I arrived home from grade school to hear Mom groaning. Empty pill bottles lay strewn about her nightstand. I grabbed the phone. “Put that down!” she threatened. I obeyed, then raced to the kitchen to call Dad at work.
At the hospital, the doctor said there was nothing to do but wait…come back in the morning. I thought if I could keep my hands folded in prayer all night long, God would make her live. She made it through.
The next time, I was older and away. She called one night to say “Goodbye. I’ll always love you,” because she had decided to die in the garage where her car was idling. I called the police, and they got her to the hospital. I drove for hours. I waited and prayed. She made it through.
The last time, she wouldn’t answer her phone. I called her employer who said she hadn’t come in for two days, so I called her friend. Silence followed, then, “She’s dead.” I dropped the phone and slid down the wall. The bullet she had fired through her heart shattered mine.
My nights cast visions of her. My days wreaked panic: I have to find her… help her… rescue her. The questions wouldn’t end. Why didn’t she tell me goodbye? How could she choose such a horrible death? Why didn’t I see it coming? Wasn’t this all just a bad dream? Why couldn’t she make it through again?
Thirty-seven years later, I still can’t display her picture. I can’t talk at length about her life or death. Though I’ve found healing from this tragedy to be undefinable, I have learned to live with its pain. How? By waiting on me; by praying for me. God is getting me through.