I wasn’t ready for this

It’s starting to feel like I only write when I’m asking for people to give or when something bad has happened. And let’s be honest, today fits right into that mold.

I used to talk to my mom on the phone every day. She would call me on her way home from work, and we would chat for that 15 minute drive. Then my brother started working with her and since they live 1/2 mile apart, they started carpooling most days. That meant that my mom only called me on days when my brother wasn’t with her. It was hard (annoying) at first, but I’ve gotten used to it.

Normally on Tuesdays my brother rides with my mom so I was obviously surprised when my phone rang around 5 and it was my mom. She thought she was so funny telling me how sorry she was that she wouldn’t be able to see us the next day. She was sorry that I decided we wouldn’t be able to see her. (Wednesdays weather permitting the boys and I go to my mom’s house to spend time with Grandma Jo and then see my parents. The weather is a lot less permitting in the winter that the other 3 seasons.) Finally asked why “I” decided we couldn’t go over. My dad and Grandma Jo were both sick with the flu. We talked the rest of her drive home and said good-bye when she pulled in the garage. It should be a few days until I talked to her again.

You can’t imagine my surprise, my shock, my panic when about an hour later my phone rang and the caller ID showed my mom’s name. I had been messing around on Facebook and answered on the first ring. She doesn’t call me at night. My phone should not have rang.

My mom was a mess and the strongest she’s even been when I answered the phone. She said, “I think Grandma had a stroke. The ambulance came and got her. I’m on my way to the hospital.”

I can’t even tell you my reaction. I got this same call 2 years ago, but this time is worse because I know how that story ended. The last time I got this call Grandpa had brain cancer and died. And that was hard and I didn’t want to lose Grandpa. I wasn’t ready for that, but I’m really not ready to lose Grandma.

And as broken as I felt, I held it together. I got the information Mom needed to give me. I was strong for her. I hung up the phone, told my husband what happened and took 1 minute to fall apart. Then I made the calls that she needed to me to make.

They made it to the hospital and confirmed that she did have the flu. They didn’t think it was a stroke, but the flu was bad enough they were transferring her to a bigger hospital. Okay. I can do that. The flu is extra bad this year. They transferred her and did an MRI and EKG the next morning. She has the flu, and it was a stroke.

If you know anything about my grandma, you know she is so ready to be in Heaven with my grandpa. She’s been telling us all since Grandpa died that she just wants to be with him. So my first thoughts with all of this is that she was just going to give up. I’m not ready to lose her. That may be super selfish, but I need her for just a little bit longer.

But the one thing she wants more than to be with Grandpa is to not be a burden on her family so she keeps fighting. The location in the brain where her stroke was just affected mobility on the right side. It didn’t affect her memories or attitude or personality. She is as ornery ever. Her speech is slow and affected, but she makes jokes with the doctors that they don’t get.

Grandma and Grandpa always thought that she would die first. They planned for that. We know she has an aneurysm in her brain. Any day it could move and kill her. But it hasn’t. This week we learned things about her heart. It is bad when your aorta is enlarged. At 3cm they do surgery. Grandma’s aorta is 6cm. That makes your heart pump too fast and, instead of sending the blood out faster, your heart is pumping too fast and the blood can’t get out of the heart and instead pools around in your heart and starts clotting and that clot is what caused Grandma’s stroke.

We’ve been told that with the kind of stroke she had that with medication there is less than a 15% of her having another stroke. I guess if you must have a stroke, it’s the best kind you could have. Although that information came before we knew how swollen her aorta is.

Mostly we are being told that with rehab, Grandma will get back 60% mobility on her right side. She will be able to walk, but she will probably have to use a walker. They want to do heart surgery eventually. It’s hard for some people to understand but she is looking for quality of life over quantity. She’s been ready for Heaven for 2 years.

So today I’m feeling the same feelings I had 2 years ago. I feel selfish and guilty. I want Grandma to live, to be healthy and strong and for us to have years more of Wednesday visits. But I don’t get to make these decisions. I don’t get to pick. And my mom sits at the hospital all day and I think I should be doing something, but there is literally nothing I can do. Even if I drove to the hospital, they wouldn’t let me and the boys in.

So it’s all in God’s hands. And I pray for His will. For the right thing. If He chooses for us to have her longer I will rejoice in that and if He chooses for her to be with Grandpa, I will mourn for our lose, for the world’s lose, but rejoice in knowing that she is with Grandpa.

If you, dear readers, would pray for my family. The selfish part of me wants you to pray for healing and the unselfish part asks for you to pray that His will be done. Either way pray for Grandma to be at peace and for God to be with us all.



There’s something wrong in Boston

Since November, I’ve been following a news story out of Boston. At first it just seemed crazy, unbelievable that this could happen in the United States. I listened to the story and read what I could find on it. Because Justina Pelletier’s parents disagreed with Boston’s Children’s Hospital about their diagnosis and wanted to take her to a different doctor, Massachusetts Department of Children and Families got involved and took custody of their child. This is not the first time this has happened.

I don’t want to get into all the medical issues with this. You can find more information here and here and here about what’s going on with this case.

What is going on with our government and hospitals if they can take custody of your child because you want a second opinion?

Okay. Maybe you think the state is in the right here. Maybe there’s more to this story than we know. I know that I thought there had to be more to it when I first heard about this. This kind of thing doesn’t happen here.

So, instead of talking about the medical side of this, let’s talk about the faith side of it.

Last night I watched another interview with Lou, Justina’s dad, about the case. In the last 13 months that the state has had custody of Justina, she has received no schooling. Along with no schooling, she has also not been allowed any contact with a priest. She comes from a religious family. So not only has she missed birthdays and holidays with her family, she also missed communion at Easter and Christmas. Is there a shortage of priests in Boston that I haven’t heard about? Does the hospital not have chaplains on staff? (Yes they do.)

Matthew 19:14 says, “But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them; for such is the kingdom of heaven.'”

If everything else that Boston’s Children’s Hospital and Mass DCF has done makes sense to you, can we at least agree that it doesn’t make sense that she’s getting no schooling and is unable to practise her faith? What reasoning could you possibly give for this?

I’m asking you to do your own homework on this story. You don’t have to believe me that what’s happening here is wrong. But, as you read the stories and watch the interviews, think what if this was my child. And if at the end of your research, you find that you do believe what the family is saying, I ask you to get involved.

There are a number of ways you can get involved:


-contact the Massachuetts governor, Deval Patrick, here.

-contact your federal representatives (find yours here)

-share these stories with your friends on facebook and twitter (use the hashtag #FreeJustina to connect with others talking about this.)

-visit A Miracle For Justina’s facebook page

-go to www.freejustina.com where you can read more about this story, sign a petition and donate to the family

-there is a prayer vigil for Justina Saturday, March 1 in Merrimac, Mass


If this can happen in Boston, it can happen anywhere. If this can happen to the Pelletiers, it can happen to anyone.

What would you do if this was your child?