The Scariest Moment Of My Life, April 2008

          “Ashley, hey honey.  Listen, I need to tell you something.  Are you sitting down?”  My Aunt Lynne sounded awfully serious and I immediately became worried.  Just a week or so earlier we had planned on her hosting me for dinner and I was so excited.  It was the last semester of my senior year of college and I knew she probably wanted to discuss my post-graduate plans.  While I wasn’t looking forward to it (what graduate ever really is?) I was excited to spend time with her, my Uncle Ken and my younger cousin Renny.  I always felt more like a surrogate child of theirs instead of the neice that I actually am.

            “Yes Aunt Lynne, I’m sitting down.  I am actually in my car-I was just about to leave Oxford and head to Cincinnati.”

            “Okay well sit tight for a second.  [Deep sigh] Ashley, I’m so sorry that I have to be the one to tell you this, but your father had a brain aneurysm this morning.”

            My stomach dropped.  My heart began pounding out of my ears.  An aneurysm?  That’s a death sentence; no one survives those.   Surely my father is dead, yet I’m left here?  I don’t want to live without him.  What am I gonna do!?

              “Ashley, honey, Ashley.  He’s on his way to University Hospital in Cincinnati right now.  He’s in a helicopter…”

            I couldn’t hear anything anymore.  I was sobbing uncontrollably.  My father isn’t dead…but he still could die.  Aunt Lynne’s voice was breaking, she was struggling to stay composed herself.  While I felt so terrible for not being strong for her so that she could finish what she needed to say, I didn’t know how to stop my grief.  My world was over without my father.

            “I don’t want you driving yourself down here Ashley,” Aunt Lynne continued.  “Find a friend or sorority sister to bring you.  Just pray for him Ashley.  Pray like you’ve never prayed before.  Pray.  I love you Ashley, I love you.”

            I don’t remember hanging up with her but the next person I called was Tori, one of my closest friends ever and also my sorority sister.  “TORIIIIIII!!!!!!!” I screamed into the phone. “TORRRRIIIIIII!!!!!”  “Oh my gosh Ashley, what’s wrong?  What happened Ashley?  Talk to me Ashley but you have to quit screaming and calm down because I can’t understand what you’re saying.”

            I attempted to tell her that my father had an aneurysm.  I repeated “My father had an aneurysm” at least ten times but she couldn’t understand me.  I was crying so hard and loud that Tori could make out not one word.  We hung up.  I somehow managed to get out of my car, go back to my room in my residence hall where I curled up into the tiniest ball possible and cried.  And cried.  And cried.  Then there was a knock on my door.

            I got on my hands and knees and crawled.  Walking seemed to be too great of a task.  I crawled to the door.  When I finally managed to reach up and twist the handle, Veronika, my best friend, was standing right there, her mouth dropped open, her forehead wrinkled with deep, grave concern.  “Oh my gosh Ashley!  What happened!?”

            I somehow managed to get Veronika to understand and after she helped me back to my bed she laid there with me and held me as I cried.  She explained that because Tori had been tied up with something, Tori had called Veronika and told her that something was going on with me and she would be able to find me in my room. 

          From there I managed to find a ride to University Hospital and made daily trips to Cincinnati that Sunday until that Friday.  Thank God one of the top surgeons to specialize in aneurysms is based out of University Hospital and was available to perform my father’s life-saving surgery.  He had brain surgery Monday morning, a mere 24-hours after his aneurysm, and by Friday was itching to leave the hospital and was consequently discharged.  My father has since made a full recovery and he and I are now closer than ever.  Every day I thank God for him because I now know I would feel utterly helpless without him here.  Praise God.

          Can any of you relate?  Have you had someone close to you come close to death, then make their comback?  Or do you recall your scariest moment ever?


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