Ramblings from the Cove...
By Lars Gren
As the six or seven year old lad, along with his friend, climbed a three flight of stairs to get another playmate. The six year old, after ringing a bell, perched himself on the stair railing. When the door opened, he meant to jump off the railing, but instead fell backwards into space and began the three floor fall to the mat lying on the terrazzo floor. I don’t believe he was alone on the descending path but that there were others there. Sixty five or so years after that event two of the three were together again and the one who had watched said, “How strange it was that as you fell you did not go straight down at a rapid pace but rather in slower see-saw pattern down to the mat.” For me it was fascinating to hear for I do believe the angels of old have not retired. That very fact became evident again to me on the afternoon of Tuesday 15th May.
We had laid careful plans and had warned friends that, “The Grens were on the road.” Joy Burch who had been with us for six months was returning to her family in East Texas so we figured a ten day road trip would be the way to do it with several one or two nights stays depending on the next day's travel distance. The previous night to leaving Joy had put everything out by the car and was about to load when I said, “Joy, we better have two cars all of this will never fit in one.” Her reply was, “No I have it all figured out” and she had. The trunk was full and the back seat was a good half full. Elisabeth's folded wheel chair which we use to speed up the comfort stops was standing between the seat and the drivers backrest. Elisabeth's walking is not good—at times it is sort of two steps and drag—so the chair comes in and out many times in a day.
Our first day of travel would be quite long from Magnolia to southern part of Delaware and so a 2 night stay was planned with the Griegs of Seaford, DE who some time ago had visited us for a day at The Cove. That weekend was Mother's day but the roads were not jammed the only exception being on the Jersey Turnpike where there was a bad wreck. Traffic came to a dead stop for some time while waiting for a helicopter transport for the injured.. But in time we arrived to enjoy dinner and visiting.
It was ten or so on the 15th that we said our goodbyes and headed off for Raleigh NC. I began the drive but after a after some time I switched with Joy. As we approached the bridge and tunnel I told Joy that I could take over and it might be easier for me since there no such crossings in Texas and there are signs to tell you to keep up speed. I think the crossing is about 9 miles. At some time after that I thought that we had better have a rest stop. On leaving I suggested Joy sit in the back with Elisabeth where she could give her a bit to drink and eat as we headed towards Smithfield, VA,where Glenda Revell lives. Some of you may know the name from the time Elisabeth had a radio program and had interviewed Glenda. The story of her abused childhood, Glenda's Story had also been publishes. We had not seen her for years and so had an hour or so to catch up on family and happenings. She is still the picture of grace and peace in the midst of her illnesses—self effacing as ever—only thinking of others.
As we left Joy was in the front seat but somewhere “down the line” I asked her to sit with Elisabeth. We were soon leaving the two lane roads for Interstate 95 and I was anxious to get on to our destination for next two day stay. I asked Joy for the distance that was yet to driven and she said about 45 miles. I had felt a creeping tiredness but felt alert enough for that short a time –the foolishness of man. Our friends the Adairs where I am now staying said that when they are on a trip he drives for an hour and then a quick stop for a stretch and a few steps to feel. Evidently Joy noticed something and said that I was drifting but I did not hear that but what I did hear and feel is that I was at the edge of the pavement. Rather than easing off on the gas and keeping the steering wheel set on course I over-corrected the wheel and felt the card head off to the right entering into a slide. With that I cut left and entered a spin which rolled the car. I heard glass shatter and felt glass pieces being embedded into the skull—at the hospital they used tweezers to get them out. As I listened to the metal scraping the pavement the slide went on and then it felt as though we were on a sandy patch then a final bump before all was still. I must have lost consciousness for a bit and then a man said cut the door off and let's get him out also secure him. At a point they listed what they thought the extent of injuries were—three breaks in the left arm, concussion, fractured ribs—in the background I could hear Joy saying, His wife is in the back and I help care for her—We are fine—I want to give this bag for him. She as one who is trained in these matters sounded as though she was part of the team. I told the men to let her come over I wanted to say something to her but it was “no” to that. She did say that she and Elisabeth were without problems and were being taken to Hampton hospital. I soon heard the helicopter and a man began putting questions to me—“ do you know where you are—where from—you have had an accident—Richmond has the two best trauma hospitals in VA we are going by helicopter—it was over and over –I recited from when we left home and even the stops along the way where we planned to be with friends.” In flight it was the same over again. Not until I was in ICU and getting looked over did the questions end. The crew did a superb job on all of it.
