Thanksgiving was my late husband’s favorite holiday. He used to say: “I love Thanksgiving because there is no pressure to buy gifts.” He loved to just focus on family, good food and gratitude.
Gratitude is the most important part of Thanksgiving. As I look back upon my widow journey, I am filled with gratitude for the many miracles that transpired as I cared for my ill and dying husband.
My late husband Ray was flown by helicopter to Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, California. His lungs were starting to fail, so he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit on what’s called a C-Pap machine, which helped him to breathe.
I rushed to be with him. I checked into a hotel and started the vigil of being by his side. Two weeks passed, and I decided I no longer wanted to pay hotel fees. I was determined to sleep in the waiting room lobby outside the ICU and just park my car in the hospital parking lot and move it every few hours so I would not get a ticket.
I had spent the last few years during Ray’s many hospitalizations sleeping next to him on cots, sleeping in chairs, or just sitting up all night helping to care for him. One time, I had even slept in the nurse’s conference room on top of a table. So being kicked out of the ICU at 10:00 every night … it seemed like a logical thing to just go to the waiting room and sleep in a chair until 8:00am when I would be allowed back into Ray’s room.
The only person with whom I shared my plan was my daughter during a phone conversation. On that same day, as I sat with my husband, a social worker came to his room. She informed me that an apartment had opened up in the family housing for $35.00 per night. This apartment was a safe place for a women who was alone; parking was provided; and it was within walking distance to the hospital. If I needed to go to the hospital in the middle of the night, a security guard would be available to transport me. This apartment was also big enough for my family to come and stay.
I think of this, and my heart fills with gratitude. My God knew my needs, loved me and provided for me. I never even asked Him. I am so thankful for His watchful eye. I count this experience as a miracle.
Have you had similar experiences? I would be surprised if you did not! Even in the pain of our loss, we can find gratitude!