“Mom, why don't you go on home and get a good night's rest?" Nickey asked. He turned in the bed to look at his mother.
"Tomorrow may be a long day for both of us." He said.
Nell stirred slightly in the chair. "I don't want to leave you alone. You might need something."
"Anything I need the nurses can get for me." He replied. "And besides I think you’re sicker than I am. Did you go to the doctor today?"
"Yes, he says I have a slight case of pneumonia again."
“Again? I wish they’d figure out why you get it so often.”
“Me too.” She said. “Okay, maybe you’re right. I’ll be here before they take you in for the biopsy in the morning. I love you, son.” Nell leaned down and kissed her son on the forehead and hugged him tight. “Don’t you worry now, it’s all going to be all right.” She said the words but didn’t believe them, Nickey had been sick for about a year. He had a weak heart and now they were checking some growths in his throat for cancer.
She walked slowly to the door, pausing to cough and then catch her breath. She opened it and turned to look at Nickey one more time.
“Bye, I love you, sleep tight.” She said.
“Call me when you get home, so I'll know you made it ok.” Nickey said.
“There’s no need in that. I’ll be fine and I don’t want to wake you up if you do finally go to sleep.”
“This from the woman who makes me call her when I get home every night. So your argument won’t hold water. Call me.”
“Ok, you win. I’ll call. Love you, bye.” She said with a weak smile.
Nell made her way down the long hall to the elevators, trying hard not to break down and cry. Her baby boy was so sick and there was nothing she could do but put him in the arms of her heavenly Father and hope everything would be all right.
When she got in her car, sobs escaped her throat and she laid her head on the stirring wheel.
“Lord, help my boy, please.”
Great sobs came, tears flowed and then peace seemed to surround her, the peace that passes all understanding.
“Lord, I know that no matter what happens, I can handle it because I have You. Thank You.”
Nell drove home and prepared for bed. She went to the telephone and called Nickey’s hospital room.
“Hello.” He said.
“This is your telephone confirmation, I’m home.” Nell said and chuckled a little.
“Good, have a good nights sleep. And Mom?”
“I love you, thanks for everything.” He said and hung up before she could respond.
Hearing the dial tone, she hung up also and smiled. Those words were hard for Nickey to say and she appreciated hearing them.
Morning came quickly and with a phone call.
“Mrs. Hemphill?” the voice on the other end said.
“Yes?” Nell said. Fear gripped her heart.
“We need you to come quickly. We have been working on Nickey for half an hour. His heart stopped.” The nurse said.
“Oh, I’ll be right there.”
Getting to the hospital and to Nickey’s room seemed to take an eternity. The doctor met her in the hall with the news.
“I’m sorry Mrs. Hemphill. We did all we could.” He said.
She crumpled against him and cried.
“Can I see him?” she asked.
“Yes.” He replied as he helped her into the room.
When she had been left alone she began to cry out to God.
“Lord, is he with You? If there is some way You could let me know I would be so thankful.”
Nell’s daughter came later in the morning and together they made the funeral arrangements. They cried and laughed together as they shared favorite memories of Nickey.
That night as Nell was sleeping, her phone rang.
“Hello?” she said wondering who would be calling her at this hour.
“Mom, I’m home.” Nickey said.
She woke to the dial tone on the phone.
“It must have been a dream.” She thought. “Or was it a telephone confirmation.”
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