Good morning to every one. I hope that your weekend will be filled with pleasure and rest. For me, I am dealing with shingles. Not the most pleasant thing in the world, let me tell you...especially since it is the send major breakout in a year. Lucky me...I also get a very rare case...both sides!!
Well, anyway, on the todays blog. I decided to wrote about something that happened 1almost 12 years ago.
It was New Year's Day and a dear friend called me up to come to her house to meet her son and her grandchildren. They were in from Arkansas and her son had just won a 2 year battle with the mother for the custody of the children.
I, my husband and my 5 year old granddaughter went to spend the day. It was a wonderful afternoon. My 5 year old was thrilled, because there was a 6 year old boy to play with, as well as a 10 and 11 year old. The youngest of the boys were twins and they were just 1 month shy of 2 years old and they were both on G-tube feeding machines.
We spent the day chatting with her son and the family. Laughing and enjoying the holiday stories, eating and so forth. That evening we bid our farewells and left.
The next day, I was preparing our suitcases for a short trip to Shipshewana, Indiana. This is an Amish town that I absolutely love. Our granddaughter was going to go with us as well. We were almost ready to leave when the phone rang. I answered the phone and to my surprise, All I heard was sobbing and screaming on the other end with the words ringing loudly in my ear. "Help me...help me...He's dead, he's dead. Oh my God, what am I going to do?" It was my friend from the day before. Since she is quite a bit older than me..I could actually almost be her daughter...my first reaction was that her husband had died....but no...it was her 39 year old son. I told her I would be right there! As I was speaking to her, I motioned for my husband to grab my shoes and purse. When I hung up the phone I told my husband what had happened and he should hurry and get ready and meet me at her house. I raced out the door...January 2nd...and didn't even take the time to put on socks. I drove as quickly as I could.
When I arrived the children were hysterical, she was hysterical, and the fire department were there. I did my best to keep the children away from the scene, trying hard to comfort them. In between that I kept making sure that my friend was alright. Once the body was removed, we had to all jut stop and consume what had happened and what needed to be done next. for one, the babies were on these machines with a special formula and we only had enough to get us through a couple of days. They were also sick and needed nebulizer treatments.
My friend was in a state of shock, and really barely could thing straight enough to give me the information that I needed to proceed with getting in touch with the proper people in Arkansas.
I told my husband that I would be staying with my friends for a few days...which later turned into months. The first thing I did was call on some friends for some meal help. they all rallied together, thank God, and put together meals for the family so that was one thing we didn't have to worry about! Our friends had put together meals that lasted a couple of weeks By then we were all ready to handle that part of life.
The next step was to contact the doctors and facilities that handled the babies...get medical records, specifics on formulas, treatments etc. I was able to get in touch with a company that donated cases of the necessary formula. The expense of the formula they needed was unbelievable! If you are unaware of what being fed though a G-tube is...the formula is fed through tubes into a hole in the stomach. It runs through a machine that regulates it's flow. Each feeding the tubes are cleaned and rerun through the machine. The machine has an alarm on it in case something goes a wry. It is quite the ordeal.
The next thing was to organize the funeral. It took a week before we were able to hold it. The body first had to have an autopsy. The results were double pneumonia. The young man was so concerned with the health of his children, he neglected his cold...and well, the unfortunate happened. My friends husband and son-in-law drove down to Arkansas to gather some clothing and items needed. they also brought back all the angels that this young man had seemed to surround himself with in the past year. We placed them around the funeral home in lieu of flowers.
At one point, we now needed to get the older children into school. I went to take them to the nearest school, and because of the situation, I had to register them as homeless. But I knew they couldn't sit around the home much longer. They needed to get back to some sort of normalcy...although I am not sure how normal a child can feel being in a different state, having lost your parent and not knowing what will happen next. A friend of mine and I went to the nearest thrift store to purchase things like coats and boots, hats and scarves for the children. They after all were now going to reside in Chicago and they didn't own the type of clothing needed since they came from Arkansas. Other friends started a donation drive with clothing, toys, and money. It was amazing to see everyone coming together. My friend was truly overwhelmed with others generosity.
Next was getting together the proper things needed to go to court. You see, the young man had never been married to the mother of his children. He had won the custody battle, but now...the law might mandate the children return to the mother. My friend was the mother of their father. So it got quite complicated.
I got her a lawyer and I worked on putting together a folder of facilities that I had set up for help with the children. Each of the older children would get counseling, I included anything that they might need and how it would be provided for. The babies were another story. I had contacted doctors, nurses, Easter Seals, private facilities. All and anything that needed to be done for their care. They were handicapped you see. These children need reconstructive penis surgery and surgery on their eye muscles, which all came from the neglect of the mother. We then all had to take the long ride down to Arkansas, I included for the trial. Well, the good news was that my friend got temporary custody.
I finally left their home once they got somewhat settled in. The battle with the birth mother continues till this very day. I must say that I honestly saw how well the law protects the guilty.
It amazes me that my friends, who have worked hard their entire lives have had to pay for lawyers while each time this mother decides she wants something, gets a lawyer for free.
My friends are now 74 and 78 years old. They are still caring for the babies who cannot speak, still wear diapers and are severely handicapped with a disease called Angel Man Syndrome. I thank God every day for their perseverance. They are quite the loving couple. These children would have never survived if they were left in the hands of the mother..in my opinion. The father, bless his soul had all the best intentions, but it is my belief that he never could have worked to provide for these children and advance the babies as far as my friends have done. It is remarkable. the doctors said that they would never walk....and they walk.
My friend and I worked together and made books that were laminated to help them recognize things in their normal every day life that they couldn't communicate with, but could point to a picture.
Sometimes we question what God is doing. I look at this family and know that God handled this situation which others would call horrible. He provided the best there was for this situation. I believe in my heart that he has a very special place for my friend and her husband in the heaven above when their time comes.
I still think that she has never really truly had the opportunity to properly grieve for the loss of her son. The necessities of life have kept her too busy. I am not sure whether that is good or bad. The loss of a child is unimaginable...but gaining 5 grandchildren as your own...another unbelievable moment. I pray for them each day. I know that someday she will reunite with her son, and boy...that will be some conversation!