Hanging on by a thread, is a short story written describing the difficult time Anita and her family went through in 2008; a year of heartbreaking lose and struggle.
God is the only one that can truly heal the brokenhearted. Her prayer is that someone will understand that tragedy doesn't have to be the final chapter of their life, and that healing and feeling normal again, is possible, but you must believe.
Her son, Quinton, gave her a plaque as a Christmas gift the previous year before he died; the plaque included an inspirational phrase, but at the top of the phrase it says, "Believe."
Little did she know, how much that word, "Believe" would help her!!
|Product dimensions:||8.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.14(d)|
About the Author
Anita is currently a homemaker who loves to help people in practical ways, and she enjoys writing poetry. She is happily marriedalmost twenty yearsand views God and family as top priorities in her life. Anita and her family currently reside in the sunny state of Arizona.
Read an Excerpt
Hanging On by a Thread
By Anita Harraway
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2016 Anita Harraway
All rights reserved.
Today was a day like any other day. I was sleeping in late since I had to work the late shift. I was awakened by a phone call; it was a friend of my youngest son. He asked, "Is this Quinton's mom?"
I said yes. A moment later, I was speaking to a paramedic who told me that my son had collapsed. He thought that Quinton had suffered a seizure. The paramedic asked me a few more questions and then told me they were going to transport him to the hospital. I hung up the phone and called my husband and my other son, Keith; Quinton's biological father was also contacted. I got dressed as soon as I could and out the door I went.
Before I go any further, I would like to tell you a little about Quinton. When Quinton was born, I really hadn't settled on a name for him. After I gave birth to him, I remember the hospital giving me a book of names. I looked through it and saw Quinton. The meaning of Quinton is "fifth." (I am sure there are other definitions, but this is the one that was listed.) His brother, Keith, was five years old. I decided that Quinton would be a good name, as he was born five years after his brother. (It seemed logical at the time.) I can honestly say that name suited him well.
At this particular time, Quinton was eighteen years old. It was the end of January 2008, and he was to graduate from high school in May. Quinton was pretty conscientious about his schoolwork, and most of his time, he received good grades. He was on the honor roll quite a few times from elementary to high school. He was naturally smart and enjoyed reading and sports; he played basketball, competed in track, and also played soccer in his younger years. Quinton also enjoyed music, a gift I believe he inherited from his biological father. He learned to play the piano from one of his best friends. We purchased a keyboard for him to sharpen his skills; we listen to a particular song that he programmed in his keyboard sometimes for inspiration and healing. Another important thing I want to mention is that Quinton was a Christian and enjoyed singing in the church choir.
Quinton was pretty ambitious; he liked to keep busy most of the time. Just like any other young person, he had his issues, better known as growing pains. One of the house rules was that before the kids went to school, they were to straighten up their rooms and eat breakfast. Most of the time, he would try to sneak out of the house without doing either. Quinton was thin in stature, and because he was involved in sports, I was very concerned when he would sneak out of the house without breakfast. Of course, he would tell me later he would just buy breakfast at school.
Sometimes Quinton would want something sweet, and he wasn't too cool to get in the kitchen and bake something. He made oatmeal cake a few times. (All I can say is the cake was thick, and it did taste like oatmeal.)
Even though his room was never clean (well, not up to my standards), somehow he seemed to get away with it by sneaking out of the house so he could get to school a little earlier than expected.
Quinton really enjoyed Christmas, just as I do; it was one of his favorite holidays. I loved to see him get excited when that time of year came around. Even as the boys got older, we all tried to pick out a tree together. We tried to keep the traditions alive. When we would go Christmas shopping together, Quinton would watch and see what items in the store I would say I really liked. That's how he would figure out what he was going to get me. (Pretty smart, huh?)
A few weeks before Quinton collapsed, we were sitting at the computer, getting him ready for college. We were trying to figure out what section of the campus his dorms were in. That was an exciting time for both of us; he was really excited about attending college.
On the day he collapsed at school, Quinton was running track. Unfortunately, the worst thing possible happened: my son had suffered a massive heart attack. I drove to the hospital as fast as I could. When I arrived at the Banner Good Samaritan Hospital, my family and I were in a private waiting room, and the doctors were informing us the best they could. It was all so overwhelming!
