Just A Luncheon (Taken from “When The Unexpected Happens To You”)

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Chapter 2: Just A Luncheon

Christmas was only a few weeks away. I accepted an invitation from some friends to attend a Christian ladies luncheon which was going to take place in the city. I commuted into London by myself as Joel was now enrolled in a preschool just minutes from our home at 33 Turpins Chase in Welwyn. I arrived at King’s Cross station around 11:30 where I was joined by my American friends, Fran and Darlene. I always enjoyed their company and since they made their entrance to England several months ahead of me, they sympathetically took me under their wings so to speak. They were two lovely, high spirited ladies who were full of laughter. They completely understood my need to express some of the culture shock I had experienced during my first few months of life in England. Even though there wasn’t a language barrier to overcome, life in England was different from what I was accustomed to. They were without a doubt God-sent! Both took the time to mention how I had increased in size and looked as if I was going to have the baby at any moment. My expected due date was to the latter part of February or first week of March.

The luncheon was held at the Cavendish hotel. We three entered a room filled with approximately 100 ladies. We took several minutes greeting one another and taking the time to answer the most common question we were used to hearing: “What brought you to England?”  Once seated we all waited patiently for the speaker to arrive. I had noted her name upon arrival as it was posted in the lobby on a beautifully displayed easel: “Jennifer Rees Larcombe”. Though I had not previously heard of her, the ladies seated at my table informed me that she was very well known throughout Europe. I was somewhat skeptical and hoped she would not be on the boring side and that her topic would be one that would keep me interested for the time allotted. Within minutes she approached the lectern. She was a very straight-laced, dignified looking woman who stood about 5 ft 7 inches tall. She spoke with a soft voice and a typical British accent.

She began talking about her life as a wife and mother. The more she spoke the more apparent it became that she took great pride in the fact that she had been a stay-at-home mom. She assured us that as a mother of six her mornings were most likely the same as ours; sometimes hectic and usually filled with the unexpected accidents that happen when there are children present. She paused for a brief moment as if to gather her composure. Silence filled the room as everyone waited respectfully for her to continue. Her voice shaken, she began to tell us about a morning that was less than typical. She gave details of how she had experienced days filled with headaches and dizzy spells. Most of which she just contributed to her busy lifestyle and taking care of six children. Then she began to talk about a morning that was like no other. She awoke only to find herself completely paralyzed. During the weeks that followed she underwent a series of tests. The diagnosis was viral encephalitis. She had extensive nerve damage and was not given any hope of ever being able to walk again.

As tears ran down her cheeks, she told us how she felt helpless and without hope. Feelings of worthlessness enveloped her as she was unable to perform her obligations as a wife and a mother. She longed to be able to prepare dinner for her family. She even missed doing the laundry. She became despondent and began to ask God, “Why”? Why had this happened to her? Why had it happened at all?

Needless to say, I was far from bored and felt such compassion for her. I could only try and imagine what it must have felt like to have something so traumatic happen to you; for your whole life to be turned inside out within a time frame of twenty four hours and then to realize that you have absolutely no ability to change what has happened to you. I felt such empathy for her. I realized that the ability to accomplish even the simplest task should not be taken for granted. Every movement of a hand, a leg, an arm; every turn of ones head is to be treasured and considered miraculous. Even the daily responsibilities of life and the privilege of fulfilling them are to be viewed as precious.

As she continued with her story, I felt tears roll down my face as the pain of her past was now a part of the present. I wasn’t alone in my crying for everyone there shared her grief. We all were moved to tears, not only by the words she spoke but because everyone there was aware that the speaker was not only standing behind the lectern, but we had all seen her walk up to the lectern. The ending to her story was apparent. She was indeed walking again! What we didn’t know, was how!

Copyright 1993 All Rights Reserved Donna R. Powell
No part of this article or posting may be duplicated.

Donna R. Powell

WHEN THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENS TO YOU

(See more on Jennifer Larcombe @ http://www.finalfrontier.org.uk/index.php?main=13&sub=1&page=14)

Just Another Day…continued and Chapter 2: Just A Luncheon (Taken from “When The Unexpected Happens To You”

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(previous entries of Chapter 1:Just Another Day are below this post)

Mr. Siddle in his conservative and professional manner asked if we were sure we wanted to know the gender of the baby. For a moment I though he was being a bit facetious. That was only a fleeting thought since I knew his personality didn’t allow him such moments of frivolous behavior. We heard the wonderful words, “It’s a girl!” I smiled ear to ear as the “we told you so’s” swept rang out from the masculine side of the family. Chuck and I embraced and Joel just grinned at the very thought of having a little sister. Undoubtedly, his grinning was in part due to his being older but also his being award of how much fun he would have teasing her for years to come. It was a day we shall never forget!

