The telephone rang. I answered with my usual greeting but stood astounded, as I listened to the voice on the other end. News no child ever wanted to hear. “Come quickly. Get a flight to Portland as soon as you can. There is very little time.”
As a brand new mother with a baby girl less than one month old and a husband attending his last year of seminary nearing finals week, a decision had to be made. Who would go? Who would stay? But most of all, what is happening in Portland right now? Will we make it in time?
In a whirlwind of emotions, prayers were heard, decisions were made, and flights were scheduled. We all hopped on the plane. The first flight my precious 1-month-old daughter was to make, and it was this one at this time. I was feeling anxious, not only as a new mother but of what we might discover when we arrived.
As soon as the plane landed, we swiftly jetted to the baggage claim area. We raced to the hospital as quick as humanly possible. When we arrived, we were abruptly halted by the nurses, who very firmly indicated that infants are not allowed in the Intensive Care Unit. What agony! Not only might he be dying, but he will not be able to see my little baby girl one last time?
When I arrived, I was not prepared for what I was about to experience. Although my friend who called indicated the urgency in her voice and through her words, nothing could prepare me for the agonizing gasp my father cried when he saw me walk in that doorway.
As the day progressed, he had not said much, as he was not talking audibly anymore. He expressed himself primarily through moans due to the morphine. I had never seen my father in such a desperate situation. This was life and death, and I finally understood what I could not fathom on my flight to Portland.
As I stood there gazing at my stark white and unrecognizable father, I asked question after question, only getting answers I could not accept. Realizing his dilation machine had been turned off, I became frantic asking for a nurse, only to realize they had already given up hope of recovery. I was too late. I had missed the opportunity to talk to him and tell him how much I loved him.
Or was I? Did God allow him to hear the words I uttered? Could my father understand my meager whispers? What do you say to a loved one who is dying? My thoughts became too much for me to bear. Every thought was scattered and uncertain of what might soon become truth. Was my father dying? Did God choose not to heal him? If so, why?
Moments later, after my husband had time to visit him, the nurses made an exception for us, and my newborn daughter was able to enter the Intensive Care Unit. We all mourned together while he was still with us, talking to him, watching his heart rate rise and fall and waiting for the finality that was quickly approaching.
Do you know how much God loves you? He loves you even more than we loved my father, and He loved my father more than we did. He allowed him to go home after fighting a 15-year battle with leukemia.
As I think back to how significant this loss has been in my life and the lives of my mother, my four precious daughters and husband as well as my siblings, nieces and nephews, I have realized my father was a King, whom God had finally called home with no need to fight any more battles, because He had taken care of them all.
You are greatly loved too as a child of God. You are His Princess for eternity. Lives are precious no matter how long they last here on Earth. God has you here for a purpose, a kingly, queenly purpose, a purpose that you do not yet know now, but He does. He is waiting for you to discover that purpose and allow Him to use you for His glory.
Kerry Schortzman is the Director of Operations at Transformed Hearts Counseling Center as well as an author and speaker. She has traveled the road of recovery alongside her husband through the wildfires of intimacy anorexia. She has a heart and passion to see healing and restoration in relationships and marriages as well as to bring public awareness to eliminate sex and human trafficking. Kerry has been married since 1998 and lives in Colorado with her husband and four daughters. She and Cory have been seen on the CBS Early Show, Inside Edition, and ABC Good Morning America, Fox 21 News, and TLC/Discovery discussing the harm of sex addiction and the joys of recovery.
Cory’s books include: Out of the Darkness, Into the Light the Workbook, Into the Light the Steps, Ashes to Beauty the Steps, 301 Dating Ideas, 301 Conversational Ideas, 301 Ways to Say I Love You, 301 Ways to Love Your Children & 301 Recovery Tools & Tips.