Today’s mission has been in the planning stages for several months. Now, after several setbacks it is finally time for Mark to leave Virginia and go stay with his youngest daughter in Illinois.
Mark is 62 years old and worked cutting lumber in his younger days. Several years ago a tree fell on him leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. His family tells me that despite this unfortunate injury he continued to work from his wheelchair for several years to follow.
In 2013 he broke his left leg and after a long battle with infection he was eventually forced to have it amputated above the knee. He was however still able to care for himself at home, until recently when he had a seizure requiring him to be hospitalized. Once he was stable he was transferred to an extended care facility to be cared for. With his youngest daughter having experience in caring for those who are disabled her desire is to bring her dad to her home so that she can give him the care he now needs.
We arrive at the facility in Virginia to find a large crowd of family in his room. There are both smiles of joy and tears of sadness as he is leaving. Once we have him in the back of the ambulance through their tears, his niece and sister ask if they can come on board to tell him goodbye one more time. Our answer without hesitation was absolutely. They were very emotional and you could feel the love they had for him.
They followed us to the airport and were allowed to come out to the plane. I think that gave them a little sense of security in knowing that we were going to take great care of him. Both Mark’s wife and his older daughter made the trip with us. He and his wife have been married 10 years and have known one another since they were teens. Mark did very well on the flight never complaining about anything always using “ma’am and sir.” It was easy to see that he was not a complainer at all.
When we arrived at the airport in Illinois his daughter and son-in-law were waiting and watching as we landed. It was a very short trip from there to their home. It was evident his daughter had been planning and anticipating this moment. As the back door of the ambulance swung open, there she stood with a smile of joy on her face as she said, “hello daddy.” She had freshly painted his room in his favorite color green and had it all nicely decorated with things that he liked.
We thanked God for allowing this mission to finally take place for this family as we left, leaving them to share in this time of reunion.
Thank you to Hal, Don and Chris for sharing this mission with me.
Many Blessings and may the God of grace and peace be with you.
Shelli Engle RN