(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)