Just over twenty-four hours ago, our lives were drastically changed when I found my husband, Ray, unresponsive on our family room floor. It’s probably stupid that I’m writing this when I really need to be sleeping, but the words started circling like evil, sleep-eating, blood-thirsty sharks, (don’t get me wrong, I love these sharks most of the time) and I decided to just get this post out quickly, share it, and – hopefully – go back to sleep.
I can’t fit all of the things I’m grateful for into this post, but this will be a start, at least.
1. Ray’s Guardian Angel
Or maybe it was Little Man’s, I’m not sure. But when Ray got out of bed at 3 am yesterday morning, it barely registered with me. Fortunately, it woke Little Man up. If I hadn’t gotten up to nurse him, the story would have been very different when I woke up to my alarm clock at 5:30.
Did I already say that? Oh well. I learned late yesterday that the procedure the cardiologist performed to open Ray’s artery, which was 100% blocked, would not have been successful if performed by most cardiologists. He happened to come into the hospital at a time when one of the best cardiologists in the city was working, according to my friend who was a critical care cardiac nurse for 17 years and worked with this particular doctor. I can’t remember his name right now, but I’m incredibly grateful to him, too.
Oh, geez. I think I’m getting repetitive now. Okay, all of this clearly goes beyond one guardian angel and points directly to the Big Man himself, but I’m saving Him for last. I figure that some hand was guiding those paramedics, who arrived at our house incredibly quickly, and who were awesome with me and the children (there were firemen and police officers too. All were amazing). From the time I woke up until the paramedics arrived was 15 minutes, I think. When you consider that I did not initially realize what was going on, and had “half” nursed Little Man before I realized that Ray hadn’t just fallen asleep on the floor (sounds crazy, but entirely possible in Ray’s sleep world,) that relatively short space of time is nothing short of miraculous.
Just before 4 am, Ray left for the hospital. Who would I call to meet me there, but my parents, of course? And Dad, of course, answered the phone. And, of course, Mom and Dad arrived at the hospital just minutes after I got there with the kids. They proceeded to take care of me and the kids throughout the day, and I know they will be a tremendous help in the days to come.
My sisters… they took the kids yesterday afternoon and evening. They’ll likely have them more than I will in the days and weeks to come. They provide a comfortable, safe haven for children who need it so desperately right now.
My friend Erin texted a few minutes after I called my folks. I said out loud, “Oh my gosh. Erin Miller. What, is she clairvoyant?” Of course, she had no idea what was happening, but still, don’t you think that’s a little weird. If I had known she was awake, I would not have hesitated to text her instead of waking up my parents. And so she’s listed under this heading. Erin took off work so that she could be there to help with my kids. I’ve said before that she’s generous to a fault. I still believe that to be true. Right now, I’m extremely grateful for that “fault.”
My friend Jennifer (the critical care cardiac nurse) took off work and came and spent hours with me and Ray’s family at the hospital, translating medical-ese into English, asking pertinent questions, and affirming that he was receiving the very best care. She’s been my bestie since our Freshman year in high school. And so she’s under this heading, too.
My friend Brenda arrive outside Ray’s door late last night, having worked in the hospital all day long. She took Ray’s mom and sister down to the cafeteria, got toiletries for them, made sure they were comfortable, and then went back to Ray’s room to stay with him while I went home to get Little Man to bed (it was midnight and he hadn’t gone to bed yet. My poor mom.), get Dude to bed (same story) and get me to bed (same story. Dude and I had both been up since three.) And so… she’s under this heading.
It sounds ridiculous, but I’m so glad I like Ray’s family right now. They could be under heading number four, but they have their own serious hurting and worrying going on – he’s their blood, their son or their baby brother who’s been through tragedy before, and they were there the first time around. They got him through that first time, thirty years ago, and they will be instrumental in getting him through this time. It’s good to be surrounded by other people who love him, and who I love.
Many of you would have bent over backwards to help us today. Some of you did, and some of you will help us in the days, weeks, and months to come. We’re going to need all of you. I’m so grateful for this incredible network of friends who span across two wonderful parishes, a preschool, two neighborhoods, and beyond. I’m grateful for your prayers, the meals that have already started arriving, the clean house I came home to, every offer of support and help that you have extended or will extend. I’m overwhelmed. I can never write enough thank you notes, I will never find the words. I hope that I can be as present to you in your hour of need as you are to me.
7. My God and My Faith
My calm this morning was surreal. But I know it was rooted in faith. It was firmly founded in the knowledge that “I have a big God”. He will bring us through this. No matter the outcome, we are never left without hope. We rest securely in the knowledge that God has a beautiful banquet prepared for those who love him. We cling to the understanding that, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” God
can will take all things and use them for good. He remains my rock, my stronghold. I went to sleep with the words, “Night holds no terrors for me, sleeping under God’s wings.” Day holds no terror either. He will bring us through.
This doesn’t do it justice, but it’s a start, and maybe now I can sleep. Please continue to pray for Ray. His condition is critical. I can’t find the words to pray, and I’m sure yours will be better. Healing, comfort, and hope. God’s will be done, all Glory to Him, the One who made us all.
Oh, number 8… when it’s so hard to know the words to pray, I’m grateful for all of the prayers written by saints whose words are better than mine – or written by God himself. Here are a few favorites.
Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art though among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.
Blessed Mother, pray for us. St. Jude, pray for us. St. Isidore (Ray’s patron) pray for us. All you holy men and women, pray for us.
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