Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Great Expectations (not about the book) (08/25/11)
TITLE: Love Over Limb And Ladder
By Von Pickett
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With my first and only entry, “We’re going to Israel” my leather bound journal lay on the coffee table just waiting. The day would soon arrive when my husband, John, and I would throw our suitcases in the Kia and depart for Atlanta Hartsfield Airport! A lifelong dream soon to be realized; it felt surreal. All the details were checked off my to-do list: reservations were made; itinerary in-hand; final payment remitted to Noseworthy Travel; passports in-hand; last minute shopping done; Verizon Wireless and credit card providers notified of out of country travel – we’re as good as gone. However, since our itinerary places us in Israel on Thanksgiving Day and we will not be able to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner with our family (John makes the best smoked turkey ever) we decided to move the date up, just three weeks before departure, and celebrate Thanksgiving early.
The day before our Thanksgiving dinner, our granddaughter, Jocelyn Brooke, was helping me take care of last minute details and getting the house ready for company. John is an outdoors kind of guy so he and our grandson, Nathan, were outside doing odd jobs.
The turkey is thawing, the to-do list is getting shorter and Jocelyn and I are winning the war on the dust bunnies and clutter that had overtaken our home. But unbeknownst to me or Jocelyn, John, with Nathan’s help, had decided that the tree near the barn needed some limbs trimmed. No matter that he had to put the ladder in the front loader bucket attached to the tractor to reach the limb (about 20 feet up) – no problem, he had used this method a few times before with no harm done.
The front door burst open . . . Nathan, with terror in his eyes, and breathless from fear and running, said, “Call 911 . . . Pepaw (John) has fallen off the ladder!”
I forgot to breathe . . . I couldn’t breathe! This couldn’t be happening! “Please, God no, please, God no” was all I could say or do. Jocelyn grabbed her cell phone and called 911 and my legs carried me outside, with terror hounding my every step. What would I find? I wasn’t sure I wanted to know.
I found John sitting at the foot of the tree, in shock and much pain; but he was alive! “I’m sorry I messed up our trip.” What was he saying; our trip was not a concern right now! What kind of injuries does he have? He had open heart bypass surgery only twenty months earlier – can his heart handle this or is there internal damage? “Honey, I’m not worried about our trip, are you okay?”
The rescue squad finally arrives and we make the trip to the hospital with sirens screaming. The next few hours are full of trauma and turn into days with concerns of: aorta contusion diagnosis; cardio by-pass re-injury; surgical repair for a busted shoulder; days in ICU; getting use of the arm back through physical therapy, all hurdles to overcome. But miraculously, just a week later, I was so glad to finally be able to bring him home! (No more lonely nights crawling in our bed without him haunted by what could have been.)
The next couple of weeks were hard-hitting ones. We had to get over our expectations of what was supposed to be happening during this time and just be thankful . It could have been so much worse: death, broken neck, paralysis, ruined lives (mine, Jocelyn’s and Nathan’s (who saw him fall and was traumatized by it)), God’s loving hand was all over this interruption of our lives, no matter which lens you chose to look through!
Was I heartbroken over our trip? You bet I was, even angry at the turn of events from joy to near tragedy. Did I always hide my disappointment? No, but my love for my husband of forty-one years won out. We had, after all survived many things: being separated by the military and the Vietnam war; financial difficulties; miscarriage of our third son; a short separation; the trials of rearing two teenagers trying to find their way into adulthood; prostate cancer surgery; open heart by-pass surgery; loss of parents; loss of siblings to name a few.
I could have gone without him, but love stayed home.
P.S. We did make the pilgrimage to Israel a year later. I have no regrets.
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