Whirlwind is a poignant memoir of a turbulent, yet passionate marriage and family, drawn together in their strong bond with each other. Even in great tragedy and testing of faith- Linda's story of perseverance takes you through a life of colorful days; coming through tough times and good times. In this account, the author takes you on a transparent narration of real anecdotes, in telling her story. Hopefully sheading some light for anyone who needs a way to get above their own trials, and all those seemingly unending circumstances. The author shares her surrender of those past hurts which led her to a spiritual freedom. Linda shares about the truth that gave her the strength and courage, and a new understanding of her faith in God, and perseverance. Learning to trust in the Lord's purpose for life's journey. You don't have to be stuck in what has happened to you, but can walk through that whirlwind of circumstances to victory-
If you have felt as if you are in a pit, with no way out; there are lessons in this account to build your faith. Knowing that whether, you are in passage of abounding or abasing, it will be okay. You do have a purpose, and when you do look back at your life, you can see God's hand was on you.
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One Woman's TestimonyIn a Whirlwind of Circumstances
By Linda Lee Vidi
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Linda Lee Vidi
All right reserved.
Chapter OneHow Quickly Things Can Change
It has been almost two years since my husband's death, two years of not knowing what would be the ending of all this chaos; one obstacle after another. "I know you Lord, I trust you, but how much do you think I can take?" I knew he thought I could take what came my way. Had I not had a lifetime of chaos, often speaking of it as being on a roller coaster? Did I not get through what was an abusive marriage, having a husband who was so bogged down with his bondage, that his behavior permeated the whole family unit? Was I not always wanting it fixed? Did I not always sigh with relief after a major disruption in the household was abated? Thinking he is so sorry, everything will level out, and it will be okay. It was not okay. Yes, I had been through all that, but what now?
Joe's death was surreal. It was hard for us to believe he was gone. He had been such a strong man in structure, always commanding any room he entered. He was strong of body and strong of opinion. Whoever associated with him would certainly come away with what Joe knew as belief. Whether you loved him or hated him; thought him wicked or straight, there would be an affirmed impression made. This man, who had beat himself up with addiction; endured dialysis and kidney transplant surgery, and had come through every cumbersome dark place one would dare to be subjected to, had died.
How quick things can change in this natural world. What I thought was a direction in which we were going in would soon change dramatically to another. What was God taking me through? I was always enmeshed in life with Joe. Things, whatever they may be, depended on what was going on with him. A type A personality, always the ringmaster, a big project in the works, a side trip to the hospital, didn't deter Joe from, reaching for the gold ring.
In the last couple of years, my husband and our son had been traveling together on business trips. Joe and I had not traveled together in quite a long time. Over the span of our marriage we had both enjoyed many trips together. Three and a half months before his death, we were debating about a trip to Europe. We were invited to a wedding in Switzerland. The bride to be, a good friend of our son's wife, Zu, wanted our granddaughter to be the flower girl, and we were all invited: Chris, Zuzka, our granddaughter Nicole, Joe, and I. This was an event that I really wanted to attend. Not only was it going to be held in a Swiss castle, but our granddaughter, would be a flower girl. What a lovely couple. We had already met them the year before, and we were immediately taken by their charm.
I said, "Joe, let's make this trip to Switzerland, we may never get another chance to do this" not knowing how prophetic that statement was. Little did I know that it would be our last trip to Europe, but also one of my last joyous times with my husband.
This trip was ordained, as only God knew what was ahead for us. We enjoyed the ambiance of an Old World setting. We were, as I look back, looking forward to many trips like this. Now, we were older, born into God's kingdom, had four grandchildren, and had many a battle behind us. One would never imagine that this surreal occasion in a castle in Switzerland would be a memory of a "last courtship." Joe looked over the beautiful gardens, and wisteria covered arch, looked out over the lake with the sound of a foghorn adding to the romance of the setting, and said, "Lyn, we're going to bring the whole family back on a trip to Switzerland and Italy. Chris and his whole family: Zu, and both his daughters, Lauren and Nicole. I'd love to bring Jackie, Jorge, Ari, and Nick. You know Jackie would love Italy. Her Italian heritage would be right at home there. I'd love that— our whole family together." Joe added, "We will be financially able to from the projects that are in progress. Free to finance the kingdom of God. You know that's what we're called to do, to help our brothers and sisters. Our family wants to give to those financially in need." My response, "Of course, my heart is to do that." Since we were first born into the kingdom of our Lord and Savior, we had shared this desire. Hadn't every prophetic word spoken over us gone into detail, "I'm using you as a bridge, I'm going to use you as a channel and a funnel for blessing this house and ministry." Never did we doubt this. The Lord also said, "Son you aren't to run ahead of me. You are to stay quiet before me."
