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Lenten Devotional, April 6: By Larry Carroll

The fall through spring of 2001-2002 turned out to be a time in my life that tested my faith to the fullest. My 86-year-old mother had been living in a retirement facility, but was having trouble with mobility. We went through the trauma of moving her into an assisted care facility in early September. Shortly thereafter my wife, Lecia, was scheduled for abdominal surgery. The surgery was only partially successful, and so was scheduled again in December. In early October my mother fell, broke her arm, and had to have surgery on it. Around Thanksgiving, Mother fell again and broke her hip, necessitating surgery in early December. Shortly after that, Lecia went in for her second surgery and she had a stroke while in recovery. We later learned that the stroke was caused by a mistake made by the anesthesiologist. When we told my mother about Lecia's stroke, it was almost as if she gave up on life at that time. Mother died less than 30 days later.

During that fall things seemed to be happening so fast, I think I was just numb. The impact this all would have didn't fully register. After the stroke the doctors were hopeful that Lecia would have a good recovery, but within several months, we realized that was not going to happen. She was left with complete left side paralysis and without the ability to speak clearly. She had planned on retirement that coming April, so this was a particularly hard blow for her.

I owned my own business and was at the age where I could retire early, so I decided to sell my business and take care of my wife at home. After we came home from the hospital in late February, and as we began our long term life of caregiver and patient, I was overwhelmed by the enormity of the losses that had occurred, and the long days of rehab ahead. Friends and family were good to help where they could, but ultimately it was just Lecia, me, and the Lord. I began to wonder where He was and just why had He taken so much from me. I had to make peace with the fact that the stroke was an accident and should not have happened. My prayers were mostly for my wife's recovery, but I also prayed for understanding and the strength to endure whatever it was that lay ahead of me. As life went on I began to turn things over to God, and I began to realize that although we would never be able to live out all our dreams, we still had the love that bound us together and that was worth more than anything else.

Lecia died after 13 years of our caregiver/patient relationship. Although I grieved deeply when I lost her, I knew without a doubt that, just as God had been there with us in our struggles, God would continue to be with and take care of me as I began a new life on my own.


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