My 99-year-old grandmother fell a few days ago. She was badly hurt, and her face had a three inch gash in it. After being rushed to the hospital, the medical staff said that she had only hours, possibly days, to live. At first, the doctors said they believed she broke two vertebrae. They put her in a neck brace and told my parents that she would be in it for the duration of her life. As a result, after getting that dreadful "call" from my dad, I quickly packed my bags--which included proper attire for my grandmother's anticipated funeral--and jumped on a plane to Columbus, my home town. My one hope was that I would arrive in time to say, "Goodbye, Grandma. I love you. You have been the greatest Grandma ever, and tell Grandpa how much I love and miss him when he greets you in heaven." However, this was not to be.
When I arrived at the hospital, my grandmother looked as though she had gone through a war zone. She still had blood all over her hair from the head injury. She was also in a neck brace. My sister, Jana, was by her side singing her old-time hymns. I took grandma's hand, and she smiled. I told her how much I loved her. She smiled once again. I shared some wonderful moments with her, told her everything I had hoped to say, and gave her a kiss on the forehead. She took my head in her hand and pulled me toward her. She then gave me a kiss on the cheek. It was the moment I had hoped for. I felt that the circle of life had been completed. However, God had other plans.
It has now been several days since my grandma fell in her shower. The nurses have washed the blood from her hair. The gash on her face has been cleaned and the healing has begun. Last night while we were visiting, my grandma was moved actually from the neurosurgery floor to the general care floor. Her neck brace has been removed. Doctors now tell us that the vertebrae injury they discovered from the MRI and CTScan is not recent. She has apparently been living with fractured vertebrae for some time--and walking despite her injuries. While her collar bone was shaken, they say that she will heal on her own, without surgery (she's too old for that, anyway). The miracle: they are releasing her from the hospital in a few days. She will be moved back to the senior living home, but will have 24/7 nursing care this time around.
While I am celebrating my family's miracle, I can't help to wonder, "God, why would you spare my 99-year-old Grandmother, who has lived such a long, productive, blessed, and amazing life; while, during the same week, so many young children have been swept away by that horrible monster tornado in Oklahoma? Why, God? Not only were their lives taken, but their parents never had an opportunity to say goodbye! I simply don't understand."
After watching the live tornado coverage on TV a few days ago, I once again went to visit my grandma at the hospital. While there, I noticed that the nurses had placed the TV control next to her ear. Keep in mind that hospital remotes include a little speaker so that a patient can easily hear the sound without bothering other patients. My grandma is still in a daze, and has a hard time with her memory. She's not really up to controlling a remote control, just yet. So, I flipped through the channels for her. I was stunned! What I discovered was that the hospital only serves up 4 or 5 channels. Most of were full of crime shows--lots of blood and guts (not exactly messages of hope and inspiration for those in need of good news, hopeful thoughts, and encouraging fare while recovering in a hospital bed).
When I returned home, I watched more coverage from Moore, Oklahoma, as additional young victims were being pulled out of the ruble. Some were crushed, while others drowned. So very horrible.
I woke up this morning and asked God, "Why?" I then came across this:
"My understanding of God does not permit me to accept that every bad or good thing that occurs is a reward or punishment. There are times when bad things happen to good people ... We need consolation, not anger; love, not hate. The God I serve and pray to daily has charged me not to blame but to help." -- Jerome Epstein
What an eye opener.
I believe that God uses these moments to get our attention. I've always said, "I need God most when I'm on my knees." Sometimes, it takes getting the wind knocked out of us until we fall to our knees. It is God's Will that we need him.
What occurred in Oklahoma makes me want to love my kids more--be a better dad. Every second matters.
The children of Moore, Oklahoma, died for all of us--especially those of us with children. Let their deaths be a reminder to us all, each day of life is so very precious.
As for why God has blessed my 99-year-old grandma with additional days, months, and possibly years, He's simply not done with her yet. Through her stay in the hospital, I have been touched by the Grace of God, once again.
As a result of my witnessing, first-hand, how bloody and gory TV programming was in my grandmother's hospital room, I'm going to do my best to put encouraging audio and video into hospitals. Why? Because patients need to see and hear encouraging thoughts, prayers, stories, and music as they recover from life's ills. I do believe that encouragement can become contagious. That's why our team is so committed to our KeepTheFaith radio program.
I pray for the people of Oklahoma. I feel your loss. I can only imagine your pain. I'm sorry that you had to lose your children, so that I would learn to love mine more.
Executive Producer & Publisher
(This post originally was featured on our home page at KeepTheFaith.com on May 22, 2013)