Several weeks ago, I received a text I was hoping and praying that I wouldn’t receive. “Test results back, no brain activity at all, taking him off the vent tomorrow.” These were the words that came from my dear friend of 40 years. A strange medical situation had happened a few days before with her husband after having a fairly routine procedure done. The doctors at a different hospital where he had the procedure done assured my friend that the surgery went beautifully and there was no sign of this being a result of a mishap.
When he came home the day after the surgery, everything was fine. By the end of the day, she was rushing him back to the hospital as he cried out to her that he was dying and that he loved her. They did the scans and ran the tests, the brain scan revealed that his brain was completely surrounded by fluid. Hoping for a miracle, she along with countless others including myself, were praying for him. The news of this hit me like lightening. I can’t begin to imagine how it hit her.
This friend is one of the three of our little club. We have been friends throughout our whole youth and beyond. Paula, the friend in distress, has been my friend since kindergarten. Nina came into the picture in seventh grade, thus making us a threesome for the next 32 years. As we have gone through our various stages in life, we still remain close in the way that only childhood friends do. We have busy lives and are in different places in those lives. Nina’s two boys are grown and my son and daughter are just about there now too. Paula never had children. However, we pick up where we left off every time we get together, which is really only once a year. But nonetheless, we make it count.
So many years of skit making, trying on Paula’s older sister’s clothes (much to her frustration), and lip sinking to every song on the radio, even throwing in a little air guitar from me to complete the whole scenario. We had many overnights filled with snacks, music, and conversations about boys. We even all three dated the same boy, one right after the other starting with me, then Nina, then Paula. We are pretty sure Paula scared him the worst. I think he had it bad for her. Paula got her first car when she was sixteen and it was a beaut! A gold sprint that I’m pretty sure was nothing more than a tuna fish can in fancy wrapping. Pulling into the high school parking lot, she was more concerned that people noticed her new car than getting in the parking space without incident. That proved to be a poor call on her part as evidenced by the dotted line of dents and gold paint lining the drivers side door of the car she pulled in next to. Well, at least she made her mark.
Nina and I have a little bit of a different connection. She and I were both in an abusive relationship when we were about eighteen or so. We both know how the other struggled with that. She got out before I did but she was the one who said the words to me that will stay with me forever. “You want to be with someone that brings out the best in you and you in him, not the worst.” I don’t know why that was so powerful to me as opposed to the other comments I received like, “he’s going to kill you if you don’t leave” or “why do you let yourself get beaten up like that?” or even the wise words of my brother telling me “I’m going to kick his butt next time I see him”. Somehow Nina’s words meant more. I guess it was because they came from someone who had really been there.
Now of course we are all beyond that craziness now and on to new craziness. The kind that you look forward to everyday. Waking up next to the one who shares that craziness and spending the day going through the craziness together. Now the craziness shifts for Paula as she prepares to say goodbye to her life partner, her best friend, her lover, her everything. Jon and Paula dated years ago but then went their separate ways. She married someone else but Jon never married. He never really got over Paula and wasn’t going to settle. Eventually, Paula’s marriage ended in divorce and she and Jon would meet again. They rekindled the love and finally tied the knot. Sadly, I couldn’t make it to the wedding as I was out of town on a trip that had been planned for two years. But I was no less delighted for them both. I saw pictures and knew that this should have happened many years ago. However, God’s timing is much better than ours.
They have been married three years and are now having to part again, but this time not by choice. Mine and Nina’s hearts bleed for Paula and I know we are feeling our own mortality in this. I have sat at my husband’s hospital bedside without answers more times then I care to remember. But he has always come home and life resumed as usual. Not for her, though. Not this time. I wanted to text her a scripture to give her comfort in this terrible time of grief, but which one would be the best one? I prayed and asked God to show me the scripture I should send. I opened my Bible app on my phone to find the verse of the day. It read… “The Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalms 34;18
I couldn’t believe my eyes… well… ears! But then it shouldn’t have surprised me. God always shows up when I call on Him. I sent her the text and prayed that God would go before it. She replied with a thank you and a request to keep praying. I did. I will keep on praying during her healing process, funeral planning, and being able to get on with life someday in a new way. God finds every opportunity to reveal Himself to us if we will let our eyes see Him. My prayer is that she will let the eyes of her broken heart see Him. I can’t think of many other things that would cause me to be broken hearted and crushed in spirit than having to bury my husband. Oh how I will be praying for her to lean on and then continue to walk with Jesus.