Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Discern (08/12/10)
TITLE: Sense of Impending Doom
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom
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She gently brushed the hair out of my face. “Do you think you’re going to have to go into the hospital again?” I just nodded. I had a sense of impending doom. She sat on the edge of the bed and scooped Emily into her lap.
After a few minutes of cuddling, Mom asked Emily to leave the room. Emily kept asking “Why, Grandma, why?”
I looked at Emily, then back at Mom; the sudden need for privacy became clear. “It’s fine honey, you can stay. Grandma wants to tell me that Great- Grandma died last night.” We held each other and cried together.
The next day, the vomiting had depleted my electrolytes. It was imperative that I be admitted to the hospital; I missed Grandma’s funeral. On Tuesday I had an ultrasound. When I called Mom with the news, the only thing I could do was squeal.
My mom laughed, “I assume it’s a girl?” We rejoiced together, I had been longing for another daughter.
The next morning Mom called, “I just wanted to tell you that Dad and I have to go to the lawyer’s to settle Grandma’s estate.”
Later, Dad entered my room. He hated hospitals, he’d never come alone; something must have happened to Mom. Before he said a word, I started screaming.
My father rubbed my arm, trying to soothe me, but it only made me more frantic. Mom was the comforter in the family, not Dad. Eventually, I stopped screaming.
“Your mom had a cranial aneurysm, she’s still alive, but they’ve called the helicopter to take her to the city. She has a fifty-fifty chance of surviving.”
My husband came to comfort me; every time the phone rang, I paled and started shaking. My sister called around 11 pm, “Mom had three ruptured aneurysms; they drilled burr holes to release some of the pressure. She still needs surgery, but the doctors said she a 10% chance of surviving.”
I sobbed as my husband held me. What happened to 50-50? That had sounded horrible earlier, but now I wanted those odds back.
Finally, I was healthy enough to be discharged from the hospital. We drove to the city to see Mom. When I walked into her room, I took a deep breath; I barely recognized her. She had bandages wrapped around her swollen head. “Mom, you can beat this. You always told me that a positive attitude could fix anything. Now it’s your turn to keep your chin up and your eyes on the Lord.” She made a grunting sound; her alarms started screeching. The nurses rushed in to check on her.
Thirty-six hours later, the doctor called and said she was brain-dead. She was kept on the ventilator because she was an organ donor. I went in to see her; even though her heart was still beating I knew her soul was gone. She didn’t glow anymore.
I muddled through her funeral. One afternoon I flopped on the bed to take a well-needed nap. I dreamed I was on the phone with Mom, “Happy Birthday.” She sounded just like she always did.
“Are you in a good place? Sometimes I feel your presence, is it really you?”
“I’m in a wonderful place but…” She hesitated, my heart thumped. “I’m with you in your memories. Jesus knew of your struggle, so He sent me to wish you a happy birthday, but I must move on.”
The doorbell woke me. I opened the door and saw beautiful flowers. My hands shook as I read the card written by Mom’s best friends. “We knew today would be difficult. Consider this a gift from your mother. She loves you.”
The dream helped me move forward; soon it was Christmas. I was 38 weeks pregnant, uncomfortable, and still grieving. I wanted to cancel Christmas. But I didn’t, it was important to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Dad gave everyone a present that Mom had picked out. She had a post-it note on every gift. It wasn’t unlike Mom to do shopping ahead of time; however it had never been completed by August. Then it struck me; she may have died, but she would always live on in my mind and in my heart.
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