The road to the hospital had always seemed endless but never in the months of travelling back and forth had it been as long as it was tonight. There could only be one reason for a call in the middle of the night. The moment Wes heard the voice on the other end of the line he steeled himself for the worst.
He thought he was prepared for anything at this point, but as father and son walked the hospital halls to the chapel - he’d yet to tell Jacob – Wes knew he hadn’t prepared himself of late for this.
They were met at the chapel doors by Dr Rattan and his nurse, Margaret. It wasn’t under her usual duties as a private nurse but, as she’d been Kate’s nurse since Kate was Jacob’s age she deserved to be, and wanted to be, here.
“I need you to stay here with Nurse Margaret, Jacob, I need to speak with Dr Rattan alone,” Wes told him. Wes had to be certain there had been no mistake before he’d tell his son the news. There’d be no going back from that conversation.
“Everything is all set, we’re ready when you are,” the Intensive Care nurse informed him when, minutes later, he and Dr Rattan walked into Kate’s room.
“I don’t know if I can do this,” Wes said to Dr Rattan. “What if we’re wrong?”
“We’re not,” the Dr gently replied. “We ran every test possible before I called you.”
Tears he’d held for so long ran down his face as Wes took hold of Kate’s hand with one hand and very slowly reached with his other and reluctantly unplugged the machine that had kept her breathing for so long. But his faith was sorely tested in the seconds after, when her chest showed no movement...and then he saw it...Kate truly was breathing unaided.
“Thank God,” he said, letting the breath out he hadn’t realized he was holding. “Do you believe in miracles, Doc?”
Miracles happened every day in his line of work, but never had he prayed so often for a family to be granted one than he did for this one. “I do now, but Wes? Remember she’ll have to stay here until she awakens and regains her strength.”
“I know,” Wes said, “but as you said on the phone, her brain activity was back to normal and breathing on her own was the biggest hurdle. And she’s passed that test with flying colours.”
They discussed what they’d need to watch for in the days and weeks to come and when both Dr Rattan and Wes were satisfied that they’d covered everything, the Dr offered to go to the chapel and bring Jacob up. “You’re about to see a very happy boy,” he said to Wes as he walked out of the room.
While he waited for Jacob, Wes laid his head on Kate’s stomach and prayed aloud. “Dear God, I know all of my prayers have been asking for something lately, but this time I just want to say thank you. Thank you for answering my prayers. Thank you for not taking Kate from us. Thanks...just...thanks.”
“Dad?” Jacob said as he entered the room. “Is Mom alright?”
“Come over here,” replied Wes, “and see for yourself. Mom’s coming home soon, buddy.”
Jacob threw himself onto the bed with his mother and cried, “I knew it. I knew you wouldn’t lie to me. You told me wishes on an Angel on Christmas Eve had the best chance of coming true and...Dad, why won’t Mom answer? Why won’t she wake up? I thought you said she was alright!”
“She is,” Wes explained. “It just may take time for her to wake up and laugh and talk and all those things we’re used to.”
Turning to his Dad Jacob asked the question that had crossed Wes’s mind on the drive over, “what if she never does?”
Wes, still holding Kate’s hand, felt the faintest of movements while trying to form an answer suitable for their five year old son. Could it possibly be? He squeezed her hand and waited. “Jacob, look,” he said, nodding his head toward their clasped hands. “Mom’s moving her fingers.”
Though spent in a hospital room, that Christmas Day was the merriest one Jacob had ever had. He hadn’t cared about presents under the tree, having his Mom come home for good three weeks later was all the present he’d asked for. And the lesson in faith that he and his father were given when Kate told them of the Angel who visited and prompted her to wake up, would last throughout his lifetime.
May you all be blessed with the peace, love and faith so abundant at this time of year for all the days that follow.