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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Pen and Paper (07/17/14)

TITLE: Love Divine
By Lollie Hofer
07/20/14


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An empty medicine bottle set on the trailer’s small kitchen table. “Well, the deed is done!” declared Ruth.

It was difficult writing the note with shaking hands and tears splattering everywhere. Pounding the pen on the paper Ruth tried to force ink out of an empty cylinder. “You’ve got to be kidding me. Lousy timing.”

Throwing the pen across the room Ruth stood. Grabbing the table for support she was determined to at least make it to her bed before the medicine overwhelmed her. The ringing phone caused her to jump.

“Who in the world could that be?”

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Eleanor couldn’t stop pacing in her receptionist office at the church. Her mother had been on her mind all morning and she found herself crying out to God on her mother’s behalf. She knew Ruth wasn’t an early riser and would give her an expletive earful, if she called too soon.

“What’s going on in here?” Patti, Eleanor’s friend and the church’s secretary, asked. ‘I can hear you praying all the way in my office.”

“It’s my mom, Patti. I can’t explain it but right now I am absolutely terrified for my mom. I’ve been praying but the burden is getting heavier.”

“Well girl, give her a call.”

“I would but I don’t think she’s up yet and she’d be an unhappy camper if I woke her, especially if she’s all right.”

“CALL HER!” Patti yelled. “I’ve never seen you this worked up before.”

Grabbing the phone Eleanor dialed.

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Without even knowing why she picked up the phone, Ruth answered with an angry “What!”

“Mom, it’s Eleanor. You sound weird. Is everything okay?”

“Yes. No. I don’t know. Your dad and I had another fight.” With that Ruth began sobbing.

“Mom! I’m worried about you. Where’s Dad?”

“H-h-he l-l-l-left. Said he was going for a long walk.”

Ruth began crying uncontrollably and as the drugs took effect, she staggered and fell to the floor.

“Mom. Talk to me. Patti, something’s really wrong. I think my mom passed out. I heard a thud.”

“Come on, let’s take my car. NOW. How far is your house from here?”

“It’s about a mile and half. Let’s go!”

When Eleanor got to the trailer she found Ruth unconscious on the floor. Picking the phone up from off the floor she immediately dialed 911. After hanging up the phone Eleanor turned to the table and saw the empty medicine bottle.

“Oh God. Please help my mom. Please don’t let her die.”

Kneeling on the floor she could tell her mother was still alive. Listening to her short raspy-breathing Eleanor curled up next to her, cuddling her and willing her to live until the paramedics could get there.

--------------------------------------------------

I wish this story had a happy ending but the truth is my mother was furious with me for interfering in her life. She stayed mad at God for years too. She didn’t want to hear about Him or His love. And strange as it may seem, she became fearful of dying. She refused to go to funerals, even that of close family members. She refused to write a will, even a simple one using pen and paper.

Almost up to her dying breath she fought with God. I remember driving wildly trying to get to the hospital before she died. After arriving, my sisters began to share with me how she thwarted the attempts of anyone wanting to pray, even refusing to allow the chaplain into her room.

By the time I reached her, she was already in a comatose state. However, she was extremely agitated and fought death (and God) every step of the way. I have never seen anyone fight so hard in the final few hours of their lives.

Since my sisters had been with her for a couple of days, I told them I would sit with her. I began to sing every hymn I could possibly think of. As long as I sang it seemed to soothe her. Her response made me think that she was hearing me so I told her I wanted her to pray the sinner’s prayer with me even though she couldn’t outwardly respond. Miraculously after praying, peace came and the writhing stopped. She lay silently until the Lord took her home a couple hours later.

Strange story, for sure. That’s okay. God spared my mother’s life thirty-nine years ago to bring her to a point of surrender to Him on her death bed. That’s Love Divine.


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This article has been read 93 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Brenda Rice 07/24/14
I'm very thankful your mother had you. Regardless of what she said,somewhere deep inside she knew you were acting out of love.
You did well telling your story and the covering the topic.

