My mother shouted from the basement, “Someone help me! Amy! Mike! ”
I didn’t even hear her scream since I was up three flights of stairs in my writer’s loft. But thank God my brother did. Even so, it took time for the cry to register since he was in a deep sleep. But when it did, he ran down to see what was wrong.He found her groaning on the cement floor, unable to get up. “Are you okay?” he cried as he helped her get off the floor.
Later, I learned she’d been reaching for the poker to stoke the fire when she lost her balance and fell backward. She tried to break her fall by throwing out her left hand.
A few minutes after that all happened, around 10: 00 am, I sailed into the living room and saw mom pulling out the cord to the vacuum cleaner. I grinned at her. “Ah, today my timing’s better. Maybe I won’t get tangled in the cords like yesterday.” I passed by and headed to the basement to put more wood in the fire. As I came back through, she started to say something and I paused. When she didn’t repeat herself, I went back to my writing.
At lunch, she invited me downstairs to have a cup of soup. During our meal, she told me about the fall.
“I didn’t hear anything!”
“I tried to tell you earlier but you didn’t hear me,” she said, sounding hurt. What I wouldn’t give to repeat those few minutes with her and give her my full attention. She’d tried to tell me she’d fallen. Even worse, I’d joked about how good my timing was.
As the day wore on, her muscles stiffened. By 4:00 pm, she seemed to be in a great deal of pain. She continued to ice her hand until she want to bed. At 4:00 am, my brother woke me up. He choked out the words, “Can you stay with mom? She hasn’t slept all night.” His eyes said, I don’t know what to do.
“Of course.” I went right down.
She was seated in her recliner holding an ice pack. I bent over to examine her hand. “Mom, is the pain much worse?”
White-faced, she moaned, “I can’t move it at all.”
God, what do I do?!
Trembling, I reached for the Tylenol, tried to clear my mind in order to open the container. I splashed some filtered water into a small cup and handed her two tablets. Afterward, I sat next to her as she moaned in pain. Emergencies made me feel helpless. Who could I call? The only ones who could help now would be my younger brother, Don, or his wife. After a flurry of phone calls to and from my younger brother, Julie volunteered to take my mother to the emergency room for x-rays.
My heart beat rapidly while I waited for Julie to arrive. I didn’t know what to say or do to alleviate the pain. “She’ll be right here, mom.” I reassured, glancing desperately at the door. “She’ll be here any minute.”
As soon as Julie arrived, I felt better. She took control of the situation. Minutes later, they were out the door and on their way to the emergency room at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Erie.
A few hours later, I called to get an update. “It looks like she’s broken a bone in her hand and a vein might be affected. We have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon on Monday. If the vein is damaged, she’ll have to have surgery on her hand.”
My heart sank. Suddenly, at 83, my mother seemed more fragile than I ever imagined.
My entire family had been under fire for months with various health issues and I, myself, had been struggling for three weeks with a sinus infection that still affected my hearing.
And now my mother.
Where was God in the midst of our storm?
As soon as the question came to my mind, God sent me a verse to answer my question. Hebrews 13:15 read, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Either I believed it or I didn’t. And if I did, then God was standing in the midst of the storm we were all going through, supporting us with His right hand. He might not be calming the storm but He was there calming us so that we’d hold up against the gales.
I read once that the eye of the storm remained still while the rest of the storm raged all about. Was that because of God’s presence in the epicenter?
I sat at the computer, writing the blessings I saw in the midst of our ordeals:
- we’d often prayed together as a family, which increased our faith and brought us closer.
- God didn’t put our extended family together randomly. Over the last several months, I saw individual strengths come out to balance our difficulties—a mixture of practical help and encouragement, in which everyone played a part.
- Best of all, my niece, Rachel, conceived unexpectedly. I believe that God orchestrated that pregnancy to serve as a beautiful blessing not only to her but also to our entire family.
Obviously, we are concerned about my mother and pray she won’t face the pain of surgery. It’s very hard to see someone you love suffering. But God is faithful.
If you are struggling against frightening odds today, believe that God is in the midst of your storm. Hold on tight. He will carry you through it. And somewhere in those winds, with His very breath, He’ll blow in blessings to help you cope.