Updated: Jan 17, 2020
“Where's your hat?!” I shouted from the second floor down to my son. “We have to leave in fifteen minutes!”
This type of irritated commotion was a normal game-day routine in the Griffith household. My son, Christopher, played on our town’s travel baseball team, and I had the privilege of being his coach. I enjoyed the time I got to spend with my son on the ball-field, but I wasn’t a big fan of the stress that sometimes came with it. On game days, I would rush home from work, scarf down my dinner like a wild animal consuming his kill, and hurry upstairs to get dressed. All of this had to be done in t-minus thirty minutes, which normally would be plenty of time. However, at the ripe age of nine Christopher had the idea that if he sat in front of the television long enough his uniform would magically appear on him, and his stomach would somehow fill itself.
“C.J.!” I barked out Christopher’s nickname when I found him standing a few feet from the television, still dressed in his school clothes.
C.J. turned and looked at me, oblivious to anything I had just said.
“Why aren’t you dressed yet?” I asked. “We have to be at the field in a few minutes, come on!”
“Sorry, I didn’t hear you,” was his response, typical for most children consumed by the tube.
While I was doing my best to keep C.J.’s focus on the task at hand, my lovely wife of over a dozen years, Joy, and eleven year old daughter, Anna, were busy in the kitchen cleaning up from dinner.
“Joy!” I called out in an irritated tone. “Have you seen C.J.’s hat anywhere?”
“Did you check in his closet?” My wife replied, elbow deep in dish soap, and her nursing scrubs decorated in blotches of water.
For some reason, my wife always seemed to know exactly where things were in the house. It’s as if she had a sonar map in her brain, and if you entered a lost item into its system it would shoot out its exact location without hesitation.
“Yeah, I-I didn’t see it,” I responded as I stumbled over my words a bit, trying to recall if I had in fact check that specific location. “Their closet is a mess though. Anna’s homework is all over the floor.”
“Anna, can you help your father, please?” Joy asked. “Pick up your papers in the closet and see if you can find C.J.’s hat while you’re in there.”
Anna honored her mother’s request, as she had graciously done throughout the course of her eleven years.
I followed Anna upstairs, not to make sure she was obeying her mother’s orders, but to check and see if C.J. was obeying his. Unsurprisingly, I found him on the floor half-dressed, playing with some of his action figures.
“What are you doing?” I barked at my son.
“I couldn’t find my chest protector,” C.J. replied as he jumped to his feet.
I yanked open the shirt drawer of his dresser and pulled out the chest protector that was crammed underneath several other shirts.
“Here!” I threw him the missing piece of his equipment. “Now, come on, we have to leave.”
While I was helping my son stay on task, Anna emerged from the closet with C.J.’s hat in hand.
“Here, C.J.,” Anna tossed him the hat.
“You’re a life saver!” I exclaimed. “Can you see if your mom needs any help in the kitchen?”
“Sure,” Anna kindly replied.
I could tell my blood pressure had elevated the past fifteen minutes as my ears were hot and there was tension in my neck. I entered my bedroom to find a moment of solidarity. However, the momentary stresses I had just gone through were insignificant to the events that were about to take place.
I remember hearing a loud thud from below, followed by the pounding of my children’s frantic footsteps dashing up the staircase to the second floor.
“Dad! Dad!” My children’s upset voices ping-ponged against the walls. “Mom passed out! Mom passed out!”
You would think those words alone would fill my soul with terror, but it hadn’t been the first time my wife had suffered a syncope episode. For years she had suffered with hypoglycemia, and a few months prior to this day had surgery to remove a mass on her stomach. Those two health issues combined had caused her to recently pass out a couple times.
My wife had already regained consciousness when I entered the kitchen, and was seated on the kitchen floor.
“Are you okay? Did you hit your head?” I asked.
“I’m fine,” Joy replied. “Could you help me up?”
I helped my wife to her feet and guided her to the stairwell.
“Why don’t you go lay down for a bit? I’ll bring up some water.”
“I’ll be fine. You should get going. I have to call my doctor anyway,” Joy said on her way up the stairs. “She said to contact her the next time I had an episode.”
I watched as my wife cautiously disappeared past the banister and into our bedroom. My mind quickly shifted to the front door, as I knew by the way our dog was yipping and howling that we had a visitor. It was my mother-in-law, who lived down the road from us and would stop in on occasion for one reason or another. Before I could greet her with an hello, the sound of my daughter’s voice echoed down from upstairs.
“Dad! Mom passed out again!” Anna cried out.
I raced up the stairs and found my wife belly down on our bedroom floor. When I got to her, she had just started to regain consciousness.
“What’s going on?!" I asked.
“I don’t know, but something isn’t right?!?” She replied, turning onto her back. “My heart is beating
really fast and I’m having trouble catching my breath.”
My mother-in-law was watching from the staircase, and the moment she heard those words she reached in her pocket and whipped out her phone. “I’m calling 9-1-1!”
“Your mom is calling an ambulance,” I said, kneeling beside her with my right hand grasping hers.
“Make sure the kids go downstairs,” my wife requested as she locked eyes with me. The next sentence out of her mouth will forever remain etched in my mind. “Because I don’t want to die in front of them.”
At that moment, I was face to face with unparalleled fear. I could see it in my wife’s eyes. This wasn’t a normal hypoglycemic episode, but something much worse.
I could go into detail of the events that occurred from the time the ambulance arrived at our house, to the plethora of doctors and specialists who cared for my wife while she continued to drift in and out of consciousness, fighting for her life for days. That alone would be a novel in and of itself, but the purpose of this story is to share what was conceived from this unexpected trial.
You see, in the darkest time of my life, when the walls of regularity crumbled and I was left with solitude, depression, and sheer hopelessness, a glimmer of light glistened through ashes and kept me alive. It is a supernatural paragon that has changed my life forever.
So I ask you, are you struggling today? Hurting? Have you lost someone, or something? Are you at your whit’s end, ready to give up? If so, then I pray the reflections I will be sharing with you within these stories, the ones my wife and I found comfort and serenity in while entrenched in the eye of this particular storm, will encourage you, strengthen you, and lead you to the greatest treasure a mortal could find; God’s Heart.
I pray that you will enjoy your journey through reflections...
Keep the Faith.