Part V - Who's Timing is That?
You may click these links to access the preceding accounts: Part I Who's That Knocking at My Door? Part II Who's That Ringing The Telephone? Part III Who's Controlling These Thoughts, Words and Actions and Part IV Who's Beside Me?
Although my brother was already pronounced dead, I couldn't believe the perfect timing of the nun's arrival. In that moment, I needed her. Even as she entered his hospital room, her presence radiated unconditional love and supernatural peace.
She introduced herself and offered a listening ear. I told her how close Jim and I were.
I told her I'd just given birth three weeks ago when my husband called Jim to tell him the good news, and that's when Jim mentioned he wasn't feeling well.
I told her how Jim was then diagnosed with kidney failure and how, in the days that followed, he couldn't tolerate the dialysis. I told her he'd refused additional treatments, hoping the problem would resolve itself. I told her I didn't agree with that.
I mentioned Jim and I had been raised in faith, and had attended Catholic schools. I admitted I hadn't been to church regularly in years. I shared my fears regarding death.
She was easy to talk to. It felt comforting to share the experience with her and to hear her views, somewhat different than mine, because they were filtered through the lens of faith.
I don't know how much time she spent with me, but eventually our conversation came to a close. In parting, she offered a short prayer and opened her Bible.
I'll never forget the scripture she quoted.
Even today, I can revisit that moment, that time, that hospital room. I am standing alongside my brother's lifeless body and her comforting presence. I can still hear that passage and feel the peace it delivered:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
She handed me a card containing her contact information and said she'd be available if I ever needed to talk. With that, she exited the hospital room.
Left alone, I stood beside my brother's lifeless body. The room was still, quiet. I glanced toward the window and noticed it was dark outside now. There were stars twinkling in the sky.
I still felt strangely calm.
I remained there for a few moments, I don't know how long...not too long...and then I thought, "My job is done. I don't need to stay here any longer."
I turned to exit the room.
I still had no concept of time, but I knew one thing: I was ready to go home. My job here was done.
I recalled how, earlier, before I even suspected that Jim would pass away that very night, I'd insisted Joe go play his tennis match and return to the hospital afterwards. I wasn't sure what I'd do upon his return, but I recalled saying, "I'll tell you then."
Well, I had my answer. It was time to go home.
Back then, there were no cellphones. Joe had no idea how the events unfolded after he left the hospital. He had no idea this would be the final hours of my brother's life. He had no idea I was ready to head home now.
His tennis game had been in the suburbs, miles away from this downtown hospital. There were six matches to play. There was an interstate and a parking garage to maneuver. There were elevators to take.
I had no idea when to expect him.
Still covered in peace, I exited the hospital room. As I stepped into the hallway, I looked up. There, across the hall, was an elevator. Amazingly, it's big clumsy doors were slowly opening, and there, stepping off the elevator, with miraculous timing, was my husband heading towards me.
He was back from his tennis game.