He struggled to get a breath in-between each word.
“Hi, honey, how are you?”
“I’m great Dad. Mom wanted me to talk you into riding your scooter over to the dry cleaners to get your suit. Can you go do that Dad? I know you don’t feel well. I wish I could go get it for you, but darn, I live so far away.”
Dad took a deep extensive breath. “I feel so sick, Pamela. I can hardly breathe. But, I will get it right now.”
I could hear my mother yelling in the background. “Pamela, tell your dad he needs to get up and move around or he is going to die.”
Dad spoke with a sweet deep tone, “Pamela, I love your mother. She is so beautiful. I feel so blessed to have her. No money in the world could replace your mother.” He took another deep breath. “I’m happy to have her as my wife.” I never thought that would be our last conversation, but as Mom spoke I knew it might be.
The thought of Dad unable to talk made my drive that morning to the hospital one that helped me realize a crisis brings confusion, uncertainty, and unfamiliar feelings that can shed a different light on life. In fact, I didn’t realize how that light is the strength of the Lord that helps us endure and overcome all trials.
Unfamiliar feelings surfaced as I removed Dad’s watch and the room dimmed as I scanned his motionless body connected to tubes and wires. Was this the end for my hero, friend and father? As I rubbed his hand and brushed his white hair, I thought of how priceless he was to me. I pressed my lips against his forehead before I said my goodbyes, promising I would see him in the morning.
His cold forehead stayed on my lips as I walked out of the hospital with my husband, Mother, Brother, and his girlfriend, Rosie. I rode with Rosario to Mother’s apartment and we talked in the truck after we arrived in Mom’s parking lot. I rolled down the passenger side window and a soft, cool breeze blew in an orange blossom scent. I wanted to sit permanently in my brother’s truck and share my struggles with Rosie. Within seconds of our conversation an uneasy feeling blew in with the breeze. I sensed Satan; and saw him walking towards me in the side mirror. Unable to see out of my right blind eye, I turn my head completely to the right and there in black clothes stood a man with a gun drawn.
The gun clicked, “Give me all your money or I will kill you.” I stared into the barrel of the gun and realized I was in bottomless pit as dark as the inside of the gun. I had to think fast. The image of my father, my children and my husband gave me strength to stop him from killing me. Under my breath I spoke, “Think fast Pam.” I had no money, nothing to give, though Rosie handed the man on her side of the truck lots of money from her purse. He waved the gun and pushed it into my head. With a firm voice I said, “I have no money, please don’t kill me.”
The Lord came to my rescue and prompted me to bend over and put my purse between my legs. I thought, “Better to be shot in the bottom or back than in the head.” A still small voice said, “Call 911 in your purse and let him think you are looking for money.” I did. I called and waited until the right moment, a moment that seemed to last forever.
At that moment I knew one shot could make my body become lifeless even before Father’s, lying motionless in the hospital bed. Time stood still, the breeze became stationary, and my life was about ready to end. Paralyzing fear filled my heart and mind and I realized immediately I was doomed to die. Holding the phone to my ear for dear life, I sat up and studied his face. “Yes, he has a gun to my head and he is going to shoot me.” The darkness in his eyes pierced me with doubt, gloom and knowledge that I had been captured. When he realized I had been on the phone he fled to the car that had blocked us in our parking spot. I clutched my purse and prayed. Unsure of what would happen next, I bolted from the truck with pools of sweat exiting from me. My feet pounded the pavement, “He has a gun. He is going to shoot me.” Darkness surrounded me, but I looked forward and saw light.
Angels carried me towards the light of Mother’s apartment while unfamiliar thoughts rolled in my head. My legs turned to lead at the thought that the gunman could be hiding in the bushes ready to shoot me. Will I make it and reach the light? Under my breath, “Aim for the light in Mother’s apartment.” My thoughts turned like a pancake on a griddle; one second I believed I would make it and another second I feared dying. My unfamiliar feelings persuaded me to lose focus. I fought those negative thoughts and ran until I made it to Mother’s apartment. I collapsed on the floor with verification that God had guided me to the light.
My mind spun, my knees were weak and wobbly, and my thoughts raced to the same beat as my heart. I realized this crisis had brought me strength as I held on to my faith through this crisis. The barrel of the gun was present in my mind as I tried to calm down from the trauma. A gun is made to aim at a target. I learned that I needed to aim my heart, mind, and spirit straight, believing that God loves and cares about me. It’s okay to have unfamiliar feelings, uncertainties, and confusion because God will strengthen me if I look to Him. That night, I realized Dad and I both had a different crisis, and at the same time a belief that no money in the world could replace a loved one, especially when believing that strength from the Lord is the focal point of life.