Monday, May 3, 2010

The Living and the Dead - and the Living

The living: Saturday night at a party, my daughter-in-law suffered a bad accident. Leaving the details and cutting to the chase, Katherine was sitting under a granite shelf when it fell. It came tumbling down, end over end, and the first end struck her hard in the head. She ducked, and the second end struck her hard in the neck.

Now Katherine was already in constant pain, day and night, from her neck. She has degenerative disk disease. She's still in her thirties, and this is an old persons' disease, in which the disks of the spine degenerate. So her already-damaged neck was the last place in the world she needed to be injured.

X-rays have revealed no fractures; that is the main thing. Her muscles, though, are all knotted up and traumatized, and she is in a great deal of pain.

I came down to North Carolina today to help her with the three children.

The dead: Tonight Demetrios called me to report that our dear friend Vada is dead, just a few weeks short of her 93rd birthday. Apparently she took a fall in her back yard yesterday afternoon, and died yesterday evening. It's ironic, because falling was something she always feared, and about which she was always extra careful. Her motto was, "Safety first."

She was definitely not a Christian, but in her own fashion, she did believe in God. She told me not long ago she had always tried to find God, and never had, but now she felt certain He had somehow found her. I think she knew Him in her spirit, although she could never reconcile Him with her cognitive thinking.

She has been a close friend of Demetrios' since the early 1970's. When Demetrios first came to America, it was Vada met him at the airport, drove him to his new home, lent him $200 until his first payday. When we became engaged, Vada and her husband were the very first people we told.

I need to be at my husband's side at her funeral. (I couldn't make her husband's funeral, due to family obligations.) AND I need to be by my daughter-in-law's side...

Advice gladly accepted. Prayers requested, for wisdom in this double emergency.


Weekend Fisher said...

I think my prayers are worth more than my advice. The Lord be with you, and with them. (And at least He can be everywhere at once, while we can't.)

I'm so sorry that it's all hitting at once.

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

How awful for Katherine !Prayers for her speedy recovery.

How long would it take you to get back for the funeral and return to your daughter in law ? If the funeral is in a few days, might she be recovered enough to be able to manage without you for a while ?

I would be very sad not to be able to bestow the final kiss on a dear friend at the funeral..

Memory Eternal to Vada, and hugs to you and Demetrios at the loss of a dear friend.

DebD said...

I'm glad for Katherine that the accident wasn't worse. Prayers for a speedy recovery.

I was thinking the same thing as Elizabeth. The other idea is the take the children with you. Or, just the ones that aren't in school. I can't remember how old her children are. Prayers for wisdom for you and a good solution.

margaret said...

My advice is useless but you, Katherine and Vada have my prayers.

James the Thickheaded said...

Sounds like she blew another disk or reaggrevated one. While tremendously painful... (been there and do that), it's not a team sport unless you're a chiropractor. What is a team sport however is chasing after those kids. The lifts, the bends, even the hugs are just very, very hard to do when you can't even stand but in one position without pain. I can imagine being readily reduced to tears in the effort. Getting comfortable enough to sleep can often be impossible. I'd say she needs help with the basics... and with her spirits.

I don't think it's a coincidence that I found myself pulled to this Church that has a deeper understanding of suffering through the kind of pain she's involved in now... so this is more than one-dimensional. Pain killers gotta be watched like a hawk... too many folks have found themselves hooked without knowing it.Good, well-meaning people with a level of pain they've just never known before... or thought could persist for what seems like the rest of their lives. In fear of their power, I cut myself off after one pill... but I realize I was just blessed that this seemed within my power to do. Easy to NOT catch yourself.

But the pain does fade eventually... and it does have meaning, too,... so that most of the time they can forget it for a while and live life... only to be reminded every night. The ability to lie down and sleep because there's just nothing else to do and the intensity of the pain is there - even in the middle of the day - has in her case got to be dependent on someone else to help fend off the kids for 10 or 20 minutes.

But this is also a very long-term problem. You never get over these things, and they take months if not years to really reach the manageable stage - one disk at a time.

Even so, I would imagine she could spare you for a day or so. Mayber her own Mom or a best friend could cover for a day or so while you help Demetrios? It's not like you're leaving her for shopping and a day at the spa... though that may be an idea.

I'd say all three need your presence and your prayers. You'll have mine.

James the Thickheaded said...

Lemme add: You can never have enough pillows! Arranging the neck with a zillion pillows helps a lot. Ascetic that I am... it takes me three to hold the head steady in a place w/o pain.

GretchenJoanna said...

I will pray for you, hoping you can go to the funeral.

Chocolatesa said...


elizabeth said...

Lord have mercy. So sorry to hear. My prayers.

Can you fly up for the funeral and then fly right back down? maybe only be gone 1 night?

How hard. Lord have mercy...

Kacie said...

Both very difficult situations! I pray for wisdom and strength for you and your husband and daughter

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Heartfelt thanks to all of you for your prayers and love.