Day after grueling day, our son lay in a coma having suffered a traumatic brain injury with only the use of machines to keep him alive and here with us. His body was bloated; his eyes black, sunken, and closed; and, his head bandaged, yet exposing the open gorge where almost half of his skull had been removed. Sporadically, his electrolytes lost balance and his heart rate zoomed to dangerous levels as the rest of his vital signs were monitored minute by minute while we held our breath in the hospital neurological intensive care unit. It was the beginning of Fall.
This was too difficult for any parent to internalize with impossible choices thrown at his father and me in our vulnerable state. During the course of these first few traumatic days we knew that the state of confusion and inner chaos could easily envelope our thoughts and emotions. As a consequence our actions and behaviour could result in skewed perceptions with poor decision-making abilities as a possible outcome. We both needed to immediately come to terms with the enormity and scope of the situation at hand. Looming questions pierced our hearts. Arrows of despair bowed our heads.
Our hearts quickly discerned the importance of joining together in Faith with our Lord God of hope, mercy, and love. My husband and I both knew without a shimmer of a doubt that we needed His guidance now more than ever. We humbly joined our minds toward listening to Jesus, hearing the Lord of our life in a very real way, as we stayed positive in His Light. And we understood that this meant giving all of our problems and burdens over to Him in a truly committed sense. Not just some, not the bulk, but the entirety of every care and concern. The gloom in our hearts was radically dissipated as the weight from our shoulders disappeared. While the potential of building a wall of stone around our hearts existed at any given time, prevention and love came in the very Name of Jesus Christ. In embracing Him, our hope grew.
The choice was ours and we chose to lean on the divinity of the Trinity. Each day we saw blessings in many forms. What better time to reach out to others as we accepted and gave blessings. Instead of doubt, we chose faith. Instead of fear, we chose hope. Instead of remorse, hate, bitterness, or destructive thoughts, we chose prayer. All conscious, focused avenues. All within our grasp.
Yes, at times we slipped and slid into the depth of darkness. But it was always the wrong path. How could we help our family if we waded into the waters of sludge? Negativity always means loss. When one or the other fell into its grip, the positive pull of grace would push us upward. Positive always brings gain to the forefront. And working in the positive position of light allows determination, reality, firmness, goodness, and graciousness to co-exist toward a healthy goal. Our goal was to stay the course in the Light for our son’s full recovery.
The road was rocky and storms prevailed. Every day the path was laden with barricades. Daily, an angel came to stay and help to lift the barriers that had presented themselves overnight. Her name is Janet and shall always be remembered for the angel that she is in her truly benevolent, warm and intelligent manner. Each day she helped us to move forward as she graciously aided our son. Having previously worked as an ICU nurse, her expertise was invaluable and appreciated. She brought love, hope, and friendship. As only an angel can do.
The many friends that visited were extraordinary. They, selflessly, brought their time and energy along with kindness, joy, love and support. Angels ‘in hospital’. Continuously and tirelessly they came and helped to sustain us through the trials of multiple surgeries; pneumonias; infections; hospital gowns in isolation; and long periods of waiting. Angels acting as angels. Grateful, we will always remember them in our hearts. Forever.
Angels on the home-front brought food, stayed with my 87-year old mom and made our life outside the hospital continue to work. One even put in a much-needed downstairs bathroom for mom. And, their timing was always perfect! These angels provided sustenance, comfort, and grace and will never be forgotten. Thank you, Angels on the home-front!
Family came as angels. An Angel Brother who provided all that he had, every ounce of his being and every precious gift he could bestow. Through his brother’s inspiration, he inspired us all with his wonderfully written updates. With love he stayed beside his brother, held his hand and breathed words of encouragement in a bond that had always existed and was as strong as silver. With love he prayed, instinctively engaged, and offered practical and unique ideas toward recovery. An angel with the bond of gold.
An Angel Aunt came. A doctor with varied experiences; she came several times to offer her medical support and love. An angel who brought first-hand years of knowledge and one who prayed with us and over our son. She offered the priceless time and energy of a generous angel. An amazing angel!
An Angel Aunt, an expert in speech and language facilitation, gave us blessings resulting in a breakthrough of this essential area in a TBI. Her cheerfulness, love, and positive outlook always led to smiles and we treasured her visits. An angel who smoothed the way to recovery. An awesome angel!
An Angel Sis came and read to our son. She was a calm, devoted and treasured angel throughout the worst of times. She was steady, strong, and sat at length with her brother in a small, shared hospital room. An angel to be cherished.
However, it was near the end of October in the large isolation room in the ICU ward when the angel who will always remain with me appeared. An unexpected apparition. Up to this point I had barely left the hospital. With erratic ‘vitals’; the inflammation of infection; and, a newly discovered deep vein thrombosis, I was determined to stay overnight once again on a very familiar library chair. The one in the corner that would collapse on command. My husband left the ICU room at 9:30 pm. As on every other night, he would bring the car around to the front of the hospital and wait for me. If I didn’t show up by 11pm, he’d return home. Something he’d done since the beginning of our hospital trial. I told him yet again that tonight I could not leave.
Wearing the mandatory yellow robe, gloves, and mask, I pulled down the shades, turned off the lights, and tuned in the medically recommended cd,‘Bach for the Brain’. I moved a plastic chair close to the hospital bed. Each breath was measured with the inserted tube and hospital infection. Tonight I hoped for a sweet sleep for our son, unlike the restless ones of late. Then, I opened up my Bible to the centre to read some soothing Psalms. I found myself in the lamenting Psalm 77, which somehow spoke to me. Twice, I read it. My heart flinched.
It is then that I turn to the 23rd Psalm to find solace. My eyes look up and I see it. As if from another dimension, a demarcation over our son’s heart opens up and I watch stunned as an angel exits in breathtaking gloss and glimmer. Silver, gold, with colours in all brilliance. Small, fast, enthralling. A second or an hour? I am riveted by the glimpse of this glorious sight hovering over my son’s chest. Relief floods my senses as I glance at the large wall clock. It is 10:31pm.
Waiting in the car in the cold of a Northern Fall night sat my husband overjoyed to bring me home. By its mere presence, an angel assured me that our son would make it through the night and my heart sang. Hallelujah!
It wasn’t until later that the significance of the time came to light. Our oldest son, devoted brother, talented athlete and scholar, who suffered from a distance, was born at 10:31pm.
D. Raborn, SGD 8/7/12