I was planning my evening to go to my friend’s 27th birthday party, when I got the news my mom had been readmitted to the hospital. She had only been home for 5 days. Seven days before, my Mom was admitted to the hospital for edema which had made her legs soft like marshmallows. Doctors had also found two blood clots. One pulmonary, and one in her leg.
I wrestled with heading to the emergency room where my mom, my dad, my sister and two of my parents closest friends, had already been waiting for hours to be admitted – or going to be with my friends to distract me from the worry that consumed me. In thoughts of my mom, I made a twenty-six picture collage out of 8½ x 11’s with aspirations of a cheery hospital room. When I finished my collage, I took a shower and got into bed. I called my dad.
My dad assured me that I should go to my dinner. If I came first thing Saturday morning it would be better, and my mom added her reassurance in the background. Still, I laid in my bed in my pajamas in a dark room and pondered my decision. The night wore on and although I knew my friend would understand if I felt it was important to be with my mother, I still felt it was important I go celebrate with my friends. I wrestled with my decision, and decided to call my dad again for an update.
His phone rang to voicemail which raised my level of anxiety, and I burrowed deeper into my covers. As I was lying there, my phone rang and annoyed me from the ball of covers around me. It was my friend Ruthie. She was on her way to the party and asked what I was up to. I told her I was going to take a nap asked her to let me know when she got to the party. As my head ran over every detail of what I knew of my mom my phone rang, and it was my dad. “Sorry, we were praying when you called…I have an update. The doctors have found a tumor in your mom’s liver” he said. I was in shock.
I had never seen my mom drink. She had grown up in a broken home – broken because of alcohol, and had made a commitment to God and our family that she was never going to drink. She had kept that commitment. I was choked up. “Are you alright?” my dad asked me, “No, but I will be,” I assured him. “Ok. I love you, keep the faith” he told me.
I hung up the phone and burst into tears. “Why God?! Why? It’s not fair!” I cried out in desperation, “Please heal my mom!” I cried.
Ruthie text messaged me,
“Here. Still feel like coming?”
“I’ll be there” I replied. With puffy eyes I got out of bed, curled my hair, put on some mascara and a hat, and left my house to meet up with my friends. It was comforting to be amongst the company of my friends. My friend Mike, the drummer for Asyst, told me Asyst was playing in Monterey at Club Octane the following night. I nodded at my friend Ruthie and unspoken “wanna go” and she smiled. I told Mike we’d be there.
The next day I rose early in anticipation of seeing my mom. I waited until I couldn’t any longer, and at 10:30 a.m., I headed out into the already beautiful weather of Santa Cruz, California, to the hospital with my collage. Folded in quarters and pressed across my belly, the collage was a sandwich board on me as I went upstairs to room 2211, and walked in. The bed was made. The sheets in perfect hospital corners, the pillow fluffed and the sun came in softly through the window. Anxiety rose inside me.
Calmly, I walked to the nurses station. One kind attendant (three attendants later) took me to the room where my mom had been moved. I greeted her and handed the collage to my dad. He hung it on the wall. My mom hadn’t slept all night and was dosing off even as I had entered in the room, so we left. My sister and I went out Mother’s Day shopping and Dad went home to take a nap. We reconvened at lunch, but my mom was heavily dosed into deep sleep so we hung out in the lobby. The weather was beautiful, and it was calling me.
“You can go exercise, Joce,” my dad said, “Didn’t you want to go get on your bike?” I had. It didn’t take much convincing for me to go for a ride from my house through Capitola Village around The Hook to The Point and back, stopping at The Point to enjoy the surf, but the waves were flat and no one but the surf class were out. By the time I got home, it was already 5:30 p.m. I called my dad and Ruthie. I made plans to meet up with Ruthie for the show at 7:30 p.m., and got in the shower. By the time I was ready to go see my mom, it was already 7:30 p.m., so I called Ruthie and told her I would be leaving the hospital closer to 8:00 p.m.
When I got to the hospital, I was informed that my mom had been given a dose of Morphine. I had never seen my mom with her mind altered, and the effect of the Morphine was hilarious. She kept my family and our friends in stitches for hours. Before I knew it, it was 9:30 p.m., and way past time to meet up with Ruthie to make it to the show. I secretly started thinking about not going to Monterey.
