From Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul

The Healing

The shock of events of the past 30 hours overwhelmed Jim all at once. His body felt numb, and while the world was moving along, he felt removed from it.

Jim and his wife, Connie, had just lost their beautiful four-month-old son. Preliminary diagnosis: SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome.

Thirty hours ago Jim had driven to the baby-sitter’s home to pick up Joshua. It was a routine trip, like the one he made five days every week... until he arrived, and little Joshua could not be awakened from his nap. The next few hours were a blur. Wailing sirens, swift-moving paramedics, critical-care doctors and reassuring nurses, holding hands and praying. A decision to life-flight Joshua to Children’s Hospital 60 miles away... but all in vain. Twelve hours later, the doctors had exhausted all attempts at revival. There was no brain activity. The decision was to turn off life-support. Little Joshua was gone. Yes, they wanted all of Joshua’s usable organs to be readied for donation. That was not a difficult decision for Jim and Connie, a loving and giving couple.

The next morning dawned. More decisions and arrangements. Telephone calls and funeral plans. At one point Jim realized he needed a haircut, but being new to the community, he didn’t have his own regular barber yet. Jim’s brother volunteered to call his hairdresser and get Jim an appointment. The schedule was full, but after a few words of explanation, the salon owner said, “Just send him right over and we’ll take care of him.”

Jim was exhausted as he settled into the chair. He had had little sleep. He began to reflect on the past hours, trying desperately to make some sense of it all. Why had Joshua, their firstborn, the child they had waited so long for, been taken so soon... hehad barely begun his life... The question kept coming, and the pain in Jim’s heart just enveloped him. He thought about the words spoken by the hospital chaplain. “We don’t fully understand what part we have in God’s plan. Perhaps Joshua had already completed his mission on earth.” Those words didn’t ease the bitterness that was creeping in.

The hairdresser expressed her sympathy, and Jim found himself telling her all about the events of the last 30 hours. Somehow it helped to tell the story. Maybe if he told it enough times, he would gain some understanding.

As Jim mentioned the organ donations, he looked at his watch and remembered what was happening 60 miles away . . . where he had said good-bye to his beloved Joshua a few short hours earlier. “They are transplanting one of his heart valves right now.”

The hairdresser stopped and stood motionless. Finally she spoke, but her voice quivered and it was only a whisper. “You’re not going to believe this... but about an hour ago the customer sitting in this chair wanted me to hurry so she could get to Children’s Hospital. She left here so full of joy... her prayers had been answered. Today her baby granddaughter is receiving a desperately needed transplant... a heart valve.”

Jim’s healing began.

Sandy Jones

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