Mum had flown home on October 13, Thanksgiving Monday, 2003.
One week later I was just about to leave for a work special staff event, ( a "Time of Refreshing,") when the phone rang.
My brother Rob's deep voice traveled through thousands of miles of telephone wire with news I tried hard to comprehend. He told me that he was with Mum, waiting for an ambulance. She had had a stroke!
While I had been going about my early morning preparations for the day, far away, on the other side of the ocean, she had collapsed outside the Alvechurch village post office. She had gone there to pick up her pension and mail a letter to me; the last letter she would ever write.
She had developed a troubling hot spot on her leg after arriving back in England on Tuesday morning and the doctor who had seen her on Friday had urged her to avoid moving more than necessary until Monday, when a district nurse who knew her well, would come in and check it. But Mum being always a creature of habit and routine, her determination had taken her to the post office.
Determination got Mum home afterwards too, as she refused the ambulance that someone wanted to call. She didn't want to go to hospital, so someone drove her home, made her a cup of tea; called Rob who was at work and sat with her until he came home.
When Rob got home, he called the doctor, and it was the doctor who persuaded Mum to go to the hospital, and called the ambulance for which they were now waiting.
Inwardly I died at being so far away. I knew how every minute counts in getting treatment for a stroke. The wheels were moving painstakingly slowly.
Mum's right side was affected--her face had drooped and she was weaker on that side.
By evening that day, when I spoke to Rob again, he said that she had regained some speech and was stringing some words together. She was eating some soft food.
She didn't remember her beloved companion of many years, her cat Sam and could not remember her grandson Tim's name. I was so thankful though, to hear that she did remember "Belinda in Canada."
There were other things that I was thankful for. I had the treasured memories of our four weeks together. I was grateful that so much of "our Mum" was still there, and that there was hope for some recovery.
I was grateful that Paul immediately gave his blessing to my going to England, as soon as Rob told me when it would be most helpful for me to be there.
And I was grateful for the mysterious incident in the hospital in Langley, British Columbia. I realized now that my presence there had not just been for the woman I overheard telling the nurse her father was having a stroke and for her father, for whom I interceded in prayer, but it had been for me.
That experience had told me that God is intimately present in our lives, caring, and "working all things together for good."
I needed to know that because ahead there still remained much heartache and tears.
To be continued...