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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Discern (08/12/10)

TITLE: Sense of Impending Doom
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom


In August 1993, my world changed drastically. I was 18-weeks pregnant with our third child, and morning sickness was still creating turmoil in my body. I had picked up the phone to call my doctor when my mother walked into my bedroom.

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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This article has been read 767 times
Member Comments
Member Date
AnneRene' Capp08/19/10
I was so deeply moved by this heart breaking tragedy of loosing both Grandma and Mom so close together, especially while being pregnant. And that first Christmas afterwards, made my heart swell with empathy from those precious post-it notes. And then those flowers from the mother's best friends on the MC's Birthday was such a special touch. You did an excellent job touching this readers heart!
Ruth Brown08/19/10
This was quite a story. I wouldn't be surprised if it is totally true. You told it well. we felt it along with you. That's good writing. I hope this does well! Blessings, Ruth
Margaret Kearley 08/23/10
Thankyou for sharing so wonderfully this heart-rending time in your life. The heartache, the comfort of God, love and kindness of others, etc etc, are obviously still so very real to you. Beautifully shared and an amazing encouragement to all who are suffering. Thankyou.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/23/10
What a difficult chapter in your life you shared so well. The hope at the end reminds me of how blessed we are as Christians to have, not only our precious memories, but also the hope of seeing our loved ones in heaven.
Betty Castleberry08/23/10
Oh my. I can sometimes relate to stories, but I felt like I had written parts of this one. When I had my first birthday after my mother's death, I distinctly heard her say "Happy Birthday" to me. It was very real and comforting. She passed away the day before Thanksgiving, and none of us felt like having Christmas that year. This was a very moving story. Thank you for sharing.
Chely Roach08/23/10
Heart breaking story told with such hope in the end. Well done. Sniff.
Virgil Youngblood 08/23/10
One day at a time, Lord Jesus. Some days our cups seem to run over with troubles and you have described that. Praise God,a new day always dawns and we see yet again His tender care. Thanks for sharing your life as an encouragement to others.
Patsy Hallum08/23/10
if more good writers would write about times like this, I think people wouldn't have such a hard time going through things. Great story of a difficult time. Thanks!
Caitlyn Meissner08/23/10
What a wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing it. It is a comfort to know how much Jesus cares for us, even during the hardest of times.
Joan Campbell08/23/10
Thank you for such a personal, heart-rending account. You conveyed the love between your mom and you so beautifully by describing how she brushed the hair from your face. I was also deeply touched by the fact that you both shared the joy of your baby being a girl.

How wonderful that we have: a Father who turns our mourning into dancing; and the promise of a joy-filled reunion with your Mom and Gran.
Carol Penhorwood 08/25/10
Thank you for sharing your story with us. Your transparency will bring encouragement to many going through difficult times. Especially when trials heap up like a mountain.

I too can relate to your story having similar things happening in my life. God knows exactly what we need and loves us enough to provide it.
Michael Joshua08/25/10
Wow! You really placed your heart on the page in this one. Thank you so much for sharing such a personal time of your life. It is sometimes amazing how much we experience the same feelings while writing about things that happened long ago. You took me with you. Great writing.
Cheryl Harrison08/25/10
This one pulled a powerful emotional response from me. It made me cry. Not easy to do that. Good job... sniff, sniff.
Edmond Ng 08/25/10
When all the things around us fall apart, it is then we need God most, for He is the only One we can trust and hope. A moving and heartbreaking story, yet filled with confidence in the Lord. Thank you for sharing this.