the Inevitable Struggle
| The adrenalin that propelled Autumn out of bed was soon gone, and her body protested the sudden, quick movement. Her legs gave way beneath her, but Jamison and Sariah reached out in time to prevent her fall. As they lifted her and positioned her back in bed, Josiah entered. However, he was not alone.
"Jason, Jamison and Autumn" Josiah began, "I just found out what happened, so I called the hospital chaplain. Meet Kyle Corbin. His wife, Judith , accompanied him this morning."
"What?" Autumn questioned, "but it's 5:30 in the morning. They just came to do vitals, and I know that's at 5:30! You didn't have..." Autumn's words faded into oblivion as the chaplain walked toward her bed.
"This is what I'm here for, Autumn," he reassured.
"There is one thing that really bothers me," Autumn began hesitantly. "and I'll never know the answer...or maybe I already do...but the actions don't seem to...still, could she have...in her last moments?"
"What are you talking about?" several people inquired.
"Well, my mom wasn't a believer...at least, I don't think so. I don't know her heart standing with God, and I think that will haunt me for the rest of my life."
"Unfortunately, that is never an easy thing, because it doesn't have a definite answer. You won't know here."
"I know, Kyle. It just fills me with dread!"
Autumn glanced up to see her father filling out her menu for the day. She always ordered the same food for breakfast, so he knew what items to check.
"What do you want to eat for lunch?" he asked, as she looked toward him.
"Oh, I don't care!" she snapped.
"Should I check the--"
"I don't want food!"
"You do have to eat, even though you may not want to," Sariah gently reminded her.
"You're right...sorry, Dad...I just can't believe this! to answer your question...um, check a hamburger patty with cheese, mac and cheese, jello, angel food cake and...milk. And for tonight..." her voice trailed off...or at least Josiah could no longer hear her instructions as he left the room.
"We're switching shifts, Autumn. You know how this works." That was Abbie, and she explained further, "Josiah just came on, so you'll work with him today. Marla is here for the day, and your nurse's aide is Chandra." As if on cue, both women entered Autumn's room.
"Josiah just told us what happened," Carrie, the charge nurse, said as she entered behind the other two women.
"We just wanted to let you know that we're praying for you, and we will check on you in between rounds as well," Chandra said.
The aides and nurses exited, and they were clistered at the nurses' station to update those who were just arriving about the condition of each patient.
As they exited, another group of people entered, this time in the form of the Corbin daughters.
"We read your note as we were getting ready to go to the gym," sixteen-year-old Katelyn explained, in response to her parents' surprised expressions.
"Yeah, we decided to skip the gym to come justt to be with you, Autumn," Katelyn's twin sister, Kambra, said.
"Thank you," Autumn managed to say through trembling lips. She couldn't believe how God had blessed her. Although Lynn had made her life so miserable, it was still awful to think of her death. Her heart was breaking a little at a time as she realized her mom might be separated spiritually...forever!
"I know what you're going through," said Kendall, the youngest Corbin daughter, said quietly. Kendall did indeed know how Autumn felt. Kyle and Judith had adopted her at age five, when her parents died in a car accident. Kendall was now fourteen, but she could still remember the pain and sometimes even experienced the sense of loss all over again. There was one difference, however. She had started out life in a Christ-centered home, and she knew she would see her parents again. She had that hope, and she noted that it was vacant in the older girl's eyes. She understood why Autumn was extremely troubled about her mother's spiritual condition. Her heart went out to Autumn, who had experienced her share of troubles in her life...well, more than her share of struggles. Not only was Lynn gone, so was the baby she had been carrying. But the baby was lost in a most startling way, as they would come to discover later, with the appearance of a familiar man.
ance slowly trudged down the corridor, staring at the ground. Thus, he didn't see the nurse approaching, and ran into her, making her drop the charts in her hand.
"I's sorry, Miz Marla," Lance said, looking into the eyes of Marla, who, realizing who the man was, fixed a cold gaze upon him, .
"I'm sorry," he said again, "I wasn't lookin'."
"You were surely not looking. What are you doing here?" Lance knew he deserved the cold stare and the questions, but mostly the tone that suggested she didn't trust him at all. "I came to see Autumn. I, uh, done heard what happened to...to...well, to, um, Lynn."
"you have ten minutes, and I will tollerate no disrespect."
"I ain't never gonna cause More pain for that precious child...I be knowin' better than anyone what that there girl done gone through...." his voice trailed off as the things he had done and the things Lynn described flashed through his mind like a slide show in his nightmares. Lance tentatively entered, not sure what to do or say first.
"Stop right there!" Jason commanded. Jamison rushed to stand beside Autumn to provide support and a physical barrier if that was necessary. Lance looked down at the floor, with the shame apparent in his eyes. He completely understood their words and actions. He knew he fully deserved these things, and it would take a long time for him to obtain their trust. He had disturbing news to report. He didn't want to do that, since they were already going through a lot.
"I's ain't here to cause no trouble," Lance quickly assured the group. "but I sure do got somethin'...somethin' to, um, well...somethin' to tell y'all." Lance finished in a rush.
"What is it?" Autumn asked suddenly.
"Well, that their baby...she done lost the baby a'fore the accident," he began hesitantly.
"Is Abbie still here?" some lady interrupted.
"Perhaps you should go see if you can find her," the man beside her said.
Judith rushed out of the room, instinctively knowing Abbie would have to be there for this news. She knew of the plan to adopt Lynn's baby, so it was only right that she be present. Besides, if she wasn't there, someone would have to give her the news later, and they were going through enough already.
"Oh, thank God!" Judith exclaimed as she saw Abbie.
"You have to come right away!" she said urgently when the younger woman looked up.
When they returned to Autumn's room, Lance began again.
"Your mama lost the baby a'fore she died, Autumn," Lance stopped, not sure of how to proceed. Finally, he took a deep breath and continued, "She miscarried. She didn't listen to that doctor who tole her to stop drinkin' and I figure that how she lost the baby. She sure didn't care. She done said she's actually relieved. She never wanted to carry no more babies to term and go thru' all that nonsense jus' to give that their baby to someone else or somethin'."
"Do you think she did it on purpose?" Jason asked flatly.
"Don't rightly know. I could tell she's r'lieved, 'cuz she's smilin' when she done tole' me she miscarried 'er somethin'. Then she said there's no reason she couldn't start that drinkin' again. She ain't have no baby to fuss over no mo'. Thar's no reason to worry 'bout what that doctor done say no more. Cuz she ain't got the baby no more, anyways, so's it couldn't hurt nobody anymo'. That's what she done said, anyways." Lance realized he was rambling, and he knew it was just an attempt to put off the inevitable moment. What would happen next?
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