It is amazing how a split second occurrence can alter a person's life. Two days before Christmas, I was looking forward to Christmas Eve and our 59th anniversary. Also, I was running through my mind the menu for Christmas Day and the various relatives that would be there.
You know that satisfied feeling that comes before Christmas when the house is clean and decorated, the gifts all wrapped and ready and the holiday food ready to be prepared? Well, I hadn't quite reached that apex yet, but I was working on it. All at once I turned from the refrigerator, lost my balance and fell headlong on the tile floor.
Ah -- the best laid plans of mice and men -- it was almost a comedy of errors. The ambulance got stuck in the neighbor's yard, and Criss had to pull it out with the farm tractor. The next few hours were sort of a blur, but I remember speeding toward Charleston with my ribs feeling every jolt and curve. I don't remember being in the ER, but I heard someone say, "Yes, she broke a rib, all right -- four ribs!"
Of course my COPD acted up and I had some trouble with my lungs. To make a long story short, I spent 12 days in CAMC General and am recuperating at home now. What a blessing it is to have a big family -- my daughter-in-law Sarah stayed with me two days and nights, and granddaughter Miriam Abigail stayed the remainder of the time. I will have to say that I have never been treated any better in any medical facility as I was on the fifth floor. The nurses were great --compassionate and caring. I had a great doctor, too, Dr. Shane Monnett, for whom I have the greatest respect.
When I got home from the Trauma Clinic today, I found this letter from my daughter Patty: "Mommy, it just feels like a few seconds, days or years ago that you were fixing my hair, fixing my breakfast and dressing me to go out. Now the roles are reversed. Today I dressed you, braided your hair, tied your shoes and buttoned your coat. I proceeded to ask all the necessary questions, do you have your tissues, your glasses, billfold and walker?
"I always hated that kid's book where the Mama was rocking her child and it ended with the grown child rocking his mother. I can't escape the reality that you are now old. Moms and Dads never grow old and feeble in our minds. They are the strong, capable ones that we always go to with everything.
"Life doesn't always seem fair and old age is very cruel. I know it is God's plan, but when will I ever be ready for 'The Plan?' Maybe I don't tell you enough, but Mom and Dad, I love you very much and I don't know what I'd do without you. Thank you for everything you do."
Patty doesn't have to tell me that she loves me. She proves it every day by her actions. She's always there when I need her, and helps me with everything that I do.
Beyond the Years
By Paul Laurence Dunbar
Beyond the years the answer lies,
Beyond where brood the grieving skies
And Night drops tears.
Where Faith rod-chastened smiles to rise
And doffs its fears,
And carping Sorrow pines and dies --
Beyond the years.