[ Divine Signs ]

Righting a Wrongful Death

It happened years ago, but the memory is as clear as if it were yesterday.

My dear, sweet Granny died at the age of 93. One might say that she had lived a good life and that it was her time to go. But those of us who knew her and loved her would disagree. We thought she'd be with us on this earth as long as we were. After all, she had outlived 3 of her 11 children. She was still active, although beginning to get a little feeble. But her mind was incredibly sharp and her heart loving and strong.

My parents thought I was special enough to be named after my Granny. What an honor that was. She was loving and compassionate, never said an unkind word about anyone. Honesty, faithfulness and loyalty were words she lived by daily. And, she was Godly. She loved the Lord with all her heart and she thanked him each and every day for her many blessings. I had the honor of having a wonderful relationship with my Granny as I grew up. There was so much to learn from this legacy and I loved her dearly.

It was February, 1988. She had just been admitted to the hospital for possible dehydration. Under normal circumstances this would not have been a life-threatening situation, but given her age and size (she weighed just 90 pounds), the potential was there. Plus, she had not been able to keep any food or liquid down for three days.

As my Mother and I waited beside her gurney outside the X-ray Lab, Granny told us not to worry and that she was sorry to put us through all this trouble. She had never wanted to be a bother or inconvenience to any of her children and she was terribly troubled that this interruption in our daily lives was her fault. The Doctor had just ordered the first round of tests and we were told it was nothing to be concerned about because her problem was not serious. They began a treatment plan, but she remained unable to keep anything on her stomach and grew weaker and weaker.

It occurred to us that maybe they should be monitoring her Potassium levels, which, when depleted, can become life threatening. But these Doctors were Geriatric Specialists – they were supposed to know about these things. We shouldn't have to remind them. Nevertheless, every day we would ask about her Potassium levels and whether they had been checked or not. And with every day that passed, we would not get a straight answer.

Another day went by and our worst fears came true. Her potassium levels were depleted and my little Granny had a stroke and was now in a coma.

My initial reaction was disbelief. How could this have possibly happened? We had asked them to make those tests and we had been ignored. How could this be? I wondered: was it because they considered the elderly to be lost causes and not deserving of quality care? After all, they've lived their lives.

But even with our shattered confidence in the doctors and the odds now stacked against Granny, our faith was unshaken. We had hope that she would pull through this and return to us. She was a faithful servant to her God. She was our prayer angel. She prayed on her knees every day of her life, even at the age of 93 when she could barely get up and down.

My Granny died on March 1, 1988 and I could not be comforted. My faith was destroyed and I had a very hard time accepting her death. This Doctor was clearly negligent – she shouldn't have died. Why didn't he listen to us, why did he let this happen?

My positive nature was replaced by anger and bitterness and hatred. I couldn't even grieve, because I was filled with such hard feelings and my heart was hardened. My parents reached out to me, but I couldn't hear them. My pastor tried to comfort me, but I couldn't be consoled. My friends all said kind words, but none of that mattered. It just wasn't fair and I wasn't ready to let her go.

This inner turmoil continued for about a month. It was wrecking my life. I was miserable and it was chipping away at everything that was good and decent in me. I had gone to church with my family all of my life. I always thought my faith was strong, just like my Mother’s and Grandmothers'. I grew up in a Christian home and was surrounded by a Christian family and friends. Was this a test? Could I ever forgive this Doctor for his negligence?

Then in a dream one night, God reached out to me and touched my heart. He asked me to come to church that next day, but didn't tell me the reason. He said I needed to be there, so I went. And as I entered the front of the church in my dream I could see my entire extended family. Parents, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins – they were all there. And they were all dressed in white gowns – a white so pure and brilliant that the entire sanctuary glowed with the purest light. What a sight.

It gave me such a peaceful feeling to see this, but I still didn't know why I was there. So I sat down and waited. I knew that God was there, although I couldn't see Him. When everyone was seated and it was quiet, my cousin, Nancy, appeared on the pulpit and began to reveal the true reason we had all gathered that day. She spoke directly to me and said that our family was there on my behalf and that they had a very special gift for me. I couldn't imagine what it might be. God had spoken to me, but had not revealed anything. I didn't know what to expect.

Then right before my eyes, as if she had never left us, my Granny appeared. It was the most incredible feeling I'd ever experienced. The sight of her was wonderfully peaceful and calming. She was just beautiful. There was no sickness, no sadness, no pain. She was my angel and she was there to comfort me. She told me that everything was okay now and that it was okay to let her go, because it was her time to leave this earth. I cried as she held me close, but they were tears of joy and not the tears of anger that had hardened my heart just days before.

There was joy and understanding and so much happiness. And there was closure, too. I was comforted and blessed as my angel came to me in my dream that night and I was able to tell her goodbye.

God touched me with his loving hand and restored my faith and I have been given a gift that was unexpected and undeserved. I'm reminded daily of my Granny and what a wonderful blessing she still is to me.

Cindy S.

Mobile, AL