Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Story to Tell

This isn't my story but I think it's important to tell.  It's not something I would willingly choose not to tell.

A week ago I was in the hospital one day out from an abdominal hysterectomy.  I begged for a private room.  Everyone kept telling me that they tried to get me one but it just didn't happen.  My first roommate arrived Friday evening and left Saturday evening.  Then came in the roommate who would stay with me for the remainder of my hospital stay.

Even though hospital privacy regulations are in place to safeguard privacy, it really isn't possible.  Everyone hears everything that's said in the hospital.  My roommate was coherent and introduced herself to me after the nurses left the room.  She had just had emergency abdominal surgery and the surgeons told her if she had been any later getting to the hospital she would have died.

She told me she was a widow and that she had three young children; even though she had not been looking to date, she met a young man at her church and they had been dating about 10 months. He was the one to bring her to the hospital.

She asked me about my life; how long I'd been married for, how many children I had, etc.  Then she proceeded to tell me her story.  She met her husband when she was 12 years old.  He was probably about 14 or 15 at the time.  She quickly became part of his family.  He graduated from high school and then joined the military.  After basic training he would get his orders.  By this time, she was enrolled in Penn State University he asked her to join him.   So she left school for him.

He did two successful tours in Iraq and loved the men he worked with.  He was stationed at four or five locations over their 12 year marriage.

In February 2010 he was home for a short while after beginning a third tour in Iraq.  She didn't elaborate on what happened but that he ended his life.  He and the children had been her entire life.  That much was apparent.  She said the day of her emergency surgery was the day he had died two years earlier.

The military was good to take care of all arrangements for the service and for his tombstone.  She and the children went back to the northern Allegheny County, PA area during the grieving process to be with family and friends.  He was buried at the Veterans Cemetery nearby.

She didn't say what all had transpired during the past year except that she had lived next door to her parents in law and they were very close.  Eventually they found out about her dating a young, black man.

I have lived a lot of places and met all kinds of people.  I never try to judge people or how they live their lives.  This young man was very kind and obviously very dedicated to her.  He sat in a chair next to her bed for the three days we shared a room.  He fed her ice chips, swabbed her mouth to keep it moist, and helped her out of bed to get to the bathroom.  He asked questions of the nurses and doctors and tried to keep her comfortable.

She was white as was her husband and their children.  The fact that her husband's best friend growing up had been black had no bearing towards acceptance by her in-laws.  Her father in law starting telling her children that black men were all drug addicts, didn't hold jobs and beat women.  I've met a fair share of white men who could get categorized in that box, as well.

In August 2011 things culminated as she tried to find another house for them to stay in.  She had asked her mother in law to keep the children for her while she did this.  When bringing the children back from a day visit she was arrested by constables for having not paid a $261 portion of a tombstone bill.  She had paid the other bills related to bringing his casket home.  She didn't know why this bill hadn't been paid.  So here she was dropping the children off at their house and she's arrested in front of them.  While this was going on she was also served papers stating the grandparents wanted full custody of their grandchildren.  She spent three days at the jail and said she had to sleep on the floor.  She was allowed to see her children on Christmas 2011 but that's the last time she's seen them.

Phil and I plus a nurse were sitting in our room listening to her tell the full story of what's happened to her and her family.  This is a young woman who could be my daughter.  I felt very maternal towards her.  I don't understand how any parent could do this to their daughter-in-law and grandchildren!  It doesn't matter what you think of your daughter or son-in-law it's only your responsibility to help them as best you can for the sake of your grandchildren.

Can you imagine being one of these little kids? You lose your daddy and then your grandparents tell you bad things about your mommy and your mommy's friend.  Then you can't live with mommy anymore.  I can't even imagine a world where this was the right thing to do!

I think God puts us in situations where Angels come into our lives to help and where we can be Angels to someone else in their hour of need.  As far as I know she has no family members except for a sister.  She needs an attorney who can get this straightened out.

I can't imagine her little 2-year old daughter being told her mommy doesn't love her.

If anyone knows of a good attorney who could provide services at low, or no cost, that would be extremely helpful.  I have her phone number but am not going to put her into a situation until I know I have someone who can actually help.

God put me in place to hear her story and I'm choosing to do something to help her.  If you can help, please comment on my blog.  I'm also going to post to FB.  Praying that God allows the right people to find this message and who are willing to help!


1 comment:

Tina said...

I can pray (and have already!). God bless you for your compassionate heart!