TITLE: But for the Grace of God, Go I 2-10-15
By Lois Lewis
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Steve Jacobs wasn’t always a pig. In high school, he ran track and cross country. He was careful to keep his weight under control, eating lots of salads, along with pasta for energy. When he and his wife, Missy, were first married, they were active in a church softball league. Though they usually went out for pizza after games, most of the time, they tried to eat healthy.
A week after their daughter, Chloe, was born, Missy started suffering post partum depression. At first, they didn’t realize what was wrong. Chloe was their first baby. They just thought Missy’s loss of appetite, insomnia, fatigue, irritability, sadness, and mood swings, went with the new mom territory. When she didn’t get better in a couple of weeks though, they went to see their family physician. Missy told the doctor she was having a hard time bonding with the baby, and completing everyday tasks. He prescribed an anti-depressant, and estrogen replacement therapy, and recommended she stop breastfeeding.
For the next three months, Steve was a rock. He worked his job repairing heating and air conditioning units, dropped Chloe off at the daycare before work, and picked her up afterwards. He did the grocery shopping, the cooking, the dishes, the laundry. He was even understanding about Missy not wanting to be intimate. He comforted her when she had crying spells, and he prayed harder than he ever had in his life. Thankfully, the prayers and medications worked. Missy soon became an excellent mother, and Steve got his wife back.
As with most young parents, Steve and Missy’s lives, more or less, revolved around Chloe. At eleven months, when Chloe started to walk, Steve recalled hearing Missy say, she felt like her heart had grown legs, and was walking around outside her body.
One Saturday, when Chloe was twenty months old, Missy went to a shopping mall with her sister, and left Chloe at home. Steve took her outside to play, while he worked on his truck. When his cell phone rang in his pocket, he answered it, and got absorbed in the conversation. He didn’t see Chloe wander off.
A short time later, when Missy pulled into the drive and got out of the car, the first words out of her mouth were, “where’s Chloe?” He glanced around. His heart beat staccato, and his mind raced to catch up with the question, he didn’t have an answer to.
Immediately, they started calling Chloe’s name, and frantically searching. Ten minutes later, they found her floating face down in a nearby creek. Missy called 9-1-1 and Steve started CPR. When the EMT’s arrived, they continued the CPR, but were unable to revive Chloe. She was DOA at the hospital.
Time passed, and though Missy said she didn’t blame Steve, their marriage didn’t survive. Steve wanted to die, but as a Christian, he didn’t believe anyone but God had the right to decide when a life should end. The pastor told him it was an accident, he couldn’t blame himself. The pastor was wrong.
Steve lost his job. He tried to find meaning in his life again, but couldn’t. He didn’t understand why God allowed Chloe to drown. He knew God didn’t cause it, but he also knew all things are possible for God, so he could have prevented it. Steve stopped praying, and going to church.
Consumed with grief and guilt, the only comfort he found was in eating food, lots of it. Thanks to his phone, and the internet, he didn’t even have to leave the house to shop. Groceries were delivered daily to the door.
Eventually, Steve got so heavy that walking became nearly impossible, and he couldn’t fit through the doorways. He stayed in the house, on the sofa bed in the living room, watching T.V. and eating, night and day. Out of his disability check, he hired a housekeeper to clean up after him.
Steve knew he was in trouble, the day it felt like a gorilla was sitting on his chest, squeezing his heart. He called for an ambulance. A fire truck, and two ambulances arrived. Six strong men transferred him to one of the ambulances, after they removed the picture window from the house, so they could get his thousand pound, body out.
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