Day 261, the day I combine many words (over 1,000) with the picture.
Rob was out of town last week, from Sunday through Friday. When he returned home, I milked his presence, and I let the boys soak up time with their Dad. On Sunday, after church, I took a nice long nap, while Rob did his thing, and the boys did their thing.
Around 5:45, Rob started working his way to the kitchen, and I said, “You’re making dinner for the boys tonight, right?” He confirmed my thought, just as the boys came inside the house. For the next hour, the men in my life were in the kitchen and dining room, putting together dinner, eating dinner, and making peanut butter cookies after dinner. All this took place, while I sat in the living room reading and catching up on blogs I’ve missed throughout the week.
Charlie came and visited with me frequently, wondering if I wanted to play Legos, asking to sit next to me, wondering if I wanted to see his latest Ninja moves, etc. Politely, I declined every request, letting him know I was enjoying my quiet reading time. I felt no guilt, having spent a great deal of time with the boys during the week.
When the men in my life finished the dinner, baking, and tasting, the boys got themselves ready for bed. Generally speaking, the boys are in bed and the lights are off by 7:30. If they are just getting to bed by 7:30, we tend to skip reading time.
Last night, they did not get into bed until 7:30, which meant we were going to skip reading time. Except for the fact that there was something in my gut – a voice in my head – the still small voice was talking to me, and I was listening.
“If you die tonight, your boys will not remember you reading to them at night. Your boys will remember you sitting at your laptop. If you don’t take advantage of this time, Lenore, you will be sorry.”
With that thought, I shut my laptop, placed it on the coffee table, and walked into my boys’ room. The boys’ faces lit up when I sat on Charlie’s bed with the book we’ve been reading, and I read two chapters before stopping, saying goodnight, and turning out the light.
Within an hour, the phone rang. Rob’s Mom was calling to let us know Rob’s brother was in the hospital with pneumonia and he “was very sick.” My heart sank.
Walter is 45 yrs old. He has battled Type-1 Diabetes since he was 2yrs old. He’s had several transplants and several other health issues due to his Diabetes. Last week, in fact, Walter suffered a near heart attack, and he received three stints to open the blockage. He was released from the hospital and feeling better. This was just another minor setback in the life of Walter, who I’ve called “The Energizer Bunny” for years.
This past Saturday, he was battling a cough. Within 24hrs the cough became severe, and on Sunday he took himself to a local clinic to see about getting meds for the cough. When he returned home he immediately asked his wife to take him to the nearest hospital, due to the fact that he was having difficulty breathing.
When we spoke to Rob’s Mom on the phone, I could hear the sadness and concern in her voice. My chest ached as only a mother’s chest could, when she said to me, “Lenore, my boy is sick.”
Walter and hospitals is not new for this family. Walter has seen the inside of more hospitals than I have seen poopy diapers. (And, I’ve seen many poopy diapers.) Walter and I joke about the fact that he has a ‘frequent visitor’ card for various hospitals. [No, he doesn’t really have such a card.] But, Walter is the Energizer Bunny. Walter just keeps going, and going, and going, and going.
He flies overseas for his job. He works on his car. He works on his house. He works, works, works. He doesn’t stop. Oh, did I mention, Walter had a stroke several years ago, leaving his left side a little sluggish? Meh. No matter, Walter keeps going.
But last night was different. Last night, Walter told his Mom, “I’m in a bad way.”
Those words are not Walter-like. Those words scared me more than anything else.
Still, I prayed, and I went to bed. I knew I’d touch base with the family in the morning, and I knew we would all get through this latest challenge.
When the sun rose, our morning was busy with getting the boys ready for school and my husband ready to return to the office. Once again, I found myself enjoying quiet reading time in the living room, and I was planning the day in my head, which included prepping for the rain we expect to receive.
When I heard the garage door close, letting me know the men in my life were on their way to face their day, I looked out our large living room window. Even though we are expecting rain, I noticed the sun shining on the trees outside, and I heard the still, small voice again. “The sun is out momentarily, Lenore. Take advantage of the time you have. See the beauty around you, while you can. Come outside and bring your camera. Life is fleeting.”
Just as I had the night before, I closed my laptop and placed it on the coffee table. I grabbed my camera, and I walked outside to see what nature had to offer. What I found was beautiful and fragile, and the instant I saw it – I knew it was the reason I was ‘called’ outside.
After taking several pictures, I came back inside the house. Within minutes, the phone rang. It was Rob.
“Have you talked to my Mom, yet?”
“No. I was waiting until 8:30 to call her.”
“Well, she just called me. She and Dad are on their way to the hospital. Walter was put in ICU because his pneumonia is so severe.”
Life is beautiful. Life is fragile. My thoughts and prayers are with Walter. Walter is my hero.
Update : The antibiotics are working, and Walter is feeling better. He remains in ICU, and he is not out of the woods – but he is improving, and he seems to be on the road to recovery. They are going to get a CT scan of his lungs, and he”ll have dialysis tomorrow.