| Lynne sat in the cold, empty room, realizing she was truly alone. She was in a real mess, but it wasn't her fault. If only Jason done those things that made her so miserable...that was what made her decide to divorce him. Oh, if she was going to be honest...none of it was Jason's fault. Or if it was, it was only because she started the whole thing. If someone was able to look into Lynne's mind, they would find a dark place, an intricate web of deception. Yes, Autumn was everything to her, as she had told the nurses. But it wasn't for the reasons they presumed...Lynne's life was out of control, and Autumn had been the only constant. Lynne never considered the fact that Autumn's helplessness was the thing that kept her there. Lynne needed Autumn to fulfil some twisted purpose. Oh, the bottle was her constant companion, that was for sure, but Autumn was her only link to normal life. Sometimes Lynne needed this, but at others, especially since the cancer intruded, Autumn proved to be a stark reminder of the mess Lynne had become. Now Jason was back, and he had become a Christian. Lynne never imagined he would be so foolish, but then she never thought cancer would rip her security from her, she never thought Autumn would get all religious...but was there anything to it? Lots of people desperately looked for God when they knew they were going to die; so what if Autumn found comfort in this God? It didn't mean all that stuff she said about Him was true. Lynne didn't want to believe it; she knew God would never approve of her lifestyle, and she didn't really care. She couldn't give up her alcohol, her life, her only consolation. Everyone thought she was the best mother on the planet, but if they only knew...if they only knew Lynne was pleading for them to save her daughter so Lynne's source of stability wouldn't be taken. Autumn was the practical, the sensible one. She knew how to solve the problems and make everything all right. Somehow, Lynne missed the irony of the whole thing: Lynne's daughter had been the voice of reason, the caregiver, in essence, the mother, when Lynne was drunk and senseless. Autumn had always taken care of Lynne's messes, well, she had done so ever since she got smart enough to figure it out. Even though Autumn was dying, she still took responsibility for her mother. She still tried to help Lynne find the real Source of life. Why couldn't Autumn understand that Lynne didn't want her God? God had allowed her to get pregnant, and He should have known Lynne didn't want to be saddled with a baby. If only Lynne hadn't listened to Jason's blasted morality trip; she should have ignored him and had an abortion. She wouldn't be in this mess! No, if she was really honest, she'd admit that wasn't true. Still, she hadn't wanted Autumn. God hadn't saved Lynne's marriage, and Autumn just made the problems worse. God hadn't helped Lynne after her husband left. He hadn't blessed Lynne with a good job, and she had no money. Then God had let Autumn get cancer, and He wasn't going to let her live. Why would God take Lynne's only source of security? What was His thing with bringing Jamison and Jason back into her life? Jason just complicated things, and Jamison's devotion to and love for Autumn made Lynne feel guilty. All three of them got religion, and then there was Sariah...she had led them all to this God. God just made Lynne's life a mess with all His blasted rules and restrictions. She didn't see the sense in it, and she didn't feel like asking someone to explain it to her. If she did that, she would be admitting failure, and she couldn't relinquish the pride and humble herself before God to ask His servants for help. She couldn't see the healing hands reaching out to her. Those people she left broken for alcohol were the very people who wanted to touch her; they were the ones who wanted her to experience God's grace. Yes, but with God's so-called grace came all His rules.
As Lynne sat in that cold room, finally allowing her thoughts to rule, her family, which now consisted of some hospital staff and Jamison, prayed for her. Scott sat in his wheelchair with a hand on Autumn's covered foot. anela, one of Scott's teachers, stood behind him. Jamison and Jason stood on either side of her bed grasping a hand. Pastor Jack, of Sariah and Jamison's church stood beside Jason with a hand on Autumn's shoulder. Sariah and Abigail, another one of Autumn's favorite nurses, completed the circle. At that moment, they were not praying for healing for Autumn; instead, they prayed for Lynne, who was more broken and ill than Autumn could ever be. Even though Autumn's body was cancer-ridden, she had a hope, and that was in Jesus. She would have a new, glorified body when she died, whether the cancer took her or not. Lynne was spiritually bankrupt, and bitterness, anger and resentment ate at her bones, effectively killing her much more rapidly than Autumn's cancer devoured her body. Unlike Autumn, Lynne did not have this same hope, which was the cause of her sin disease, anyway. Though Autumn was dying, she felt a greater urgency to pray for her mother. When her family and friends gathered to pray with and encourage her, she requested that they all pray for her mother. Jason was amazed; his daughter lived with so much uncertainty, fear and constant physical pain, yet she would devote the rest of her short life to helping her mother. She would continue to point the way to Lynne's only Lifeline, her only hope.