Dear Spark Friends,
Thank you so much for your all your comments and messages on my blog and Spark page. I have treasured every single one, but have been unable to reply to many in the last two or three weeks. So much is going on here, most of which is temporary and minor (FIL's imminent move to a nursing home after all these long months of procrastinating, son's indecision on his next career move, etc.), but there is one big thing that has taken up most of my emotional energy, and that is the fact that my nephew, my twin sister's (fraternal) son--who is thirty-two years old, grew up in Georgia where we're from, and now lives in Colorado with his wife and his 9-month-old baby girl--was in an auto accident last week. They had missed a flight out of Colorado Springs and were hurrying to the Denver airport to catch a later one to their destination in Georgia, to go home for the holidays. Their car hit what's called "black ice." I had never heard of that before this incident and have never seen it in real life, having grown up in Georgia, where snow and ice were uncommon. Their car flipped over, ejecting Perrin and his wife from the vehicle. The baby was completely unharmed--thank God for car seats! Perrin's wife sustained multiple bone fractures and a badly broken arm, but a truly terrible thing happened to my nephew Perrin. His spine was broken in two places and he is now paralyzed. He has undergone surgery. I don't know any of the technical words for what was done, but my image is that they are trying to fuse the spine back together and restore neurological function. I'm told we will know more in the coming days and weeks whether or not the paralysis will be permanent.
I've been praying and praying that the surgery succeeds and that Perrin will go on to lead a normal life. He went through so much trauma as a child and adolescent, surviving as a toddler his parents' bitter divorce (my sister tragically lost custody), his own wild party/alcohol phase, a tour of duty in Afghanistan, and lots of other suffering I don't know about. It was only recently that he seemed to have found himself and created a truly happy life with his soul mate and cherished child. He had just posted pics on Facebook (I'm told by my children; I'm not on FB) that showed him leading a peaceful, happy life with his beloved wife and adorable child. The baby is being cared for by her maternal grandparents, and while she loves them, it's clear that she's missing her mother and father, who remain hospitalized.
Being so far away, over here in Japan, is hard at a time like this. All I can do at the moment is send messages and talk on the phone when people feel like talking. It's hard not to be close by to offer physical help, like shopping and cooking, especially to my sister, who is nearing stage 4 polycystic kidney disease. Perrin, bless his heart, had been found to be a match for her as a donor, despite the fact that he is adopted--how is that for heartbreaking? My sister nevertheless seems to be holding up so much better than I imagine I would under the circumstances. "We will get through this, we will get through this," she says repeatedly on the phone as I try to stifle my sobs. She puts her faith in the doctors, God, and Perrin's indomitable spirit.
I am already scheduled to go to the US in January, which turns out to be extremely lucky, as this will be when friends have started to get over the shock of Perrin's accident and new status and will no longer be able to visit Perrin or pay as much attention to those devastated by this turn of events, such as his wife, in-laws, and my sister, as friends and family have no choice but to get back to the daily routines of their own lives.
At times like these, I feel more than ever the importance to remain alert, to stay away from the bad habits that prevent me from being a grownup--drinking more than I should and consuming excess amounts of food that can make me groggy and less able to respond. (Irresponsible means unable to respond, and that's what I am when I'm "using.") I'll admit that in these first few days after the accident, I've wanted nothing more than to drown out these feelings--sorrow, pain, fear--with some sort of substance (preferably alcohol), but fortunately, and through great effort (I'm struggling and that's good!), I've been able to foresee the aftermath of any kind of binge, and it is very clear that I can be of no use whatsoever if I am under the influence of anything in excess--alcohol, or the unnatural chemicals in junk food, or the massive number of calories from unneeded food that leads to a foggy mind, a reluctance to move, and the inability to HELP! To stay sober and abstinent has never been more important.
Well, friends, it's a cliche but so true. Life can change in an instant. We have to be ready to help at any moment. I don't consider myself a very religious person, but I strongly believe in God and that we were sent here to accomplish a mission. I don't know why, but since Perrin's accident, a verse from the Bible has been coming back to me. I don't have enough time to go look it up at the moment, so I'll just tell you how I remember it from my Sunday school class at a Baptist church in a small Georgia town more than fifty years ago. God was looking for someone to do a very difficult task, and Samuel, just a boy at the time, said, "I will go. Send me." I wish I had time to go reread the story, but at the moment, the details are not all that important. What's important is Samuel's words that move me so deeply now, all these years later. "I will go. Send me."
Please have a safe holiday, full of love and gratitude!
P.S. My SparkFriend READYSTEADYGOGO has kindly identified the Bible passage including Samuel's words. Thank you, Auna, for letting me know. I will go back and reread that story:
The bible passage is from Isaiah, Chapter 6, verse 8. The whole chapter is very interesting, because before Samuel speaks, an angel purifies him. https://www.bible.com/bible/1/