77 year old Sharon has been in an Orlando hospital for about a month with congestive heart failure. She has had multiple heart issues over the years as a result of having rheumatic fever when she was a child.
Sharon and her husband live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and have enjoyed a home in Florida for about the last 18 years where they have spent their winters. With her health beginning to fail this will be their last trip to Florida as they have sold their home. Sharon and Ray have been married for over 50 years. He is from upper Michigan and she from the lower part of the state. Ray retired as an industrial arts teacher and Sharon worked many years for the telephone company selling phones.
They have lived in the small town of Escanaba where they raised 2 daughters and 1 son and are also blessed with 6 grandchildren. The 2 of them also shared a love of building homes together, Ray doing the building and Sharon the decorating. We were initially contacted by their youngest daughter requesting us to transport her mom back to Michigan. During the planning of this mission, as with each one, Hal is closely monitoring the weather.
We had this mission planned for a Friday and on Thursday it began to look as if they weather might become a major factor, possibly causing a delay. As you can imagine this was a huge disappointment for the family but we all knew it was out of our control and in God’s hands. The decision was made to reevaluate the circumstances in the morning before a final decision would be made. With our faith in God, He alone answered the many prayers that went up throughout the night and cleared the skies.
SO THOSE WHO RELY ON FAITH ARE BLESSED
ALONG WITH ABRAHAM, THE MAN OF FAITH
So it is on this picturesque morning as the sun begins to peek over the horizon, Nellie makes her way to Florida with us in tow. We arrive in Sharon’s room to find her sitting up in a chair and surrounded by family, friends and hospital staff.
She has a beautiful smile and is very happy to see us. This is a family of faith and they too know that this mission has been made possible by God’s grace. Many of the staff come in to hug both Sharon and Ray as we are packing up for flight. One of Sharon’s best friends, Kim had even come from Michigan all the way to Florida to stay at her bedside and help this family. She will be leaving to make the long drive back with their oldest daughter once we leave with Sharon and Ray.
As we listened, Sharon shared many things about her life during our trip. Most importantly she shared how she was at peace with her decision to not seek any further medical treatment but to just enjoy whatever time God will allow with her family and friends. She is excited that several of her siblings, some as far as Oklahoma will be coming to visit when she gets home.
Sharon had been on some very strict dietary restrictions while in the hospital due to her illness and now she was ready to enjoy some things she could not during that time. We had brought along some “jelly bellies” so Danny and myself gladly shared them with Ray and Sharon as we all tried to guess what flavor we were sampling. We were even able to grab a chocolate chip cookie for her during our refuel that she thoroughly enjoyed.
The rays from the sun were dancing off of Lake Michigan as we began our descent giving us a spectacular view from the air. As we landed their youngest daughter and husband had been flight following us and were waiting at the airport. We arrived at the hospice center that Sharon will now be staying at and are welcomed by the staff. Sharon did not want to be put into the bed but requested we place her in the recliner which we gladly did. Without saying a word, you could see the contentment on her face to be home. She was still smiling as we prayed with her family prior to leaving.
I have since spoken with her daughter who told me that her mom sat in the chair that evening until 10 pm and ate a huge dinner while enjoying the company of her family. Thank you so much for your prayers and please continue to lift this family up as they face many decisions and changes over the next several weeks.
Thank you to Hal and Danny for sharing this mission with me.
Shelli Engle RN