Those were the last word’s my aunt spoke to me that Easter in April 2011. Stunned, I could only reply, “Oh auntie you are so wrong” before she hung up on me. July rolled around and we were making plans to attend a reunion in Massachusetts. I happened to mention, “And I won’t be going to visit my aunt this time.” With that said, the phone rang and I deliberately did not answer it; but, when God wants your attention you know it if you listen hard enough and sure enough I hear the tiny voice of the Holy Spirit say, “Not if I have anything to say about it.”

Two days later, I got the call that auntie had a massive stroke on Monday and she was in a Boston hospital. They did not know if she would come out of it. My sister mentioned, “I tried to call you.” I am feeling a big dose of guilt right about now and I remembered God gave me that little nudge in the heart muscle two nights ago when I wouldn't pick up the phone. I am stunned again by auntie and the news. Quite frankly, I am not sure what I am supposed to do, how or when I am supposed to do it. I am a long way from home.

When I don’t know what to do in a situation, my fall back is prayer. I talk to God immediately; after all, he is my Heavenly Father, he created me and knows who I was, who I am now and who I will become even if I don’t have a clear picture. With that said, I now have a real bad feeling that auntie is not going to make it. I told my husband Tim, “We are going to have to leave in the morning and by the way, I guess I will have to visit my aunt this time.”

I could not prepare for what I was about to see and experience when I walked into the hospital that day. After hearing conflicting reports on her condition, everyone had her being discharged to rehab in the morning. Why was it I saw auntie in a coma with a massive bleed in her head and she was not going to recover. There I sat, listening to my family go over the details and of course there is optimism, but in my world I am thinking how do I tell my uncle and two cousins she looks a lot sicker than the doctors are letting on and she may not make it. I refrain from reality and go along with their optimism thinking I will give it time, time for everything to sink in. As they got up to leave and said their goodbyes for the night, something just came over me and I blurted out, “I am going to stay with auntie tonight, I don’t want her to be alone.”

The family just kind of froze, mouths open, as if to say, your going to do what? I am stunned once again by the look on their faces. “What” I said, “If auntie is going to die, I am not going to let her die alone in this depressing little hospital room.” Sometimes, I feel like I am the only one in my family with an ounce of compassion, a heart, a sense of what’s right in this world, some morality and the sad part is everyone thinks I am crazy. I stood my ground and stayed with auntie as it sadly became apparent there was no hope for recovery and it would be “just a matter of time.”

After a seven day vigil, we were all pretty tired and wore sadness like a mask. As the family got up to say their goodbyes to auntie for the night she looked different to me, she looked very sad. In my mind, I again heard the little voice of the Holy Spirit say “tonight.” With that, I encouraged my family to say their goodbyes again, which they did and off they went.

I heard a ding and the elevator doors closing as I saw my aunt go into what would be the last moments of her life. “Great, just great” I said out loud. I knew I could not run after them. Panic set in as my mind starts racing with thoughts of what I am going to do next. Rosie really wants to be at her mothers side when she dies. That’s a lot of pressure when you know they are on the highway heading home with no cell phone and death could come at any moment. I quickly realize I have no control over the situation, but I know God does as I quickly drop to my knees and start praying for help. I immediately know God is aware of what’s happening. OK relax, breath, stand up, call Rosie.

The timing was perfect. She had just walked into her house and picked up the phone on the first ring. In a flash she was on her way back to the hospital. All I could do now was sit there with auntie and pray. What a relief when Rosie made it to her mother’s bedside and not a moment too soon. As we knelt down on either side of auntie she took her last breath. Rosie was glad she made it in time and I was sad because of my aunt’s last words which haunt me to this day. But, I find solace in knowing why auntie was so bitter in life and hated God. Solace and gratitude in knowing God loved my aunt so much He sent Jesus himself to take auntie’s hand and lead her home.

Just to prove to her… THERE IS A GOD.
Help is just a prayer away and God’s timing is impeccable.