Preparing for my husband’s homecoming took a bit of pre-planning. We had airlifted out of the woods and all we owned was still up there, in the mountain cabin. This situation called for my own impossible mission team, and they quickly materialized. Headed by my son’s boyfriend, my daughter and a group of their kind friends a late summer Saturday turned into moving day.
We met at a U-Haul center, rented a trailer, breakfasted at the McDonald’s next door, then off to the mountains. By the time my mother arrived to care for Chad, the bed was neatly placed in the downstairs living room. He had access to a bathroom two steps away, and enough room to use a walker to retrain his shriveled legs.
None of those preparations would have been possible without “a little help from my friends.”
Even at school all of my students, colleagues, parents and administration cut me huge swaths of slack. I realized in the midst of the whirlwind that somehow I was living in a state of grace. Chad was alive, my family provided support, and my school community couldn’t help enough.
A couple of days before the state football championship, our school’s team came to the house to visit the invalid-football fan. They signed a ball for him and sat a while, taking pictures and bringing youth and joy to his sick room
It still remained that he was quite ill, and pitifully fragile. It became my custom to stand over his bed each morning, listening for him to breath, verifying Chad had survived the night. And we still had a number of hospital runs ahead of us. An obstructed bowel, a collapsed lung, pneumonia, and finally his bowel resection. Still, despite my fears, despite all the chaos and confusion, I sensed an element of direction and purpose.
All of us, my parents, my children, my friends, students, and neighbors seem to form a team of our own. It was a team of humanity, of support, of prayer, of goodness, and of determination. I wouldn’t go back to that difficult time for anything, but I can savor from the distance of time that miracle of common cause.