My Best Friend and Daughter
I’ve been thinking lately on what it means to be thankful. My husband died in 2004. He was 48. I was ravaged with grief, fear and uncertainty of the future, regret, anger – a myriad of emotions. Less than a month after his passing, I received a call that ultimately sent me reeling on the precipice I was already barely clinging to.
My daughter had traveled to Nevada to visit family and as she waited to board her flight home, she called to tell me she wasn’t feeling well. When she arrived at Charlotte, it was evident she was feverish so I got her home and put her to bed with Tylenol for the fever. Four hours later, when I found the fever had skyrocketed to 105, she was so weak I could barely get my 22 year old baby to the car. I’m sure there aren’t many who aren’t personally familiar with the long wait time in an emergency room. When we got there her blood pressure and temp were taken and I should have known right then something was seriously wrong. Instead, I think it was then that the Lord caught me in his arms.
She was immediately put in a room in emergency where tubes and monitors were hooked to her and even a catheter inserted. None of the nurses or doctors could offer any words other than “we’re trying to find the problem, please stand back”. Her blood pressure registered – I have to hold my breath right now to type it – 40 over 17. It was about that time two nurses laid a defibrillator over my daughter’s legs and unhooked the machines. They then literally sprinted out, pushing my daughter’s gurney as they ran down a hallway that said ‘no admittance’. I finally realized there was a nurse standing beside me with her hand on my arm, talking. Through the haze, I was able to make out that my daughter was being taken to the ICU and that someone there would be able to tell me more.
Long story short – they determined that she had a urinary tract infection that had entered her bloodstream and created sepsis, a potentially fatal infection of the whole body. As I sat down outside the ICU it finally hit me at how close she was to death. I was in such a state of shock that no tears came, I just stared. I mumbled “I can’t make it if she isn’t here” and a friend put herself into my stare zone. She said “God knows that”, then she smiled and kissed my cheek. At that very moment, I felt peace and knew she was going to alright. Not because I knew God wouldn’t take her from me, because I knew He could. But because He let me know in that very peaceful moment that all would be well. My soul heard the Spirit speak.
The sepsis had been caught at practically the very moment before it became fatal. She was in ICU for five days and in a room for another three as they continued monitoring the infections that had tormented her body. Each day as she got stronger, so did I. I had been wallowing around in a grief that I know now would have carried my life in an entirely different direction than where it is now. The lesson I learned from my daughter’s sepsis was to let go of the grief and confusion for things that were gone and be thankful instead for the many blessings I still had with me.
My thinkings lately have led me to know that it was during this time that my subsconsious really registered what ‘thankful’ means. We come across questions where we’re asked what we’re thankful for – whether it’s in a devotional, a Sunday School lesson. Or when confronted with problems of others, we offer thanks to God for the many blessings in our own lives. But how do we thank God for dying on a cross? I’m afraid it’s taken for granted as a ‘story’ to the point that we forget what He actually did. I visualize a friend doing the same for me and it becomes horrific – I would be weeping and gnashing my teeth as I gazed at my friend’s tortured, bloodied body. Never would I be the same.
Through my daughter’s recovery, I was made wonderfully and joyfully thankful for her return to health. How so very much more thankful I am to think of the Spirit’s guiding presence in every day and the confidence of a future where death will no longer separate me from my loved ones. How so very blessed and thankful I am for the many blessings my daughter, and now my granddaughter bring into my life. All as I bow my head at the base of a blood stained cross.