Please keep Andrea's mother, Barbara Kessel in your prayers. She had a stroke this morning, Sunday, 5/17. Unless something miraculous happens, we fear the worst. Following is a blog that describes a little about the situation. Thanks for caring.
Andrea and I were planning the day Sunday morning, figuring out what to do with the kids. She’d been to a treatment for Reagan and Kaitlyn in Phoenix on Saturday so it was a rare Sunday together and I was hoping we’d get to the final service at church.
The phone rang.
Not unusual. Except she went outside and seemed to be talking with someone she knew well. “I didn’t recognize the number,” she said to the person on the other end.
The kids sat down on the couch with me and we were throwing the Nerf ball around. Since I had misplaced my copy of Microsoft Office, I was excited that Best Buy had a great sale. I could save $50!
“Mom’s crying,” one of the kids said.I stood and headed to the door, but she came in, her face contorted, tears flowing.
“Who was it?” I said. “What’s wrong?”
“She’s had a stroke. Mom had a stroke.”
My heart sank. Her mom and dad live in Naples, Florida, alone. The emotion was raw as Andrea recalled her last conversation, the plans she had for a trip there in the summer, and all of the things that flooded her memory.
We called other family and told them. The doctors didn’t hold out much hope. I called her brother who lives in Denver and caught him at the gate getting onto the plane. He’s a pilot for American Airlines and would get to Naples in the early afternoon our time.
"You prepare all your life for this and there's just no way to prepare," he said.
We searched flights from Tucson but came up empty. As the day wore on, the flight costs rose. Finally, I found one out of Phoenix that will get her there at about 9:30 local time in Fort Myers.
We drove to Phoenix late Sunday night with two of the kids and our thoughts. Barbara Kessel is a beautiful woman. She was about the same age as Andrea is now when I first met her. Tall and lean, always a good tan, dark, Italian features, and a killer smile. She was always so interested in me and anything I was doing. She had read my latest book, June Bug, and had called Andrea to tell her how much she liked it. I think she was my biggest fan.
We’ll know more from the tests run Sunday night and Monday, but things don’t look good for the long term.
When I left Andrea in Phoenix, she lingered at the side of the road there at the terminal, watching us pull away. Almost caught in two worlds. The one she knew she had to step into and the one she was leaving behind. I assured her we’d be all right until she returned. No one takes care of the children like she does. No one is quite the bulldog she is. She is so much like her mother.
And I think I'm her biggest fan.
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