Monday, March 12, 2012

Memory Monday: Divine Intervention

* this was an article I wrote for a magazine several years ago:

It was the year 1981 and my brother Doug was at the end of his rope. His life had become a viscous circle of work, drink, work, drink, work and more drink. One weekend  while visiting him, I realized he looked like a prisoner in a concentration camp. I knew he needed help, but I was just a university student, barely twenty years old; what could I do? Even though I didn't know exactly what I was supposed to do, I packed my bags and moved into his house. He was my elder brother, but I figured he needed my help.

Have you lived with an alcoholic? It’s not pleasant. He wasn’t a happy drunk, that’s for sure. There were too many nights that I came home from University, driving over an hour on a crowded freeway, to find him passed out on the floor with vomit framing his face. I thought I was there to help. I wanted to be a hero; but there was nothing heroic about walking in on a half naked, elder brother passed out on the floor. I became weary fast.

One day I was asked to take a friend to the airport. On my way back from LAX, I decided that I didn’t want to go ‘home’ that night. I had enough. I would keep driving straight down to Costa Mesa and stay with one of my many friends. Just the thought of being able to escape to a friend’s house made me smile.

The radio was blaring Christopher Cross’ song “Ride like the Wind,” and I was planning to drive as fast as I could and be free again. When I drove past the exit for Lomita, I felt something inside me urge me to go ‘home.’ I refused to listen to the urging; instead, I leaned forward turning up the volume on the radio and continued driving. 


An audible voice instructing me to return home reverberated through the car. I almost lost control of the car as it swerved irratically across the freeway.  My heart pounded furiously and my mouth went dry. The voice only came once, but it scared me so badly that I turned off at the next exit and circled back around on the freeway. I still didn’t feel like going home, but I knew I had no choice.

When I pulled into the driveway, I noticed the house sat in darkness. It seemed odd to see the front door slightly ajar. I figured that my brother was up to his old tricks again. He probably had gotten drunk before it got dark and forgot to turn on the lights. Once inside the house, an eerie feeling wrapped around my heart. The light switch was across the room and as I walked towards it, I was wondering if someone had possibly broken into the house and that is why the door was ajar.

I quickly glanced in Doug’s room, but no one was there. I walked towards my room and as I passed the bathroom I caught sight of someone crouching inside. My body flipped around the wall that separated the bedroom from the bathroom. My back flew smack up against the wall. 


My pounding heart made it difficult for me to think. I tried to swallow but my mouth was too dry. The more I breathed, the drier my mouth got. I stood glued to that wall for what felt like an eternity, but it was only a few seconds. I mustered up a little courage and yelled, “Alright, I see you! You better come out whoever you are!!”

Silence.

“Come out!”

Silence.

I whipped around the corner and pushed the bathroom door open. It jammed up against the person slouched on the floor. It was only then that I realized it was my brother, Doug. Reaching forward, I touched his shoulder and he fell backwards. He almost crushed me as his deadweight fell on me. I put my hands under his arms and dragged him out of the toilet area and into the hallway. I had seen him passed out before, but somehow I knew this was different. I pushed him, I yelled at him, I even hit his chest, but no matter what I did he did not respond.

Reaching for the phone, my fingers dialed 911. Before I knew it, paramedics and policemen swarmed the house. They shoved me aside and began working on my brother. Everything swirled around me. It felt like a nightmare, and yet when I pinched myself I knew I was very much awake. One of the officers asked me what kind of drugs he had taken. I was not helpful at all, not because I didn’t want to help but because I didn’t know the first thing about drugs.

The paramedics attempted to bring him out of his unconscious state but they were unable to do so.  They communicated with the hospital and before I knew what was happening, they were out the door. I have always thought that paramedics are supposed to assure you that everything is going to be okay. This group of paramedics didn’t get that memo. They let me know that things were not going well. 


I remained at the house to call my parents, who were traveling back from Singapore. I went into auto pilot. I called my sisters and my other brother. It was 2 a.m., I called the pastor of the church I had just started attending. He prayed a quick prayer over the phone and then hung up. I put down the phone and stared at it wondering what I was going to do next. I knew I had to go to the hospital to see how Doug was, but I really wanted someone to go with me. That is when I decided to call Karen Fick, she was the young adult's pastor’s wife of the church I attended before moving to Lomita. She lived all the way down in Westminster that was around a 40 minute drive.

When she heard what had happened she said, “Don’t move, I’m coming right now!”

