By John Gregory Evans | Featured Contributor
Lying in my upstairs bedroom at home in San Antonio, Texas back in 1999, I was frightfully sick with a terrible flu-related virus. I felt as if I were dying. I laid half asleep and half out of sleep. At this depth of illness, I cared not whether I lived or died. So I simply fell asleep thinking this was it for me. I was forty-five at the time. Life had proved cruel, and all so often we need some type of boost to get us back on track. I felt I was at the end of my rope, both emotionally and mentally, but my writing career was just beginning. Spiritually, I was alive and well, but my body had suffered greatly over the years. I was in very bad shape.
Fighting to Live
I was barely alive. A family member called me by name telling me to drive to the hospital. I fired back with a destitute “no” for an answer. She persisted. Eventually, I dressed and drove to the nearest hospital emergency room. Once out of my vehicle, I felt the southern Texas heat and began to faint. My illness overcame me. Nearby, a lady who had been watching me as I fell to the ground ran for help. She insisted to me she would find someone to help me.
The next thing I know, I was in a room with three men and a charge nurse. I was placed on supplemental oxygen, but it did not help my breathing. I recall making calls to two separate friends to render them my goodbyes. I soon discovered from the nurse that I had severe pneumonia in both my lungs and was indeed very sick. I knew I had met my fate. After all these years of desiring to die (as I suffered through PTSD and spinal cord injuries that resulted from active duty with the USMC in the 1970’s), I knew my time was near.
Soon, my breathing became quite laborious. Treatments were not working. A fast thinking nurse called my doctor, and before I knew it, I was in the procedure room staring up from the gurney at a big man who was preparing to insert tubes in my throat. I turned to him and told him not to let me die. The next thing I know, I was being taken to the ICU where my arms were being strapped down to keep me from pulling my tubes and oxygen mask off. My arms and hands were now stationary; I could not move them whatsoever. I was on an iron lung. I could not breathe on my own. I remained this way for 6 days, then four more days in a recovery room. The doctors also wanted me there an additional week for observation.
A Comforting Presence
In my room, my loving mother sat at the foot of my bed, where she also placed a rosary. Although I was entirely out of it, in the midst of my delirium, I felt a Presence. A golden azure of light emanated throughout the room. I heard nothing but could see a woman within the light. Her hand reached out over me. As she drew near, I held her hand and kissed it gently with much love and adoration from my heart. I can’t explain this—but I felt her smile. I was at peace. Soon, I was taken to another ICU room, and once I awoke, I was in recovery.
Looking back, I honestly cannot say who this woman was. My mother promised it was not her. She also told me there was no way I could have kissed anyone’s hand. But I remember clearly, somehow, that I had. And this experience ended up carrying me into another decade where I had the privilege and opportunity of meeting a wonderful lady who became my wife. This was 12 years ago. We have endured much, but as for spiritual direction and inspiration, I think of this beautiful lady who became my spiritual mother. All I can say is that now I live in a land of gratitude. Thank you, Mother…and Mother Mary.
John Gregory Evans is an author and poet who writes from the gut, transforming poetry of his life experiences, good or trauma-related, and craft into art. John has studied Religious Studies & Humanities with an emphasis on the English writing of articles, academics, and free-verse poetry. He studied at the University of the Incarnate Word and has been published in The Manatee, Southern New Hampshire University’s Literary Journal. He is a regular contributor at PhoebeMD.com and has written two books of poetry: Vehemence: In Silence, We Weep and I AM: The Tiny Mustard Seed. Evans’ hope is to render a healing component in other’s minds and hearts that everything works out for the better good of the salvation of our souls and the Will of God.
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