Chapter 2: Just A Luncheon

Christmas was only a few weeks away. I accepted an invitation from some friends to attend a Christian ladies luncheon which was going to take place in the city. I commuted into London by myself as Joel was now enrolled in a preschool just minutes from our home at 33 Turpins Chase in Welwyn. I arrived at King’s Cross station around 11:30 where I was joined by my American friends, Fran and Darlene. I always enjoyed their company and since they made their entrance to England several months ahead of me, they sympathetically took me under their wings so to speak. They were two lovely, high spirited ladies who were full of laughter. They completely understood my need to express some of the culture shock I had experienced during my first few months of life in England. Even though there wasn’t a language barrier to overcome, life in England was different from what I was accustomed to. They were without a doubt God-sent! Both took the time to mention how I had increased in size and looked as if I was going to have the baby at any moment. My expected due date was to the latter part of February or first week of March.

The luncheon was held at the Cavendish hotel. We three entered a room filled with approximately 100 ladies. We took several minutes greeting one another and taking the time to answer the most common question we were used to hearing: “What brought you to England?”  Once seated we all waited patiently for the speaker to arrive. I had noted her name upon arrival as it was posted in the lobby on a beautifully displayed easel: “Jennifer Rees Larcombe”. Though I had not previously heard of her, the ladies seated at my table informed me that she was very well known throughout Europe. I was somewhat skeptical and hoped she would not be on the boring side and that her topic would be one that would keep me interested for the time allotted. Within minutes she approached the lectern. She was a very straight-laced, dignified looking woman who stood about 5 ft 7 inches tall. She spoke with a soft voice and a typical British accent.

She began talking about her life as a wife and mother. The more she spoke the more apparent it became that she took great pride in the fact that she had been a stay-at-home mom. She assured us that as a mother of six her mornings were most likely the same as ours; sometimes hectic and usually filled with the unexpected accidents that happen when there are children present. She paused for a brief moment as if to gather her composure. Silence filled the room as everyone waited respectfully for her to continue. Her voice shaken, she began to tell us about a morning that was less than typical. She gave details of how she had experienced days filled with headaches and dizzy spells. Most of which she just contributed to her busy lifestyle and taking care of six children. Then she began to talk about a morning that was like no other. She awoke only to find herself completely paralyzed. During the weeks that followed she underwent a series of tests. The diagnosis was viral encephalitis. She had extensive nerve damage and was not given any hope of ever being able to walk again.

As tears ran down her cheeks, she told us how she felt helpless and without hope. Feelings of worthlessness enveloped her as she was unable to perform her obligations as a wife and a mother. She longed to be able to prepare dinner for her family. She even missed doing the laundry. She became despondent and began to ask God, “Why”? Why had this happened to her? Why had it happened at all?

Needless to say, I was far from bored and felt such compassion for her. I could only try and imagine what it must have felt like to have something so traumatic happen to you; for your whole life to be turned inside out within a time frame of twenty four hours and then to realize that you have absolutely no ability to change what has happened to you. I felt such empathy for her. I realized that the ability to accomplish even the simplest task should not be taken for granted. Every movement of a hand, a leg, an arm; every turn of ones head is to be treasured and considered miraculous. Even the daily responsibilities of life and the privilege of fulfilling them are to be viewed as precious.

As she continued with her story, I felt tears roll down my face as the pain of her past was now a part of the present. I wasn’t alone in my crying for everyone there shared her grief. We all were moved to tears, not only by the words she spoke but because everyone there was aware that the speaker was not only standing behind the lectern, but we had all seen her walk up to the lectern. The ending to her story was apparent. She was indeed walking again! What we didn’t know, was how!

Copyright 1993 All Rights Reserved Donna R. Powell
No part of this article or posting may be duplicated.

Donna R. Powell

WHEN THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENS TO YOU

(See more on Jennifer Larcombe @ http://www.finalfrontier.org.uk/index.php?main=13&sub=1&page=14)

Just Another Day….continued

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(Beginning of Just Another Day can be found below this post)Taken from “When The Unexpected Happens To You”

Chuck was one of several Americans relocated to England to help design and construct a pharmaceutical facility located in Stevenage, England. The assignment was our reason for committing to live in England for the next three years. It was here that events would unfold and dramatically change our lives forever.

The slowing of the train along with the site of familiar buildings that surrounded King’s Cross station, alerted me of my need to try and expel some of the air of excitement  Joel had attained during the ride. Hopefully, just enough to permit us to exit the train in a somewhat orderly fashion. Hand in hand we left the station and set off on our first adventure alone in the city – hailing a taxi! Thankfully, there wasn’t much work involved as when we exited the station we noticed a long line or “que” as they called it of taxis parked outside of the station. It was on a first come, first serve basis. Simple and easy and for Joel it was more than that. It was just plain fun!

A ten minute drive took us to Howland street where we would join up with Chuck. Chuck was excited as on this day he was about to find out whether he was going to be the proud father of a new baby girl to pamper and protect or was it a boy who would carry on his name. “It” being the little bundle of joy I had been carrying for several months and was soon to hear if I should buy pink frilly dresses or blue denim overalls. Joel was hoping for a girl!

