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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Predicament (03/01/12)

TITLE: The Widow
By C D Swanson


It was challenging enough being in a wheelchair; the lack of space compromised it further. She was newly widowed, and having difficulty adjusting to a solo lifestyle. Her entire existence changed when she said goodbye to the love of her life.

The senior citizens congregation apartments were lovely, and state- controlled. There was always a long waiting list and the few who did enter the "Golden Gateway" hardly ever left...by choice.

I knocked on the door and walked in after hearing, "come in."

"Hello Mrs. Emerson. May I speak with you a moment?"

"Come on in Mrs. Director," she smiled every time she used the nickname she gave me.

"Mrs. Emerson, how are you doing? I understand you had a flare-up the other evening. I am concerned about you."

"You are the only director that has ever shown genuine concern for my well- being. The others seemed to care only about the rent. Or, giving me specific orders about what to throw out stating fire regulations."

"Well...thank you. May I sit down for a moment? I would like to discuss something with you."

"Of course." She immediately turned from the computer screen. She shifted in her wheelchair as she looked at me.

"Mrs. Emerson. I have only been here three months but have become so fond of all of the occupants...especially you. I am concerned at how the other director treated you after the death of your husband."

She put her head down and picked at her purple pants pulling off the white cat hairs deliberately and fastidiously. An idiosyncrasy she displayed when she was uncomfortable, or hurting.

"Mrs. Emerson. I understand they moved you within one week of your husband's death to this smaller one bedroom apartment. You went from the first floor, to the third floor...and from an overly spacious apartment to cramped quarters. How are you coping with this transition?"

"I...it's..." She paused and wiped her eyes with her yellow tissue before continuing. "It's been very hard." She sobbed so deeply her whole body shook.

"I am so sorry," I walked over and leaned down and hugged her. She was groaning and sobbing so deeply…after some time, she stopped as she lifted her head from my shoulder.

"Thank you. I am sorry about that," blowing her nose, she looked at me, her eyes glazed with pain.

"Sorry? Oh my heavens. There is no need to apologize for anything...especially for loving and missing your husband."

"I miss him every single day. This place is a shoebox for sure, but it is my new home. I cannot afford to go anywhere else." Suddenly the oxygen tank alarm went off.

"The replacement tank will be here within the hour Mrs. Emerson."

"Thanks, I know, he called me."

"I have a plan. Although the rules and regulations mandate only married couples in the two bedroom units...I think I can offer your old apartment back."

"What?" Her eyes were suddenly twinkling, the first glimmer in a long time.

"Yes. You heard correctly. I took home the administrative books last night. I prayed to God to show me how I can overturn this situation. I prayed hard and deep. And, I believe the Lord showed me a way. It is an obscure exception, listed under medical compliance. I found out that you may be in jeopardy due to your medical conditions."

"What does that mean?" She sat up in her wheelchair enthralled.

"Well, you are on the third floor. Now, should there be a fire, although we have elevators, you should be capable of exiting quickly without the use of the elevator...obviously you cannot. Plus, you are confined to a wheelchair. Your quality of life is being compromised due to the lack of space. Based on these issues, I feel confident I can ask for reinstatement of your former apartment… thereby dismissing the rules and regulations, stating non –compliance. I will specifically cite your medical and personal needs. The state could be in violation of your safety."

“Director, I don’t know…”

“Let me get on this right away.”

“Thank God for you.”

The state called after receiving the “non-compliance form.” They warned me that I could lose my job for placing them in this predicament. It didn’t hinder me for one moment…God was with me. And if God was with me, how could I lose?

After two weeks of constant prayer and waiting. I delivered the news to Mrs. Emerson.

Smiling I asked, “Are you ready to move?”

Note- A true story when I was the director of the senior/assisted living complex.

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This article has been read 530 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Hiram Claudio03/08/12
First of all ... good for you! I applaud your willingness to stick your neck out and defend someone who was being run over by a "system." This was so well written. In the beginning, it was a little foggy as to which character was speaking but after the 1st paragraph I caught on.

I really could feel the old woman's despair and pain. I could also connect with the MC's love for her and deserve to help. Very nice job!
Leola Ogle 03/08/12
Oh, so happy it worked out for Mrs. Emerson and grateful for loving, dedicated staff like "Mrs. Director" who look out for the best interest of their clients. Well written especially the dialogue. Thanks for sharing! God bless!
Rosamund Bunney03/08/12
Moving and well-written. Just one suggestion: the phrase "An idiosyncrasy she displayed when she was uncomfortable, or hurting." is superfluous. You've already shown us in graphic words exactly how she's feeling. You don't need to tell us as well. A very enjoyable read.
Linda Goergen03/08/12
Oh this was so well written and touching, even more so that it is a true story! Thank God there are still earth angels out there like you were on this job—those willing to put themselves in the predicament of losing their job to help someone in need. Applause for this story, but much more applause for your selfless act of kindness.
Cynthia Carter03/08/12
I enjoyed reading this and I think I know who wrote it. Good job.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/08/12
Wow, I enjoyed this story a lot. Often it seems like many doctors or nurses don't advocate for their patients nowadays. But that is such an important lesson. We need to take better care of our elderly. Thank you for working diligently on their behalf.
Dannie Hawley 03/09/12
Beautifully done. Thanks for sharing this story and how the Father must have rejoiced at your concern for one of His widows. His heart is with the orphans and widows and He is blessed when we are His hands extended for them.
Kristi Huseby03/09/12
This was a nice read. Thank you.
Mary Toll03/11/12
You have successfully knitted together courage, boldness, and sacrifice into this real-life event to the satisfying and victorious ending-- the power of prayer.

I see four ‘humorous’ fires set by the state that scorched up their case:

1. Their questionable and mean-spirited manner in which they rob the grieving widow of her personal belongings. (A big “No, No”, since God looks after widows}.
2. The new director’s heart is grieved, raising an eyebrow and starts digging into the states ‘own’ administrative books for the ‘hidden’ truth.
3. Trapped by their own words in their documentation, the state threatens the director of her position. By the director exalting a person’s dignity and rights over her own, the state is really looking bad at this point because their ‘heart’ is hardened.
4. And finally. A higher power gets involved with His child in her requests for righteous justice to be executed.

God did say “My people die for lack of knowledge”, and by the tenacious director, her friend was delivered by the truth. Just as Jesus exposed the Pharisees and scribes, that they were white washed tombs and blind guides, your story makes me ponder. How many dead men’s bones await righteous justice behind this world's systems, only for the systems to also go up in smoke by the stroke of God's prayed-in power. Well done.
Noel Mitaxa 03/12/12
A great story of clarity and compassion breaking down bean-counting bureaucrazy(!) Very-well told.
Edmond Ng 03/12/12
This is an excellent piece. As Christians, we are often placed with a difficult choice to decide on what is right or to just ignore and follow the norm. You have done well, and God knows your heart.
Danielle King 03/13/12
What a wonderful,caring director you were. This entry oozes compassion and kindness to someone in need. A lovely story and beautifully written. I know who you are!