Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: In-Law(s) (05/08/08)
TITLE: In Love And Desperation
By Joanne Sher
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"Me too. It's going to be all right, dear." Neither of our voices was above a whisper.
We both needed the embrace, the encouragement to hang on, the hope for the future. We were desperate for the strength to work through--to think through--the events of the past few days. I certainly can't speak for Sheryl, but I know I was glad to see her walk through the hospital room door at that moment. Her hug was precious, as were her words.
It made no difference to me that we were not blood relatives, or that she wasn't even related to him by blood. It didn't matter that she was "just" his step-mother. Sheryl loved him with a maternal love, and she treated me like the daughter she'd never had.
My own mother, the one I'd turned to for every scary, frightening situation in my first half-dozen years, was no longer living. My step-mother, who had taken her place (to an extent, anyway) in those matters for the next dozen or two years, was three thousand miles away.
For the past decade or so, I'd had someone else to turn to with my fears--someone new with which to share them. My husband, Mark, became my protector: the one who scared away the boogie man and comforted me in my troubles. But today, when I needed someone to do just that, not only was he unavailable, but he was what was scaring me.
Then, of course, there was God. Was he there? Undoubtedly. And, yes, he comforted me. But sometimes having a physical person you can actually touch and talk to can make a difficult situation a bit easier to handle.
It was my husband in that hospital bed, and we really had no answers. When hospital personnel were mentioning "mass" and "brain" in the same sentence, however, best-case scenarios were not the first things to come to mind. Sure, God was in control, but how would this affect me, my family, my husband, my LIFE?
It was comforting, somehow, to have another woman there with me. Females really do seem to react to situations like this differently than men do. I needed someone who could share in my concern and fear: someone who would understand. We could certainly empathize with each other. She and I were both afraid of losing someone we loved dearly: she, her step-son of nineteen years, and me, my husband of nine.
Sheryl and I, unlike the mother-in-law stereotype, had gotten along since we'd met. Yet, something about that desperate situation, and the love we both had for Mark, created a special bond--a bond of desperation and love, if you will--between us. We were truly drawn together by this trial. This is a bond we still have, five years later. The trial is not gone either, though it is different: less immediate, more controlled, if you will. And through it all, Sheryl was, and is, there.
I had other ladies in my life during this time, and they were certainly a blessing. Yet, God knew what I needed at that moment in the hospital room (and several others over the next few years): a woman who loved me, and Mark, in a way only a maternal figure could--and could do it in person. God gave us that woman in Sheryl.
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