Him.” As tears started to well up in her eyes, Karen squeezed my arm and continued. “Yes, we're going to lose Jacey- for right now. But we will see her again someday and Jesus wants us to step out of the boat and trust Him. He will help us through this and eventually, we will be okay too....it's just going to take some time.”
As I lay my head in Karen's lap, a strange sensation came over me. At first I didn't know what it was but then I realized it was the presence of the Lord. With loving arms, He whispered in my ear to trust Him and step out of the boat- and promised to be near me amidst the perfect storm.
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