I picked up Ruthie in Watsonville, and we had a delicious dinner. By the time the meal was over, it was 10:15 p.m. We knew the show started at 10:30 p.m., but we assured one another that we are always on time for the music and headed out to Monterey. Just outside of Watsonville Ruthie commented that she was tired and didn’t really feel like going to Monterey anymore. I had just got my second wind and told her that although we weren’t past the point of no return yet, we might as well still go, she agreed, and we headed to Monterey.
This was our second trip to see Asyst at Club Octane, so we knew where to park. We took the last parking spot on the roof of the parking garage. We walked down a row of 30 cars, down a ramp of 15 cars, and down another row of 30 cars to the one flight of stairs that granted roof access. We got our wrists stamped and went in to see Asyst. We made it in just before Asyst went on stage. To our surprise, only one other friend besides Ruthie and I was there when normally 10-20, of our friends would have been there. This put a damper on our fun. The band only played 3-4 songs, and despite the free gear from the Captain Morgan girls, I was seriously disappointed how the evening was panning out. When Asyst was done, I was very ready to go.
After one more trip to the ladies room Ruthie and I and headed out. On the way out, Mike repossessed his hat I had borrowed and invited us to go eat with them at Denny’s. We told him we were too tired and were heading home. At 1:30AM, the dawn of Mothers Day Sunday, Ruthie and I walked out to my car. She and I laughed and joked on the way back out to my car recapping how much fun we had had that night. We got to my car, got in, and as I started the engine I realized there was something on my windshield.
“What’s that?!” I asked Ruthie thinking it might be a flyer to another show, “I don’t know” she said. I reopened my car door and pulled a rather large object off my windshield. “Just Andraé” I said as I starred at the LP in front of me. “Oh my Gosh!” I exclaimed letting out a giggle, “Someone left an LP on my windshield!” Ruthie and I started laughing. I pulled out of the parking stall and Ruthie pulled the LP out of the sleeve. “It smells old,” she said as I concentrated on finding the freeway.
“Bless His Holy Name (Psalm 103).”
“Come On Back My Child.”
“God Loves the Country People.”
“It’s Not Just a Story.”
“Lord, You’ve Been Good to Me.”
“Lullaby of the Deceived (II Timothy 3:13).”
“You Ain’t Living”
Ruthie read off the songs, “Good thing we’re Christian!” she exclaimed. I laughed, “Yeah! Good thing!”
As we approached the freeway we were still talking about the LP.
“A-N-D-R-A-É, that’s how he spells Andraé” Ruthie said,
“Really” I said exhausted. I feigned interest, “A- É, not just ‘e’, huh? Interesting”
“Yeah, Andraé Crouch” she said – suddenly a memory tickled my brain… Andraé… Andraé … Andraé Crouch…my mom came to mind.
“Andraé Crouch?! Did you say Andraé Crouch?!” I asked her in disbelief.
“Yeah, Andraé Crouch” she confirmed, “Why?”
“No way!” I said, my head spinning, “Andraé Crouch?! My mom LOVES Andraé Crouch!!”
“Well, Happy Mothers Day, Mom!” Ruthie said. What a blessing I thought, an LP for my mom of Andraé Crouch for Mothers day. I didn’t know anyone other that my mom and my DJ friends that still loved LPs…and here I had an LP of one of the singers that defined the music my mom loves in my hand for her.
When I gave it to her at the hospital later that day, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the same year ‘Just Andraé’ was produced, 1972, as a birthday present my mom’s sister had offered to take her to see a concert… Andraé Crouch, or Michael Jackson…my mom had chosen to go see Andraé Crouch.
God had truly sent my family a message by leaving this LP on my car: I know right where you are at, I know you, and you are mine. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. I am here, I know what you like and dislike, I know your needs, and I will meet them. No matter where you go, or what you go through, I am right there with you.
My family would later be told that my mom did not have a tumor in her kidney, but she did have Nephrotic Syndrome caused by Amyloidosis. She is still in the hospital at UCSF even as I write this. We claim total healing for God to wash her blood by the Blood of The Lamb.
Bless the Lord,
O my soul,
And all that is within me,
Bless His holy Name.
He has done great things,
He has done great things,
He has done great things,
Bless His holy Name.