Ann sat back down in the chair next to Sarah, closed her eyes and let her mind absorb Tom’s comments. She looked at Sarah and asked; did you hear what he said? Did you hear him say “when he died”? What is he talking about? I knew Tom was banged up pretty bad and that he had a nasty head injury and some brain swelling that caused them to induce his coma due to the swelling. But I never heard anyone tell me he had died or even that his heart had stopped and they had to restart it. Sarah put her hand on Ann’s arm, turned her head and looked at Ann with an expression on her face that told Ann she was lost for words. They continued to look at each other with an occasional turn of the head to see if Tom had opened his eyes again while they searched for words to explain what they both were feeling. After what seemed like forever but was in reality only a few seconds had passed, Sarah finally broke the silence. I wish Pastor Dan were here. I am sure he could help us understand. Then they leaned back in their chairs, closed their eyes and quietly continued to process Tom’s comment.
Ann looked up at the clock thinking that only a couple minutes had passed but found that they had been sitting there for almost 15 minutes not saying a word. Ann stood up and walked over to Tom who was still sleeping. Looking at him she quietly said; this is just like you to leave me wondering what you are talking about then added that is why I love you. You always have a bit of mystery about you. Just then Tom rolled over, smiled and asked Ann how long she had been there and then let his eyes close again.
What do you mean when you died replied a startled Ann? Tom’s eyes quickly reopened. Turning his head slightly he could see Ann staring at him with an expression on her face that had a mixture of disgust, love and bewilderment all rolled into one. One he knew probably too well. You are right here and you’re alive, Ann continued as she was fighting through her emotions that had been building up over the days since the accident. Ann then stood quietly looking at Tom still in total amazement at what she had heard while Tom had let his eyes slide shut again. It was so quiet in the room you could have heard a pin drop. Then Tom suddenly opened his eyes and looked at Ann with a look that made her wonder what was coming next and then he repeated the comment; I die twice Ann, I really did, it’s true. Ok, but how did you know that I was having a baby, Ann blurted out? How did you know? Did the doctors tell you? What do you mean you died twice? Ann was bouncing from thought to thought as she continued to fire out the questions when Tom squeezed her hand and said; I was there Ann. It really happened, replied Tom showing a little more energy than he had up to now. I was standing off to the side of the paramedic that was working on my injuries in the ambulance and watched him as he restarted my heart. Then it happened again when I was here in the emergency room. I could see everyone working on me and how they reacted when I died on the operating table. Everyone was scrambling and working to bring me back. I was there and could see everyone. They were working so fast they didn’t see me standing there watching them. It was like I didn’t exist. I tried to tell them it was ok but they could only see the body on the table. Then I walked down the hall and I could see you Ann and how you were hurting. I heard the doctor tell you that you would be ok as he gave you something that he said would help your pain. I stood outside your door thinking how nice it would be if you were with me because I had no pain and I could see that you were hurting. Then just as I started to walk into your room I was swept off as a bright light appeared and swept me up out of the hallway. Things were moving so fast. I must have been traveling at some warp speed because everything around me was nothing but a blur. Then there I was. It was beautiful. I could see people walking around. I just stood there for a while trying to take in everything around me. I had never seen anything like this before. I started to walk towards a small group of people that were standing and talking. They look so friendly as if they were inviting me to join them. Then I heard a voice call out my name. I turned around and could see someone that look familiar. Then I realized he look like a picture of my Grandfather I had once seen when he was younger. He called out my name again and that is when I knew it was really him. I recognized his voice even though I had never seen him look this young. We hugged each other and then we sat down and had a great talk. You remember me telling you how I much I loved him but how I always made fun of him behind his back for believing in God. I just didn’t get that God thing back then. I remembered telling him one day that everyone knows that evolution is true and that only time had made us into what we are. I remember the look on his face as he searched for words that could show me that I was wrong. All he could muster up that day was that the Bible tells us that God created us. I told him I was sorry for all that and he told me he forgave me a long time ago. He told me none of those things mater up there. He told me what Joe was trying to tell me was true, that God is real. That Jesus is real. That heaven is real. He even told me hell was real and he was really glad we weren’t there. He even knew that I had closed my eyes while we were at church with Joe and Sarah and I had accepted Jesus for who he is and that I had asked Him to come into my life and help me understand things better, to help me comprehend everything I was feeling, to help me become a better person and that I was sorry for all the crazy stupid things I had done, that I really wanted to completely trust Him but I needed help. Then someone walked up and grandpa introduced me to him and he welcomed me but told me I had to go back, that I still had some things to take care of, that I had to take care of you Ann and the baby. I asked if he could just bring you and the baby here. I told him I wanted to stay but he said it was not time yet. So I gave Grandpa a hug goodbye and he said he would be their waiting for me when I come back and to make sure you and our son make it up there also. He said he really looked forward to meeting both of you. I turned to ask one more time if I could stay and the next thing I knew, I was back in the operating room watching everyone work so hard to bring me back to life. I heard one of the doctors say; he’s back. I was no longer looking at myself. I was now back in my body. Then the next thing I remember is everyone standing around my bed singing. Ann I love you and I want to spend my life with you. I want you to marry me Ann. Will you? Ann’s smiled and took her hand to wipe away some of the tears that were dripping off her chin as she spoke a hard to understand yes. Tom’s smile told the story of his excitement when Ann’s said it again; Yes Tom yes! Ann leaned down and gave Tom a kiss and when she stood back up she said; we are having a boy!