I eventually left the room and stood on the corner of the hallway outside the waiting room just to get some air. As I stood there, numb, I noticed a hospital employee standing to the right of me, not too far away. The employee eventually came up to me and gave me a neatly folded blue sheet. I don't remember him saying anything besides, "Here you go." I held on to that blue sheet the entire time I was there at the hospital. Somehow it gave me a little bit of comfort.
After Quinton was transported to the hospital, he had two operations back to back. Our family was finally able to see him four or five hours later; he looked like a different person. His whole body was all puffed up and swollen. The doctors told us if he made it through the night, they would be able to transfer him to the Mayo Clinic. They also said he would be eligible for a heart transplant. All I remember is being in shock that night at the hospital. I cried and cried and prayed our son would not be taken from us. It was almost like I felt the pain my son was going through. I have never felt pain like that before. I am very thankful for the support of family and friends and all the prayers.
Thank God, Quinton survived through the night and was stable enough to be moved to a different hospital the next day. Some of my family members arrived at the hospital to show much-needed support. Today we learned that Quinton suffered from a congenital heart disorder. The clinical term is congenital coronary artery anomalies.
Quinton continues his fight, and we continue to pray. Incisions were made in both legs to remove pressure. Another procedure was done to remove blood clots from around the heart. After the procedures were done, Keith, Quinton's brother, brought Quinton's iPod to make sure Quinton could listen to some of his favorite tunes. We all continue to talk to him and also rub his hands and forehead.
As each day goes by, we all continue to trust God for a miracle. I purchased a journal in order to record all that Quinton was going through. (The journal was for Quinton to keep and read once he was able to.)
At that time, I had been a Christian for over twelve years and had seen and heard many testimonies regarding the healing power of God. I and other family members believed for his full recovery. I remember how much I trusted God to heal Quinton and bring him through this very difficult time. My faith was strong, even when the doctors would come in and tell us things we didn't want to hear. I am so grateful for the strength that God gave me and my family through this difficult time. Even though my faith was strong, my mind warred against me (which is normal, especially when Quinton was faced with a new challenge in his body).
Our son was in for the fight of his life, and as his mother, if I didn't believe with my whole heart for God to heal him, I would have failed him. I don't remember which day we finally went home for the night to rest in our bed, but when my husband and I finally went home, I wrote down some Scriptures and affirmations to focus on and to keep our faith strong:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
— Proverbs 3:5 NIV
With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.
— Psalm 91:16 NIV
I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and Earth. He will not let your foot slip; he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you; the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm; he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore. — Psalm 121:1-8 NIV
The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foe attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord. Hear my voice when I call, O Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, Seek his face! Your face, Lord, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior. Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.
Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence. I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. — Psalms 27:1-14 NIV
I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
— Psalms 118:17 NIV
"No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me," declares the Lord.
— Isaiah 54:17 NIV
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
— Isaiah 53:5 NIV
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
— Isaiah 41:10 NIV
I remember while at the hospital, (at this point, we had been at the hospital about four days) I visualized myself kneeling before God in heaven, and even though my son Quinton was pretty tall, I visualized myself holding him in my arms like a small child. I was holding him up to the Lord and saying, "Your will be done." That was one of the hardest things I had to do. I know now that when someone leaves us, it could be his or her time to leave this earth or maybe they're ready to go. (Nobody knows.)
The Bible says, "God's ways are not our ways." He knows the beginning from the end! He knows all. Even though I gave the situation over to God, I still said to God, "Just please don't decide to take my son from me. I will do anything you say, just don't take my son from me." But in my heart, I knew God knew best and God already knew how this terrible situation was going to turn out. This was a tug-of-war on my heart!
I was feeling so much anguish; I asked God, "What else can I do besides pray?" and He impressed upon both my husband and I that we should go on a fast. We did not fast from eating food; we were too weak to do that. Our fast consisted of vegetables and liquids.
Today, the doctor mentioned Quinton's heart was working better. We were extremely happy for this good news. The nurse was also using a nerve stimulator on Quinton today. The neurologist let us know that Quinton's brain had some swelling. Quinton's biological father was sitting with him and told me and my husband that while he was holding Quinton's hand, Quinton moved his hand a little bit and also opened his eyes. Amazing!
While visiting Quinton today, we witnessed his eyes opening and him responding to noise. He also responded when his hands were held. On one occasion, Virgil witnessed Quinton's eyes open all the way. I didn't see it at the time; I must have been looking down. We were very happy, and when I finally looked at Quinton after Virgil mentioned his eyes were open, he was looking directly at me and blinked. Hope welled up inside of me! This was a very exciting day for us. It seemed Quinton was making progress, and that was encouraging.