We headed for the Portland hospital. It was an extremely plush hospital as it was the birthplace of the Duchess of York’s firstborn. That fact did not have any influence of us choosing the Portland. It was the only hospital my doctor, Mr. Siddle,  would do his deliveries. On this day we were there to do an ultrasound. It was routine and there was no thought of it being anything but just that.

The clock straight on two o’clock, we informed the receptionist of our arrival. A familiar face greeted us. Mr. Siddle, a very dignified and extremely professional individual, often viewed as impersonal because of his subdued manner, introduced himself to Chuck. Seeing that the prefix “Mr.” in the British culture signified an advanced level of education as opposed to the prefix “Dr.”, I always made an honest effort to remember the differences between the two when introducing him. However, my few occasions of forgetting those distinctions gave Mr. Siddle the opportunity to remind me of his qualifications and his preference of being called “Mr.”

Finally with the pleasantries all completed we entered the world of advanced technology: lights, cameras, and action! With all eyes peering at the screen, we eagerly awaited explanations as to the intricacies we were seeing. Some features of our child were readily identifiable and others were only captured by the trained eyes of Mr. Siddle. We relished every moment and listened attentively to each word he spoke. We were awestricken by every movement we saw flutter across the screen. There it was – a baby: a living, moving, and active human being showing the Powell’s its gymnastic abilities. It was impressive to say the least. We knew we were witnessing nothing short of a miracle.

Copyright 1993 All Rights Reserved Donna R. Powell
No part of this article or posting may be duplicated.

Donna R. Powell

WHEN THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENS TO YOU

Just Another Day

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Looking out the window of London’s British Rail commuter train, my son, Joel, seated by my side, I wondered how an American lady from Mississippi ended up living just thirty miles north of one of the largest cities in the world. But, there I was at thirty-one years of age, peering out my window hoping to capture every piece of the picturesque scenery that unfolded with each rotation of the trains wheels.

The occasional moments of utter darkness as we passed through tunnels and the echoing of the train’s whistle were just the right combination for the inquisitive mind of my three year old son. He had more questions than the game of Jeopardy: questions that test ones patience and sometimes challenge ones intelligence.

“Why are  there tunnels, mommy? How long are tunnels? How does the train stay on the track? Where are we going? When will we get there, mommy?”

Just the average typical questions that children often ask. So, I attempted as most parents do, to supply him with the appropriate and hopefully accurate responses to his ever probing questions.

The where and when were simple. We were en route to London’s Kings Cross station where we would take the cowards way out and hail a taxi rather than attempt to master London’s underground “maze”. At least that’s what the colorful intersecting lines on the underground “tube” charts portrayed to this American, originally from a small town in the deep south. It was a challenge to say the least and one I was not willing to undertake with Joel as my companion

The trip itself was an enjoyable thirty minutes journey from the small town of Welwyn, a quaint English village filled with rows of charming houses with sparkling windows often laced in white curtains. The ever so faithful clock of St. Mary’s church chimed on the hour and the timbered buildings that bordered the High Street served as a reminder of England’s incessant commitment to preserve its heritage. Gardens splashed with color signified the onset of Spring. The rolling hills spotted by the white wool of grazing sheep and the lush fields of crimson poppy and yellow rapeseed, splattered the countryside creating a tapestry of color and beauty as far as the eye could see. This was Welwyn, our new home town.

The train ride to Kings Cross always proved to be a delight and having Joel with me made it even more pleasurable. My husband, Chuck, who worked in the city, had an altogether different viewpoint about his daily commute to and from London. For him it was a daily regimen of push and shove, run and jump, hoping you were on the right train. It was not his favorite means of transport but since neither of us were accustomed to driving on the opposite side of the road and had not fully mastered the art of London’s roundabouts, he endured the inevitable.

(more to follow)

Copyright 1993 All Rights Reserved Donna R. Powell
No part of this article or posting may be duplicated.

The Beginning

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As I began to think about what I would write on this first page of my journey, I felt I should let you all begin this with me by reading a book I began to write shortly after having Charla. It hasn’t been published and may not ever be but maybe now is its time to be read.

It is a story that continues on even after 20 years. There is so much more to be written. Thank you for coming on this trip of a lifetime with me. It has been glorious, challenging, painful, motivational, spiritual, and one I would not trade. Yes, that’s right! One I would NOT trade.

Donna Powell
AAU

HURTFUL OR JUST PLAIN IGNORANT THINGS PEOPLE SAY TO ME!(Parent of Special Needs Child)

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*While introducing the child to others “this is our SPECIAL” friend, relative
*With my daughter standing right there: “You know I have a child with DS. How has it been for you so far?”
*”What doctor do you use for her”?
*With daughter standing there, person says to ME: “What’s her name?” “How old is she?” “Does she talk”?(ASK HER!!!!!) While I watch Charla say, “My name is Charla and I’m 19″. Oddly enough the person looking on seems to still be waiting for the answer to their third question! 🙂
*”I just don’t think I could handle it” with Charla standing right there.
*I have a niece who has “THAT”
(MORE TO FOLLOW) I need to go and have a cup of coffee:)drp