Thanks for sharing your story.
CD Swanson 07/25/14
Thank you for sharing your story. Your mom I'm quite sure heard you, and with God's grace and intervention, she responded accordingly. She's at peace, and now knows there is in fact a God.

I pray this was cathartic for you and brings you peace and acceptance. You're an amazing daughter, and she knows how much you cared.

God bless you~
Laury Hubrich 07/26/14
This story is a good reminder to move forward on something when we feel impressed to do so - even if we feel it might be crazy. I'm so glad you did! Thank you for sharing.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/27/14
Wow this is intense and sad, but also full of hope. My heart aches for you, even though it's been years. Somethings are hard to "get over" no matter what. Years ago a certain medication made me suicidal and I could relate to the feelings Mom was experiencing. It's amazing what God can and does do for us. I get the fearful of dying part as I, even in my most darkest hours still had a horrific death phobia. I've always found it ironic, but believe it's one of God's mysterious ways of protecting me.
I hesitate to comment on such a powerful story, but I'll admit the sudden change of POV distracted me a bit and slowed down the flow as I puzzled for a minute to figure it all out. I may have either kept it in the third person the entire way or started out in the first person after the scene of Mom alone. It's just something to think about. I wanted to share how it impacted me, but it may make others react differently.

You did a beautiful job of sharing something that must have been very difficult. I admire your courage and your obedience to God. He will use your words in many ways and I'm positive I'm not the only heart that you will touch. You did an outstanding job of setting the story up. The message is powerful and brings tears to my eyes. Your ending brought another kind of tears. You showcased how much the Holy Spirit loves us and intercedes on our behalf. Praise God and may he bless you for sharing this awesome piece.
Carol Hind07/27/14
Thank you so much for sharing this personal story. it is a sober reminder to me to act on those impressions, instead of allowing fear to dissuade me. I'm so glad it ended well and your mum left this world in peace. I liked the drama of your story and liked how you separated the various scenarios.
Glynis Becker 07/27/14
Such a powerful testimony to the grace of God. Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing this moment in your life with us.
Joshua Janoski07/27/14
Powerful story! You always hear about children needing their parents, but sometimes it's the other way around. Your mother needed you, and you did the best thing you could do in her final hours which was point her to Jesus.

There were a few typos (medicine bottle "set" instead of "sat") and grammatical errors, but none of them kept me from enjoying this story. Grammar and punctuation is easy enough to fix. It's the heart of the story that matters moat, and this story has a lot of heart.

Thanks for sharing!
Joshua Janoski07/27/14
And I even left a grammatical error in my comment above. Meant to say "most" not moat. We all do it. No biggie. :)

Thanks again for sharing this story.
Diane Bowman07/28/14
This must have been hard to write. So thankful it had a happy ending. Impulses like you had are from God.
Bea Edwards 07/28/14
You wrote of an obviously painful life experience with compassion for your mom's condition and her subsequent end of life decision.

I think she would be pleased!
Joe Moreland07/28/14
It's tough to write something like this, I know. I'm glad you put it down, along with your hopes and your worry. I know that doing something similar about the death of my father helped me tremendously; hopefully it does the same for you.

Overall I felt your writing was excellent, the characters felt real and the situations authentic. Like someone else said, I'm not sure I like the POV shift, and I don't think it was necessary as it could just have easily continued in the 3rd person with the same dramatic effect. But that is all subjective and I suspect there are others who prefer the way you presented it, so it's really more important how you feel about that.

One thing I think was missing, that would have helped me understand the mom character's personality better is if I knew what happened to the dad. The story mentions him leaving on a long walk...did he come back? Did they stay together or separate? Those answers reveal situational impactions on the mom's psyche. In the end I'm left to wonder; did she stay bitter because the husband never came back?

This is a lot of commenting, so I'm sorry to go on, but I do really like what you're written here, or I wouldn't bother to comment.

Thanks for sharing your story with us.

Judith Gayle Smith07/29/14
This reminds me of my first mother-in-law, and inspires my next article strongly.

I think I thank you. I am cluttering my keyboard with tears and empathy ...