Sarah had sat down it the chair in the corner of the room giving Ann and Tom some space. She was trying to take in everything she had heard Tom say. Ann was carefully hugging Tom and telling him how much she loved him and that she was so happy. A few minutes had passed when Sarah stood up and walked over to the bed and put her arm around Ann. Smiling she said, I knew it would be alright. I need to go call Joe and tell him what just happen. Sarah looked at Tom as she was turning to make her way to the door and Tom motioned for her to stop and come back. Sarah moved back next to the bed and Tom asked Sarah not to tell Joe everything other than the part about them getting married. I really need to tell this and a few other things to Joe myself. Ok, replied Sarah as she gave Tom a kiss on the forehead. You just need to get better as fast as you can. Ann and that baby need you healthy.
Sarah left the room and made her way down the hall, walked outside and pulled her phone from her purse and hit speed dial to call Joe. Joe’s phone rang and before long it picked up and said: I can’t take your call right now please leave a message. Hi Joe, this is Sarah and I really need to talk to you. Tom has been awake for a while and you won’t believe what just happened. Call me back as soon as you can.
Joe finished showering, got dressed and went out to get a cup of coffee. He walked over and sat down in his favorite chair, closed his eyes and drifted off to a quiet sleep.
Shortly after Sarah had left the message for Joe, Jill and Randy pulling into the parking lot and Greg and Sandy were right behind them. Sarah walked over towards the entrance and waited for them to join her. Jill smiled as Randy opened the door for them to head down to Tom’s room. Are you coming with us inquired Jill as she looked back to see Sarah lagging behind? No, replied Sarah. I just called Joe and I want to wait for him to call me back first. I will be down in a few minutes after you have had a chance to talk with Tom for a while. Ann is with him right now and is expecting you guys. Tom was awake a few minutes ago and I am sure he has lots to tell you guys. Sarah realized she was already saying more than she should and dismissed herself telling them she was going to get a cup of coffee while she waited for Joe to call her back.
Sarah drank her coffee and walked outside and sat back down on the bench under the tree still waiting for Joe to call back. She closed her eyes as she continued to recall what Tom had said and to process the idea that her good friend Ann was going to get married and was going to be a mom. The whole idea of Tom dying twice, watching as everyone was working on him and then coming back to life is incredible Sarah told herself. Sarah’s mind was racing from thought to thought and before long an hour had passed from when she had left the message on Joe’s phone. Joe was not calling back and he had not come back to the hospital either. Where are you Joe, Sarah sputtered to herself. Picking up her phone off the bench seat she hit redial as she mumbled the words; I guess I’ll have to try calling you again. Where are you anyway!
Joe jumped out of his chair startled by his phone ringing. He made his way to the table by the door, picked it up and could see it was Sarah. By the time he answered it she had already went to voice mail again. Sarah had begun to wonder if something had happened to Joe when her phone started to vibrate and she could see it was Joe calling her back even before she could leave another message. Swiping the answer icon on her phone a very energetic Sarah said; where have you been? What do you mean quickly replied Joe? I called you an hour ago and left you a message. Joe looked at his clock and could see that he must have slept in his chair longer than he realized. I’m so sorry Sarah. You must have called while I was in the shower and I must have fallen asleep in the chair and I didn’t wake up until my phone just rang. What is happening anyway? Is everything alright? You are not going to believe it Joe. Tom is doing better this morning and… Well he woke up after you left and talked to Ann and… Well you need to come back down here and Tom can tell you the whole story as Sarah took a deep breath. Ok, I’m on my way replied Joe as he closed his door behind him and made his way to his car. I will see you in about ten minutes.
Sarah was waiting for Joe in the parking lot when he pulled in. She walked over to where he was parking and as soon as he got out she threw her arms around him giving him a hug. Joe held Sarah tight as he quietly told her he was really sorry for falling asleep and missing her call. Do you mind if we go sit down for a few minutes added Joe and you can tell me what happened with Tom? Well Tom really wants to talk to you alone about something including what he told Ann and I. Oh it sounds like the mystery man Tom is coming back to life replied Joe with a smile as they began to walk away from his car.
Sarah and Joe walked back over to the bench that was under the tree that Ann and Sarah had been sitting the day before. Joe put his arm around Sarah and she leaned her head on his shoulder as she said; Joe, wait till you hear what Tom has to tell you. Well you got to tell me a little or I‘m going in there right now. They are getting married Joe. Tom asked Ann to marry him and she said yes. And there is more but Tom made me promise… Well he wants to talk to you about it and ask me not to say anything more than they were getting married and you can’t say anything to anyone else even about them getting married. He acted like there was more than even what he told Ann and I. Joe leaned his head back as he quietly was saying the words they are getting married over and over in his head as he was thinking how much he would like to ask Sarah the same marriage question. But he knew it was not the place or the time. I know how much I love her and really believe she feels the same. So what’s the risk? Joe’s mind was running at warp speed thinking about everything that had happened and how things we beginning to unfold when his mind shifted gears; are you sure you can’t tell me what Tom has on his mind? It would be good for me to be a little prepared for… Sarah reached over and put her finger on his lips and then leaned up and planted a kiss on Joe lips that stopped all thoughts about Tom. They both leaned back on the bench and looking up they could see the mother and father birds sitting on the branch next to the nest as the baby birds slept quietly.