There is little memory of the first two days or portion of days that I spent in ICU but I don’t ever want to experience that again. When the staff asked me if I was allergic to any drugs I gave them the stock answer, “No, not so far.” Well little did I know.
The CAT-scans revealed a crack in a neck vertebra and a screw was inserted and packed with cadaver paste or some such which will harden. Hence I have a “stabilizing helmet” that I have to wear for three months. There were no breaks in the arm and the only other item was three ribs and that just takes time to heal. How long after the operations I do not know but at some point I awoke to find the the wall had become the floor with my bed now vertical and I plastered tightly against it. Then water began seeping in and I thought that I was at the Cove. Next water was coming down the walls. The wall and my bed returned to normal position yet the wall pictures fell on to the floor. I was in the panic needing to get out and see about things. I managed to move the leg and arm tubes to get my feet out onto the floor and disconnect some things before the attendants got to me with that dumb question, “What do you think that you are doing? I kept telling them what I was seeing and they kept saying that I was in ICU and had to stay in bed. Well I calmed down and found that if I closed my eyes and opened them again the wall would switch back and forth and thus I made it through the night with some sleep.
I believe it was the right after this that I had a call from Margaret Ashmore. It seemed providential for I had had another hallucination. She of course asked what it was and I told her in a short way that “I was in a room all alone. Perhaps a bit like a warehouse and there was no way out. I was afraid and all of a sudden I said to myself and in the dream I could plainly hear my own voice saying “this is hell. I am in Hell but there is no fire. Evil seemed to be all around me. The room itself was not a level floor but rather as I looked into the distance I could see that there was a grandual upgrade to it. The whole area seemed to be clothed in the dusk of evening. Along with this there were sticks standing on end, some in the form of a T, others as a printed F and they were swinging back ad forth in sort of a wild dance. I tried to go forward but wherever I moved they would be there keeping me from moving up the slope. Then I said who can get be out of this Hell? When I heard this I happened to look up toward the top of the slope and there was a little lightening of the area and to the right there seemed to be some presence there and I said, “God can.” Believing that He could get me out of Hell. Next I saw the cross which was empty. Then I called on the name of Jesus Christ. All of a sudden I heard myself singing, “All my life was wrecked by sin and strife, discord filled my soul with pain. Jesus swept the cross with broken strains stirred the slumbering chords again . Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know, keeps me singing as I go.”
Following that I heard myself quoting this portion of a verse “There is no other way under heaven and earth whereby man may be saved.” There were a couple of other things that have left my mind now. The fact that I could hear my voice and hear myself singing as well helped in overcoming the sense of evil. It also added to the sense of reality it was not just a dream. I have never questioned there is a Hell or Heaven but have always known that to be true since I have based that truth on the Bible. Perhaps this only brought into my mind the vividness of complete aloneness of one separated from God Himself and truth of the Cross.
Those two episodes happened while I was in ICU. The first night in the recovery room I had another episode where the room was turning around and I was trying to keep myself in a vertical bed. Evidently I made some noise and when I finally came to my senses there were four women there trying to get a hold of me telling me they were not trying to take me away. I had told them that there were evil things going on in this room. Since then I have slept well and suspect that the morphine that they gave me in ICU may have been the catalyst for my hallucinations. In one way I need not try to get the thoughts of the second one out of my mind for in it is the knowledge of faith and the only One who can bring us out of “a death” into life.
To go back to the beginning of whether or not there were “beings” on my three-flight fall in Norway there would come a resounding “yes” from me. Was the incident on the 15th of May with our crash similar that there were guardian angels along the path we took? I would say again, a resounding “yes”. From the very beginning there was some protection in that the back seat was fully packed with little space for two people so that during the flight of the car across the highway, Joy and Elisabeth were not jostled back and forth. We were on Interstate 95 and how rare is it to hear of a one car accident in the mid afternoon? I asked Joy who was around us on the road? She replied that an eighteen wheeler was behind us and a pick-up truck along side of it. Where the car ended up after having turned on its roof was only ten feet away from having hit a pole. All Elisabeth received was a bruise on her face and nothing at all happened to Joy. I was the only one who sustained injuries of which I am evermore grateful for. There is no doubt in my mind that God Himself was there with us in this unexpected ending of our trip. Thanks be to Him from whom all blessing flow. And that's it from the Cove with hopes that I will never have to send another Rambling of such an experience.
And that’s it from us. Hope to be back at the Cove soon.
God bless y'all,