Shepherd Walking By the Road
Shepherds Remind Me of the Good Shepherd, Jesus
What Happened on a Country Road?
I can remember this day well as I went to the hospital in Live Oak, Florida. It was one of those times, when you know your mother is caught between life and death. The nursing home called me to come, and I took my teenage daughter, and we went to the hospital there in Live Oak, Florida to see my mother. She was in the emergency room, and it was one of those times that you do not want to face the crisis, but as her surrogate in charge of decisions for her, then I had no choice. I was made her surrogate because she had no power of attorney nor did she ever think of doing it. My mother was clearly at death's door, and her body was septic.
If I take you back in time to about 4 years earlier and to the day all this happened, then you will know the struggle my mother has faced. Mother was about 75 years old and a very loving lady, that raised my kids in my home, while I was able to work and take care of our family. She had been an important part of my family since the day my daughter was conceived. She was taken in by us and given a special place to be part of our family. My mother, after 32 years of being married, was divorced from my father, who took him a new wife. He had hit the time in his life, when he was in a mid-life crisis. He later figured out after it was too late that my mother was the one that always loved him and mattered the most in life. He found that out, when his last wife decided to dump him in a nursing home and take his money. That is a long story in itself, but I only tell you this as part of my mother's life struggle. Mother was important to all three of my children. She would show love to my oldest adopted son that was thrown away from a former adoption, and his life was always rocky. The thing that child took away with him in life is the love of his new family which included my own mother. Then, there was my daughter who she kept since the day she was born and never knew what a nursery or daycare was. My youngest son came along, and he took more care, because he was a premie baby who weighed only one pound. He was born the son of my oldest child, when he got married the first time, and realized he was not the father nor his wife, and she was not the motherly type. They just could not raise him. They signed custody for me to adopt my grandson, who now is my youngest son, and he has grown into a fine adult. I am thankful mom was there to love them all. She was an important part of my whole family. I know sometimes it was difficult for my husband to deal with a mother in law that lived in the home with him, but he did his best to love and care for her too.
One day mom decided, at 75, she would walk to the mailbox and back, and lately she had been thinking about her health, but for some years she had been showing signs of aging, and she had to sit instead of walking, because her energy gave out and she did not feel well. She came back to the house and my daughter went to the bathroom to use it, and she said," mom come quick". She then said that her Nana was talking in tongues or acting strange, and she had gone to the bathroom, when the stroke hit her. I looked at my mother and realized mom was having a stroke. I called 911 immediately, and they came and started to care for her. She was being treated for the stroke and was actually coming out of it in the emergency room, and when she did, then she felt panicky and started to pull out the IV in her arm, causing blood to be almost everywhere. The nurse decided that she should sedate my mother and mother was actually talking at that point in a normal voice to us. The nurses and the doctors pulled the stroke medications, and when they sedated mother, then it was the biggest mistake of my mom's life. She had a massive stroke and no medicine to stop it. They called in a heart doctor, and he told me that mom could no longer eat or drink on her own. She had a clot thrown to her brain that caused a massive stroke. Mother had a heart condition of a faulty valve that went into her heart. They sent my mother to another hospital in Gainesville, Florida. She was being treated for the stroke, and because they could not get an IV in her, then they had to put in a pick line. They had to go in and cut into the arm blood vessel and insert this pic line to treat the patient. My mother almost coded with it, and it took 10 doctors, as I was told to save my mother. She had bottomed out. I send a shoutout to the staff at North Florida Reginal Hospital that saved her life.
At first, they put my mother in a nursing home for care, and I was not happy with the care she had gotten. She was not treated like you would want your mother to be treated. So I moved her from Lake City to Live Oak, Florida. I had to stay on this and see about her for some time. As her surrogate, I attended a lot of meetings. Mother had lost her ability to eat on her own, and she lost the ability of speech. She was seeing a speech therapist, physical therapist, and an occupational therapist, and before a year was up, then she was able to speak a little, and they were able to pull the feeding tube that kept her nourished. She was actually able to eat foods that had been pureed, and she was feeding herself. More and more she began to fit into living in a nursing facility. On some occasions, I would try to take her out for an outing away from the nursing home. She was still part of my family and had to be looked after very well.
There was struggle after struggle, and that day I went to Live Oak to the hospital was one of those days. At first, mother looked like she was at death's door. Her kidney infection had caused her to go septic and the nursing home had not been as careful, as I felt they should have been in monitoring her kidneys. She often got infections and did have them before she had any strokes. It was just part of her physical weakness or inherited traits for being, as they say, prone to it. I looked at mother that day with my daughter in the emergency room, and they were fighting to save her life, and I prayed as usual and prayed some more. After a few hours and some antibiotics in her system, she then was beginning to show signs of coming out of the medical crisis, and they were sending her back to the nursing home for care.
When the crisis had passed, then I took my daughter and left in my car to drive back 18 miles to the town that we lived in. The reason mother was 18 miles away was for better nursing facility care. We had gotten about halfway back, and there along the roadside was walking a Shepherd. He had long white curly hair that dropped down over his shoulders and a long white beard. He was wearing baby blue and white robes. It was layered like baby powder blue over white in areas of his garment. He was about 5 foot 6 inches tall, and he was carrying in his right hand a shepherd's staff that curved like a hook. The staff was a good 8 feet tall and stood high above his head. He was wearing sandals. It was like seeing someone right out of the Bible, but not knowing who he was. He was walking toward Live Oak and walking against the traffic on my side of the road. He was not skinny nor fat, but a well filled out person. He seemed as if he could have been Moses or some biblical figure that I should have known. Was he going to Live Oak because I prayed for God to watch over my mother? Was this an angel or some great spirit?
I shall never know, but my heart and mind tells me he was an angelic being. I just have a sense about these things. Not only did I see him, but my daughter saw him as well. This type of person just did not exist around those parts. He was walking along the roadway of a two-lane concrete highway. I would like to think that this experience is but one in my lifetime, that I know exists and was given the privilege to share. My daughter and I both will never forget the day we came back down that road to see a white-haired Shepherd. May God bless that experience in my life to share with others. Maybe someone knows who he was, and why he was on that road that day going to Live Oak, Florida. That was some time around 2003. We had already had the 9/11 experience happen in our country. Strange events do happen in lives that we cannot explain!
Mother lived a good 5 years in a nursing home, before she went to be with the father above at 80 years of age. Mother had never had many people to love her, but in that nursing home she had gained the love and care of many who missed her, when she left. There were many battles for life, but that day stands out above all others, when the Shepherd passed us by.
I do not see the shepherd now, but in my mind where he dwells among all experiences that I simply cannot explain. He has led me to stand for those in a stance against the wrongdoings of the ancestors of some Native Americans who put money before their people. Little did I know that shepherd had more in mind for me to do than to mourn only the life of my own ancestors. His staff had pulled me in as surely as the name I bare. It stands for "defender of man". That is certainly how life has gone on a big journey. Let me put on my sandals and walk the road beyond this day. The journey of life goes beyond.
This is the year 2015 and people are struggling across this country with floods, fires that devastate, loss of life, starting over again, and the shepherd knows our need to pull everything together. We are not alone, and we should never think of ourselves as selfish people without any care. We need to take simple steps to make others know that we are there for them. The good shepherd came, when I definitely needed some strength, and now I ask all to realize that it does not matter your color, your creed, or age, or education. It matters that we all live under the great spirit, and we should care about each other in a positive way as we struggle to survive what life dishes out.