It started with my mother having some rather severe and troubling symptoms, which the weekend crew at the local hospital initially diagnosed as acute food poisoning. After running several tests, they changed the diagnosis to some sort of severe virus. That still did not satisfy us as family members because the symptoms seemed like no virus we had ever heard of.
Upon pressing the medical staff to run an MRI, it was revealed that Mom had suffered not one but two strokes. We were glad to finally have a diagnosis we could trust but shocked at the report, especially given Mom’s seeming lack of risk factors for such a problem. After going through a couple days of trying to get her relocated to a better hospital, doctors determined that Mom has a “very large” hole in her heart — one that has probably been there since birth.
They began preparing almost immediately to do surgery to correct the problem. As is customary practice with such procedures, Mom was started on a couple different blood thinners and sent home until the surgery could be scheduled. Unfortunately, Mom had been home only 23 hours when she had another spell, at which point my father and brother actually thought she had died. It turns out she had a severe reaction to the Coumadin, which resulted in abdominal hemmorhaging — and admittance to ICU for a week.
Our family is so blessed to have friends and family members who have been willing to check on us, provide food, sit with Mom — really anything at all. Mom’s church family has been incredibly supportive through this whole process.
One of those people, Linda, brought a fresh apple cake to Mom the night she arrived home from the hospital the first time. Mom didn’t get the opportunity to visit with her since she had already gone to bed. Little did she know it would be her last chance to see her friend.
Linda and her husband were suddenly and tragically killed on Saturday morning when a teenaged boy apparently veered into their lane. Only two miles from home, this dear couple was en route to visit their daughter for her birthday. Their plans to visit Mom in the hospital that afternoon would not be realized — along with so many other plans that we will never know.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about handling curves in life. I’ve definitely had quite a few of them to deal with since that point, as I’m sure you have too. Crises by definition are unanticipated. . . unplanned. They catch us off-guard and give us pause to consider what things are most important in life.
Today as Sam and Linda are remembered for their hospitality and friendship to so many people, I give thanks for their help to others in times of crisis. I also pray for a young man whose life was forever changed in one tragic moment.
None of us is guaranteed tomorrow. Therefore, let us give thanks for today — and make the very most of every moment. Life is a gift to be treasured.
I encourage you to take a step back from your regular busy Monday morning routine to notice others, share love and laughter, and re-evaluate your priorities in life. That’s what I plan to do with my day. It is, after all, the only one I have.