Friday, December 03, 2010

Journal of a Living Lady #386

Nancy White Kelly

Thanksgiving Day has passed, but not the season of thanks. November has never been a good month in our family. My parents passed in November, years apart, ironically in the same hospital room.

Other life-changing events also occurred in the eleventh month of the year. In 1964, I spent all the 30 days of November and part of December in a Memphis hospital recovering from spleen surgery.

Thanksgiving, 2010, will go down as particularly memorable. We were again going to host all of our near-by family, which now includes Tori’s parents who live in Warner Robins. This blended family gathering has become a highly anticipated annual tradition although Ginger, Bobby’s wife, would be in Iraq.

The first hint that this was going to be an unusual Thanksgiving was the puzzling disappearance of the frozen holiday turkey. I searched the freezer twice. Big bird wasn’t there. I know the over-sized turkey was not a figment of my imagination.

My sister, Sunnie Anne, and Buddy can back up the fact that I did actually buy a turkey. Buddy was certain I was over-looking Tom, so he too searched the up-right freezer twice. Like a proud hunter returning from the field, Buddy proudly threw his big frozen blob on the kitchen counter. To his chagrin I casually noted that his solid rock was not the missing turkey, but a ham.

The incident of the disappearing turkey was mystifying but soon became a blip on the significance scale compared to what was coming.

On the Saturday preceding Thanksgiving, I received a late-night phone call from son, Charlie. The news wasn’t good. Tori’s father, just 54, was in the hospital with double-pneumonia and kidney failure. This was especially bad since he only had one kidney which was transplanted 20 years ago.

In addition to this shocking news, Charlie said that Tori’s only brother was also in a hospital in Macon with total kidney failure. He pierced his knee with a nail and waited too long to follow up. Sepsis set in. The prognosis for his this young father of four was not good either. Not only were his kidneys in danger, but there was a strong possibility he would lose a portion of his leg.

My heart was saddened, thinking of Sammy’s wife, Ellen, who now simultaneously had a critically ill husband and son in two separate hospitals. What could I do?

When life throws a curve, we so often rely on our faith as we should. I immediately typed up a note to distribute to several prayer warriors that I would see in church the next morning. An email notice went out to others whom I knew would rally in prayer.

Sammy was air-lifted to Emory and rushed to ICU. The doctors warned the family that he was possibly less than an hour from death.

Because this is a column and not a book, I will summarize: The next morning Sammy made a turn for the better. Each day he improved.

Thanksgiving Day came. On the table amongst the usual trimmings was a young turkey that a good friend prepared for us. The best gift of all was answered prayer. Sitting at our Thanksgiving table was a thankful family that included Sammy and the rest of clan. Buddy’s emotional blessing wasn’t routine. We had been bountifully blessed.

November didn’t end badly after all.