Friday, August 7, 2009

Angels All Around Us

Some of you know that this week is the anniversary of my mom’s death and those that do probably know that I am a complete and total Momma’s Boy!! What can I say, she loved me! She took good care of me and I hope that I took good care of her when she needed me.

I took care of her in her later years as she struggled with cancer. She beat the cancer --- even though the doctors told her she wouldn’t. She was pretty amazing that way. But, even though she had beaten that cancer, she still ended up in the hospital a lot during the last few years of her life. She also had to live in a care center the last three months of her life. During that time, her body just deteriorated to a point where it would not work. She slowly lost the function of her kidneys, her blood pressure became uncontrollable and she had many high fevers. The list of things wrong with her just kept building until her tired body had no more fight to give.

She passed away August 3, 2008 at home where she wanted to die. When she first arrived home from the care center, she seemed to do better for a while. We even took her to Colorado for a school reunion just a few weeks before her death.

I could go on and on about the life of my mother and the tremendous impact she had on my life. There are so many stories, but instead, I want to write about the angels that I met along the way as we struggled with all of her health problems….there were many, but I want to focus on one occasion in particular. It happened in a waiting room….Those that read my blog often-- know about the last angel I came across in an ICU waiting room – in fact, it was a whole family of angels!…Maybe that’s where the angles congregate or just hang out… I don’t know, but they seem to help me there a lot!

On this occasion, I remember it was around the end of ’07 or beginning of ’08… My mother was very sick this time…she was throwing up repeatedly (sorry if any of you are eating at your computers…but that’s the facts…) Anyway, I took her to the hospital emergency room as soon as I realized it could not wait…it was not going to stop without some kind of medical help. It was terrible to watch and I can’t imagine what agony she must have been going through.

Well, you would think that when somebody like that came through the emergency room doors, they would put them somewhere other than with the other waiting room patients. I have to admit, it was embarrassing – even though there was no reason to be --- it was totally out of our control how sick she was and where they told us to wait.

As I looked around the waiting room, my eyes fell on a young couple…the young woman looked like she was just as sick as my mom…although she was not tossing up her breakfast, lunch and dinner like mom…she was clutching her stomach in pain…. I felt so bad for my mother and her. This young woman was feeling so poorly that she began to cry. Man, it was getting brutal!!! My mom, being the amazing person she was, leaned over to me in between “episodes” and told me to “go check with that young couple and see if you can help them in any way.” I’m sure I gave her a funny look, thinking “how can you be worrying about anyone else but yourself at a time like this?” That’s just how she was… whether sick or healthy. I told her that there was nothing I could do and I was sure they would be taking both of them back soon.

Well, after over two hours of my mom tossing her cookies and this young woman clutching at her stomach and bawling, they called the young woman’s name. When she stood up, she did not go to the nurse that had called her. She came directly over to us. She told my mom that she should go in first because it was obvious to everyone other than the ER staff that she needed to go back immediately and before anyone else. It was obvious! We thanked her over and over as I took my mom back.

When we got to the back to be helped, they had to take my mom’s entire life history! After all, they only had it in their computers for the last thirty-seven visits we had made to that hospital. After I finished and they were finally helping my mom, I walked back out to the young couple and said, “Thank you again. You will be blessed for what you did.” I felt the tears starting to fall, so I just quickly turned and went to the back with my mom who ended up staying in the hospital for four days on that visit. This couple was just one more in a line of angels that helped me over the time I cared for my mother. Their unselfish gesture to help us meant so much to us in that moment…especially since they were also suffering like others that had helped us along the way. They were there for us when we needed help.

There are so many gestures (big and small) like this that happen every day that have a profound effect on others lives. I always hope that I can return the favor by helping someone when they’re in need…even if it is just a little bit of help that they need.

Last week I had such an opportunity to help someone. I found a little boy of three years old, outside of my very large apartment complex. When I drove up, the little boy asked me if I could take him to his mom. I asked him where he lived and he said, “On the top,” as he pointed up to the top floor of the apartment building. So, I asked him which apartment it was, and he did not know. There are nineteen apartment buildings in that complex. So, I asked him where his dad was. The little boy said that his dad was sleeping and that he was not supposed to wake him up. Then I asked him if he knew where his mom was and he said, “I dunno.”

So, I sat with this adorable little boy for a little while talking to him and keeping him calm. All of a sudden, he started to yell, “There she is! There she is!” Sure enough, his mom drove up, got out of her car and ran over to the boy. She was holding a pizza. I asked her if this was her son, and of course, she said yes. I went on to explain to her what had happened. She thanked me profusely and they walked into their apartment…..which was on the BOTTOM FLOOR! I was so glad I was there to help because in this day and age, you just can’t leave kids alone for the shortest amount of time. I’m sure the mother was horrified when she considered what could have happened! There is nothing worse than imagining someone we love in harm’s way.

Well, during that same week, on the following Saturday, I received a call on my phone that said that a person that I was very close to needed my help. The phone call was from a police officer from a city about an hour away. I told the officer that I would be there as quickly as I could be. When I arrived there, the person that needed me was there as I had been told. I went into the lobby to get him and take him home. When I saw the person that needed me, they looked terrible. Next to him were two people waiting for me, but I did not know that at first. I just looked at them and smiled. But when I looked back at the friend in need, I just started crying uncontrollably. He looked terrible and like he needed a lot of help. As soon as the couple saw me crying, they told me that they were the ones who had brought him there and were taking care of him until someone could come and get him.
My mind immediately went back to a few days before when I had sat with the cute little boy, watching over him until a parent could come and get him. The couple explained to me what had happened and I’ll just say that it was pretty upsetting and my friend was very lucky to be alive. This friend had not done anything that had gotten him into trouble with the law. He had only been brought to the police station because he was in need of help.

When I heard all of the details from the couple, it was clear that they were in the right place at the right time. Well, that made me start crying even harder as I considered the alternative endings to the story. I told them thank you at least ten times. Then, I asked them for their names so I could send them a thank you card. They smiled at me and told me that they needed no other thanks than seeing how much I cared for this person and that now the person was being handed off safely to me. They said that they felt they had been blessed by being able to help someone so clearly in need of assistance with no one else around to help. I was truly thankful for them and what they had done to keep this person that I cared about so safe. It could have turned out so much differently.

Well, the day after this drama, I was outside my apartment again and I saw the mother of the boy that I had sat with earlier in the week. She was with her husband and she was pointing at me. The father of this little boy came right up to me and said, “You will be blessed for what you did for my son.” I smiled and thanked him for saying it. Then, it came to my mind that I had said the same thing to the young woman in the ER. I also remembered that the couple from the day before had felt blessed for coming to the rescue of me and my friend.

It truly felt like each one of these situations had some kind of divine intervention. As I look back on all of the help my mother and I needed, I see now how many people came to our rescue right when we needed them. I couldn’t help but think about my mother and how she had taught me to believe angels are around us. She also said that I should be there as an angel for others when I saw that they were in need of help. Then I wondered…..Could it be that my mom and other loved ones are working from the other side to assist people and to be “angels” for those in need?… Are they working to help us when we need help and keep us safe when we need safety…? -- After my experiences with my mom when we needed so much help, and my experiences during this past week with others in need of help, that wouldn’t surprise me one bit!!


Bradley + Lisa said...

So sorry about your mom. Those are great stories.