Somehow she made that 40 minute drive in 30 minutes.  Right before she arrived, the hospital called to tell me that my brother had gone into distress. When we got to the hospital I was told that he had stopped breathing and they had to resuscitate him. They were able to revive him, but he was still unconscious.

After a couple days, he finally regained consciousness. I was allowed to go in and see him. I walked into the I.C.U. room and tears sprang up in my eyes. He looked like an alien with his body hooked up to tubes and machines. I could see he wanted to say something, so I leaned towards him. His voice was weak. He whispered, “They tell me …you…saved my life.”

I smiled, and patted his arm, very pleased with myself, “Well, yes, I guess so.”

“Why? Why did you do it?”

My head jerked back as if he had slapped me. I frowned and leaned forward again, maybe I hadn’t heard him correctly the first time. He continued, “Why didn’t you just let me die!?”

Poor guy, his life was so miserable at that point, he just wanted to die. Tears welled up in my eyes. I had nothing to say. I patted his arm and said, “I love you.”

Today, more than 30 years later, his life has totally turned around. He is a missionary. He has a lovely wife and a handsome son. He lives his life for others. Doug is one of the most giving people I know. He never gives up on anyone. He always goes the extra mile when he is helping someone. When I see his life today, I’m so thankful for the divine intervention on the freeway in California in 1981.  Even though Doug thought he wanted to die... he had so much more to give by living.

20 comments:

  1. Omigod Connie! You are an angel, and that voice you heard in the car, goosebumps. I used to admire you a lot, but that respect has grown threefold. You really have been more than a sister to your brother, and your family is lucky to have you!

    On an other note, if you had not gone back that day, the guilt was not something, which would be the most difficult to bear lifelong. Somehow the divine does make us take the right steps everytime, we just need to listen to it!

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    1. ha ha- I am definitely NOT an angel- ha ha!! I'm thankful for the divine intervention in this case- it has been wonderful to see all the things my brother went on to do after that tragic event. It has also taught me to not give up on anyone- and not believe someone who says, "I have nothing to live for" because- I've seen that maybe just around the corner there will be something to live for!!

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  2. such a heart warming story of courage and love and miracles! I've always believed that god sends his little angels once in a while to let us know that he loves us...U've been that for your bro and im sure he must have been incredibly proud of you for what you did!!

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  3. Oh Ms.Anjuli..I am wiping my tears..God did sent angels and you are one of them..I have always believed in God's guidance and their are no coincidences in life..no matter how painful someone has go through it has always it's purpose..I have also my own story and I went through so much pain but I know like your brother I will serve as a light and be a living testimony to lives of people through the pains I have been through..

    Each one is special in God's eyes Ms.Anjuli and each of us have our own destiny..I really loved this post..thank you so much for encouraging me Ms.Anjuli through these post..thank you *hugs* ;)

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    1. You are so right Sie- each of us is precious and whatever we've been through- the good, the bad, the ugly- we can use it to help others. It makes us richer.

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  4. What an inspiring post of love, hope and faith. There is no such thing as coincidence so certainly you were guided to return to your brother's. Best not to imagine if you had not.

    The most sensitive of souls are the ones who find life so difficult, but when that sensitivity is channelled they can do the best work.

    Thank goodness you were there and how wonderful your brother is doing so well now.

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    1. Linda - thanks for the comment. Yes, I agree, sometimes it is best NOT imagine what could have been or not have been- but just to go forward.

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  5. Wow, CHILLS! Isn't it amazing how fate works?

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  6. universe always tries to balance itself and things turn out good in the end. ALWAYS :) this experience cements my belief

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  7. I was getting scared to scroll down to continue reading. God is great, he has his own ways.

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    1. God does have His own ways- and He only expects us to listen.

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  8. Oh...im a bit speechless at the moment. that was such a touching story and my admiration for you...its just amazing the ways of the Lord.

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  9. What a touching and inspiring read. More importantly, it shows what a caring and strong person you are. Than you for sharing this and letting us get to know you better.

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    1. Am looking forward to catching up on your blog posts.

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  10. Since u wrote at the beginning that it was an article I read it like a story u had written but half-way thru I knew there was no way this was just a story.....u must have been so relieved u LISTENED & turned back.
    Thank U for sharing it with us.....like Linsfood says above a touching & inspiring read.

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    1. Nancy- can't wait to catch up on your blog posts- am sure I am way behind!!! Check out my grandson's pictures on my latest post- I miss him horribly and wish I could retire so I could sit in a rocking chair all day and just hold him and my granddaughter!! ha ha!! One more coming in just 3 weeks time!!! Oh my!!

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