Search This Blog

Friday, December 15, 2017

THE GIFT by Linda Swift

All of my family is musical except me. And it was after a performance of her husband's band at a casino in Tunica, that my daughter had an almost fatal accident. While standing on the sidewalk in the wee hours of morning as he loaded his equipment, she was run down by a casino employee, high on drugs, thrown onto the windshield of his car, which hit a wall and caught fire. She was helicoptered to a trauma hospital in Memphis with multiple injuries. Her dad and I arrived from Kentucky and after an all-day wait, she had hours of surgery. Our first miracle was that she lived.

We stayed in a motel for a month, taking turns with her husband, sitting at her bedside, so that she was never alone for a moment. When word spread that she was injured, fans of her band and her husband's filled her room with flowers. There were so many and the scent was so heavy that one physician who entered remarked "Why, this is like a funeral home." A very inappropriate remark in my opinion!

Still too weak to travel to her home in Nashville, she was moved after a few weeks to a rehab center nearby. And when she was finally given permission to travel, my husband and I went ahead to prepare her condo for an invalid. Both bedrooms were upstairs and not wheelchair accessible so we had to buy a bed for the living room. Her dishwasher didn't work and neither did the stove oven.  Remember, she and her husband traveled with their respective bands and domestic life did not have  priority. But since I was responsible for cooking nutritious meals, I needed proper equipment. 

After a couple of days of frantic shopping for appliances, a bed, and groceries, then a frenzy of cleaning as we had been warned of her wounds getting infected, we fell into bed for a few hours sleep before her homecoming.

Sometime after midnight, I was awakened by a loud noise like someone hitting a wall. I tried to ignore it but it only got louder. Muttering something unprintable, I staggered to the window and looked out. And there by the front steps was a lone figure doing something with wood and a hammer. At first, I couldn't figure it out, and then it dawned on me. A man was building a ramp over the concrete steps.
Something we had not even thought of!

I called my husband to wake up and join me. And together we determined that it was the young man next door. We had met him and his wife and son when we came two days ago and had heard our daughter and husband speak of them before. They had come to Nashville from New York City because he wanted a career in music. For the time being, they were both employed at the nearby mall, where he worked a late shift as a security officer. Since they had lived in a big city, they had no car and both walked the couple of miles to their jobs as they had no other mode of transportation. My daughter and husband had loaned them their car at times for buying groceries and other necessities.

The night was freezing cold and the guy was bundled up in a jacket, sock cap, and gloves as he determinedly hammered away at those boards until he had the ramp finished.  And as I stood there watching with tears in my eyes, I felt such gratitude for this simple gift of kindness. It was truly more beautiful than the roomful of flowers I had tended every day. And even more special because I felt it had been a financial sacrifice to buy the lumber as well as a difficult task to build it in the middle of this frigid night.

My daughter came home, and after a fourth surgery and many more weeks of intensive therapy, she was able to walk again. And the much-used ramp was finally taken down. Now only a few scars remain to remind her and us of that almost fatal night. And this is the second miracle.


The neighbor couple went back to New York City after a time because their family needed them there. And the full time career in music hasn't happened yet. But I remember them from time to time and make a wish that all their dreams may soon come true.


10 comments:

  1. Linda, what a beautiful story of love and caring. I'm grateful your daughter has healed. Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comments, TracyG. I replied to you last night but evidently it got lost in cyberspace so I'll try again. We just stopped for the night at our daughter's home yesterday en route to FL for a few months. And we spoke of their former neighbors in my story. They are still in touch and doing well.

      Delete
  2. The best kind of story, well told. Thank you. Doris

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And thank you for your kind comments, Doris. It is good to know there are caring people in the world who do things like this without expecting any return.

      Delete
  3. Linda,

    It's amazing what people will do for each other. The world needs more stories like yours. The media bombards us with so much negativity that it's easy to become jaded toward people as a whole. Your story reminds us that good deeds and kind-hearted people really are out there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kaye Spencer, you have expressed my thoughts exactly. We see and hear so much bad news that we could easily believe there is no good in our world. I sometimes wonder why only bad news is reported! Thanks for your comments. PS I apologize for posting a day ahead of my turn. I was leaving yesterday and having a big problem posting and sent an SOS to Cheryl for help and she graciously set it straight for me before I left.

      Delete
  4. I can't think of anything sadder or more harrowing than parents who may lose their child. I am happy to learn that your daughter survived and is walking again.

    I hope with all my heart that God sees fit to bless the young man who built the ramp for your daughter and that he and his family will prosper and be happy.

    As tragic as this situation was for you and your family, it was a heartwarming reminder of what the Christmas spirit is all about--love.

    May you and your family have an insanely happy Christmas, Linda.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah J. McNeal, it is always so good to hear from you. Yes, this harrowing ordeal is one of our worst family memories but thanks be to God, our daughter recovered completely and is enjoying her life with her husband. And they are still in touch with the neighbors I wrote about. Thank you for your Christmas wishes for our family. We will all be together in FL for several days to celebrate Christmas, feeling so blessed. I wish you a joyous holiday season as well.

      Delete
  5. Beautiful story, one of hope and love. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your comments, Zina Abbott. And yes, as long as people like the young man I wrote about do such acts of kindness out of unselfish love, there is hope for our world.

      Delete