Daylight arrived just as I walked across the nearly empty parking lot and through the swishing doors. I had made this trip so many times the odor of disinfectant and medications no longer assailed my senses with dread. I knew exactly where to go and what I would see.
I believed Lena was still here…somewhere. Others seemed certain she was not, and that her soul should be released to a place with no more suffering. I was just as certain that life and death decisions rest solely with God.
“Good morning, Sweetie, “I cooed, “Did you have a restful night?”
Her answer was to stare at the greeting card covered wall. That didn’t stop me.
“I'm glad you’ve already had a nice bath. Someone even braided your beautiful hair.”
I could tell by the signs of order she left in her wake that Nurse Becky was on duty. I appreciated the tender care she gave to my sleeping-beauty daughter. The hours I spent seeking an answer from the Lord I loved and served gave me the confidence to rise up in defense of the horror being foisted on us. This angel of mercy understood.
My darling Lena had to be protected until she was healed. That’s all there was to it. She was oblivious to the ugly war that had raged around her for months.The final confrontation was at the door.
When I asked Becky--which I seemed to do at frequent intervals--if she had seen coma patients wake up after so long, she thrilled my heart with her answer.
“More than one,” she whispered as she trod that fine line between hope and reality. “Miracles still happen. Don’t let anyone tell you they don’t.”
I didn’t intend to.
Lena’s estranged husband, Nick, had petitioned the court to remove her from the respirator…the one machine she still needed to keep going. Her heart beat was strong and her vitals were stable.
“Wake up and smell the coffee, Old Lady,” was his favorite argument to me for finishing her off.
I was not afraid of him.
“She didn’t get that lump on her head, bruises on her wrists, and deep knife wounds in her side from falling while peeling apples. How stupid do you think I am?”
He must have thought I was as gullible as the local judge his politician father kept secure in his felonious pocket. That was the same pretender to the bench who declared Lena had no proof of harassment. In desperation, she fled to what she thought was the safety of her childhood home and to me, but Nasty Nick managed to get to her while I was out.
His official statement read like the fairytale it was; that he had found her crumpled on the floor, bleeding and unconscious. That phony boyish charm served him well once more. I hired a smart young lawyer. It’s a good thing.
Nick fake cried his made-up story to reporters. He whined that his mother-in-law had no right to keep his beloved trapped and useless. It made me sick. The fact that divorce papers had been filed wasn’t mentioned. Nick’s crooked daddy, sans any semblance of integrity or character, wielded way too much power in our small town. I engaged another kind of power to work for Lena…a much higher one, of course.
The final battle would decide if she would keep breathing with the aid of a respirator until the miracle happened we had prayed for, or if her creepy legal-spouse could push her into a premature departure.
I stood by the window and watched my competent lawyer stride to the hospital door, briefcase in hand. A great peace settled on my spirit as I waited for the verdict.
He came into the sun-filled room and wasted no time in producing an impressive looking document from the leather attaché. His handsome face was unreadable. My faith in God’s perfect answer did not waver.
“I came straight from the hearing,” he said. “I was surprised to find a new sitting judge I’d never seen.”
As I reached for the decree that would change a precious life, he cautioned me, “The ink is barely dry; be careful.”
Post Script: Lena woke up. I knew she would. Nick went to jail. His father wasn’t far behind. That young Perry Mason fellow became so smitten he proposed a life-sentence Lena couldn’t refuse. I have no doubt he is judge material (I’ll be praying for him).
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