My husband and I purchased a plant for Quinton to place in his room for him to see once he was released from the hospital. For me, the plant represented life. I believed Quinton would fully recover.
We continued to read and play music for Quinton. As I was talking to Quinton, I asked him if he could hear me, and if so to open his eyes for me. His body started twitching, and he eventually opened his eyes.
Today the nurse mentioned to us that Quinton had coughed before we came in to visit him. During that same visit, Quinton looked like he was coughing, and I asked the nurse what was happening. She said he was coughing, and that coughing was a good thing. Friends and family continued to show support and pray for Quinton's full recovery. My sister was there that day to visit Quinton. She mentioned how she stood at the foot of his bed, and Quinton opened his eyes and looked directly at her. She was amazed that this happened, and I was very happy to hear it too. When a loved one is hanging on to life, any movement is a sign of hope.
I remember on this particular day, Quinton was really looking good. Quinton's right hand moved, and he picked it up. It almost seemed as if he was trying to talk.
The internal medicine doctor said they are going to start Quinton on liquid food because his stomach was working; wow, that was good news. I felt our prayers were getting through and that we were seeing slow progress. All progress is a miracle to us. Both my husband and I had a dream of Quinton today, which I will explain later.
We continue to believe for progress.
Day 10: February 9, 2008
Quinton really looked good this day. He had been dealing with tremors frequently, and this day he seemed to have settled down a little. My husband and I were visiting during the evening hours. It was a little before eight o'clock, and we said our good-byes to Quinton for a little while; we were going to go downstairs and get some dinner. We were gone from his room around forty minutes or so, and when we finished dinner we went to sit in the hospital lobby. As we were sitting there, a doctor swiftly approached us and said, "Your son is leaving us — you need to come now!"
We got up and took that indescribable, awful trip up the elevator to be with Quinton. Quinton was gone before we got there. Shock and disbelief started to set in at that point. I felt numb! This may sound strange, but I don't remember crying at all when we entered Quinton's room and I saw him lying there, gone!
Shortly after his passing, the doctor told us that the neurologist would have to do a brain scan to make sure there was no more brain activity. My husband and I were present and also Quinton's biological father. The brain scan was done on him, and there was no brain activity — a confirmation that he was really gone.
I believed with everything within me that my son would live. I was lost, in shock, and numb. I remember yelling about something the neurologist said about his temperature — I don't remember the details, but I started to feel those erratic emotions rising inside of me. My husband and I didn't stay in the room very long with Quinton, but we returned to the quiet, enclosed waiting room where we were sleeping in at the hospital. I don't remembering crying at this point, just feeling numb and lifeless.
My husband and I went back to Quinton's room a while later. I'm not sure how much time had passed. As we walked down that hallway to Quinton's room, it was a slow, dreary walk to see Quinton. The walk seemed a lot longer than it was. We reached Quinton's room, and I remembered being upset with him since I had told him daily to keep hanging on. The pain hit me all at once, and I was completely doubled over in pain and grief; our son was gone, and there was nothing I could do. I didn't have a choice but to say good-bye.
When we returned home, I remember standing next to my bed and saying to the Lord, "You are a healer, and I really need you to heal me." I had faith He would heal me even though I did not know how He was going to take away the worst pain I had ever felt in my life!
I have been a Christian for a while, and I knew God would be faithful and heal me and my family. Again, I will say I didn't know how God was going to heal me, but I knew He would be faithful to me once again. I also wanted confirmation that my son was really in heaven. Even though I already had one confirmation, I needed to know for sure. So I asked God for another confirmation that Quinton was really in heaven.
Excerpted from Hanging On by a Thread by Anita Harraway. Copyright © 2016 Anita Harraway. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Quinton's Story, 1,
The Comfort of a Blanket, 10,
Chapter 2 The Three Dreams, 11,
Chapter 3 The Grief Process, 14,
God's Decision, 24,
Who Will Listen?, 26,
Chapter 4 Just a Little Bit More about Quinton, 27,
There's Only One, 31,
When I See You, 32,
A New Beginning, 33,
"The Father" I Married, 36,
The Gift of a Memory, 37,
About the Author, 39,