We were contacted about 2 months ago by Maria. She desperately wants to get her brother Anthony, from California back home to Long Island. Over the 2 months there have been many setbacks from finding a facility to accept Anthony to getting news that he will now be on hospice.
Through all of this, Maria’s faith has stayed strong as she has spent countless hours traveling back and forth between New York and California. She has prayed continually and persevered trusting God. The excitement in her voice when I told her that I had received a letter of acceptance from the facility in Long Island was contagious to say the least.
At last the day is here. It is 6:50 am as we head to the Long Beach airport and the closer we get the fog has moved in so quickly and thick it has completely engulfed the tower and the runways. Unsure if the weather would delay our departure we moved forward with our plan and headed to pick up Anthony, knowing that our hope is in God.
As we drove through the streets I prayed silently in my heart that God would lift the fog by the time we returned and allow us to leave without delay.
As we enter Anthony’s room he is literally surrounded by 8 staff members helping to get him ready. Maria steps out into the hall and embraces me as she cries tears of both relief and thankfulness. I continue on into the room through the crowd of caregivers to greet Anthony whom I am sure will be the one in the bed.
He is only 64 years old with brown eyes framed in his wire-rim glasses. He is a stout man, 6 feet and 4 inches with gray hair and a full beard and mustache. The kind of beard that would make him an excellent Santa Claus impersonator. However, what jumps out the most to me about Anthony is the friendliness, the kindness and the gentleness in his eyes, his smile and as he speaks. He is very genuine and extremely sweet.
Once loaded onto the cot I got a great picture of he and Maria. She will be flying back and will arrive about the same time as we do. Anthony is her only sibling. They were born and raised in New York City. Anthony has lived in California for about 42 years where he worked as a casting director. He never married nor had any children but he has 2 nieces, 3 great nieces and 1 great nephew who are very excited to have him back home.
A few years ago with the birth of the “reality” shows Anthony found it difficult to get work and lost all that he had. He had a friend who became ill with cancer and Anthony with his big heart cared for him for 3 years until he passed away. Now Anthony needs someone to care for him.
Back at the airport, God has most definitely answered our prayers and completely lifted the fog. The skies are clear and we are ready to get Anthony to his family in New York. Despite the length of the cross country trip Anthony did great.
He actually slept most of the time as he listened to music. He even commented on how comfortable he was. We finally arrive in New Jersey as we fly over the lights of New York City through the darkness with the moon as our night light.
We transfer Anthony into the ambulance that will take him on to Long Island. I
shared with the ambulance crew how sweet Anthony is and asked them to take special care of him. As I held his hand and prayed for him tears filled my eyes with thankfulness for the opportunity that God allowed me in spending this time with Anthony. I kissed him goodbye on the forehead once again looking into those kind gentle eyes as he softly said, “thank-you”.
I called Maria’s husband to let him know we had arrived. He said Maria had landed too and they were waiting to pick up her luggage and they would be headed to greet Anthony. They too were very thankful.
IF EITHER OF THEM FALLS DOWN, ONE CAN HELP THE OTHER UP. BUT PITY ANYONE WHO FALLS AND HAS NO ONE TO HELP THEM UP.
Thank you to Hal and Jason for sharing this mission with me.
Shelli Engle RN