Thursday, February 3, 2011

You Will Never Look at the Stars Alone

Through a dream, a premonition, I was told my husband would leave me. After seventeen years of marriage, our relationship would end. I knew the time frame, just not how it would happen.

As detailed as a photograph or postcard, the dream opened with a view of a lodge, set on a small hill, surrounded by dense timber and constructed of whole pine logs. A creek meandered through a meadow below the main building, paralleled by a foot path dotted with wooden benches and small arched bridges. Judging from the cold air and the patches of snow lying under the trees, I surmised the time frame was late February or early March.

Ron and I strolled along the trail to one of the bridges, stopping in the center to gaze up at the night sky.  Millions upon millions of stars stretched from horizon to horizon.

Ron turned to me. “Marie, I have to leave and you can’t come with me.”

“What do you mean, ‘I can’t come with you’?”

He didn't answer. Instead he turned and walked over to a side road and boarded a waiting bus. I watched the bus pull away until the taillights vanished. I had never known such loneliness. It was a deep hole without light - or hope.

A man approached. “Are you alright?”

“My husband just left me.”

“You must be terribly hurt and lonely. I’ll look at the stars with you.”

I saw things in his eyes I wanted no part of. “No thank you.”

He shrugged. “Suite your self.” And walked away.

I left the bridge, walked up a small rise to a bench and sat down. Unable to look at the stars, I doubled over, put my face in my hands, and sobbed. Someone sat beside me. I looked up into the face of Jesus. He drew me into his arms and laid my head on His shoulder.

He gave me a promise: “You will never look at the stars alone.”

*******
March 6th 1997. Ron complained of being tired. He was pale and obviously not feeling well, but brushed off entreaties to see a doctor. By evening he was suffering from severe heartburn. He still refused to see a doctor. Concerned, but tired I went to bed.

At ten pm he woke me. “Would you run to the store and pick me up some stronger antacids?

“Honey, maybe you should go to the emergency room.” I was thinking of his high cholesterol and his dad’s four by-passes.

“No. It is only heartburn. I just need some better antacids.”

He was sitting in his chair when I returned from the store. He thanked me, took two tablets and went into a convulsion. By the time I reached him he had stopped convulsing and conscious.

I asked him, “Is it your heart?”

He shook his head no and went into another convulsion. I ran for the phone and dialed 911. The dispatcher instructed me to ease him from his chair to the floor and perform CPR, but I realized that would be fruitless. His eyes had changed, his lips were blue and his skin was already cold. He was gone. The dispatcher encouraged me to continue CPR until the Paramedics arrived. I obeyed until the dispatcher announced the ambulance couldn't find the house. Any chance of  resuscitation was gone.  I put the phone down and cradled Ron in my arms.

I felt an intense sense of peace and joy – ecstasy.  I understood I was given a glimpse of heaven, a tiny taste of what Ron was experiencing. I wasn’t angry or bitter. How could I begrudge Ron that kind of joy? But I did not want to be left behind. I begged God to take me too. In His wisdom He did not grant that wish.

The Paramedics finally arrived, after the dispatcher asked me to flip the house light on and off several times. The porch light had burned out, apparently just that evening, and made the address impossible to see in the dark. Ron did not have a DNR document and so by law the Paramedics had to attempt resuscitation even though it was clear he was already gone.  After thirty minutes and no response, the medical team stopped their efforts.

One of the paramedics knelt beside me. “We are going to transport him, but there isn’t much hope of any change.”

I nodded I understood. The ambulance pulled out of the driveway and onto the street, no sirens or flashing lights.

*****

A month later, the first of April, Hailey’s Comet was visible. I was alone for the first time since the funereal and contemplated stepping outside to view it,  but I hesitated, remembering my dream. Did I have enough faith? Summoning my courage, I went to the closet for my coat. Someone knocked on the door. It was “John”, my daughter’s boyfriend.

“Is Dani home?”

“No. She is at the movies with her girl friends, but I expect her back anytime. Do you want to wait?”

"Sure."

I stepped back to let him in.

He hesitated, then asked. “Have you seen the comet yet?”

“No. I was just coming out when you knocked.”

“I’ve studied Astronomy. I could show you some of the constellations….”

We had been in the yard only a few minutes when my dad called down from their yard. “Marie, is that you?”

“Yes. ‘John’ and I just stepped out to look at the comet.”

“I’m setting up the telescope and your Little Mother is fixing hot cocoa, do you want to come up?”

I looked at “John”. He shrugged. I took that as a “Yes” and headed through the horse pasture to my folks’. I had to admit, although I wasn’t with a Significant Other, I wasn’t alone.

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