After time spent with the young married couple, our son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, Joe and I were to continue on alone traveling by train to Zurich. While on the train, we held hands, our heads so close to each other that we felt each other's breath. An old rush, a warm feeling of a time in our past, we were now flooded with a common memory. This train trip brought back and triggered a time in our past of a romantic excursion.
We were reminiscing, jointly remembering being in Paris the very day that President Reagan was shot back home in the United States. Learning this as we walked out of a Parisian restaurant, informed by another American of this state of affair, we spent a great deal of the evening listening to the news reports on the President's condition. The next day we boarded the Trans European Eurail. The train was going from Paris to Italy, but our first stop would be in Switzerland. When we were settled in the dining coach— I remembered how we looked at each other across our white clothed table. Enjoying every bit of a seven-course meal, so eloquently served by male waiters wearing white gloves, we were only interrupted by the serving of mineral water from the region. The first hour we spent just engrossed in each other's company. Now, we both looked out over the beautiful Swiss countryside and noticed a German Sheppard dog running next to the train as if he knew he could keep up with its mighty pace.
That night we would be in bed in a hotel in Montreaux, the French doors open to the balcony, our down coverlet pushed back. The warmth of our bodies elevated to the warmth of the room and the cool air coming in from Lake Geneva; we were in full passion, being completely satisfied, we lay back in the bed. Joe's arms wrapped around me, both of us having only the strength to look through the open French doors, seeing fog so heavy we couldn't even see Lake Geneva. The room now coming to a normal coolness,
"Joe, honey, pull the down duvet up, it fell on the floor",
Joe asked "Baby, are you happy? I love you so much," my answer, "Yes," and we fell into sleep.
We came out of our reminiscence realizing we had missed a stop on the rail to Zurich. We were now headed back to Konstanze, Germany, where we had come from, but we were still in a joyous mood. Taking it in stride, we laughed, took instructions in English, and dismounted from the train to get back on the right one headed for Zurich. We knew we had no time limit for getting there. After all, we were reliving a fun time in our lives and now looked forward to this time together with a few days to explore and buy some gifts to take home to the kids ... Not knowing I would be a widow in two and a half months.
Now, these thoughts of good times would give me pause, to think back on the puzzling feeling of joy and sadness at the same time, knowing that those good experiences would not be shared again with my husband, and any hope of more to come were over. We had just reached a time in life that I had hoped for; a restoration to enjoy children and grandchildren together. This would be a new direction for me.
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and time to die ... Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2
A reflection: that last summer with Joe—
After the wedding in Switzerland, Joe and I would spend a few days in Zurich, before going home. On those few days of sharing a small room, and stepping out to see the old part of the city, we had a very comfortable tete a'tete. We would go to a quaint sandwich shop that was immaculate, with its cases of meets and cheeses lined up meticulously. We picked out our lunch meat, cheese, and baguette to take back to our room— a nice way to relax and enjoy the end of our trip. That last summer together brought a consensus in our emotions. We watched some touching movies together—one of the most emotional being the "Notebook", with James Gardner. At the end of this love story, Joe had tears in his eyes— I did, too. It was unusual for him to show that kind of emotion for a movie. He was in tune with the care the character gave his wife with alzheimers disease, even though she didn't know who he was, most of the time—just fleeting moments of knowing that he was her husband. He read their life story to her every day out of a notebook. When he finished their life story, he laid down beside her in bed and they both closed their eyes and died peacefully. Maybe, Joe was at a time when he felt contrite about certain times in our life. Whatever, the emotion he was touched by the love story. He had a feeling of empathy for this man's love for his wife, telling me he would want to die with me just as the character did with his wife.
With Chris and Zustill in Europe, they went from Switzerland to Slovakia, to see Zu's family; Joe and I would spend a month alone doing a different routine. As I think back to this time of no pressure, and just some of the seemingly mundane activities of these days, my thoughts of taking our dog down on the beach, and letting her run back and forth between both of us, then taking her on our walk up the beach. Joe got great joy in his pet. It was a carefree time—I could easily long for the peace of that summer, no matter how simple the days were. We did ordinary things: watched some movies, grocery shopped together, and cleaned the bathroom lighting. We only crossed over the bridge from the island to go to church. Yes, I could really relish such simple tasks in front of me—
Carefree, beach side visits down to our beach, sitting out on our balcony, these were fun days. Most of the month we were alone in the condo, Jorge and Jackie and the kids came to see us a couple of times. I cooked a favorite dinner for us, and we all set around the large dinning room table, enjoying each others company. Joe brought out old pictures, and really had fun telling Jackie who everyone in the pictures were. He was reminiscent, looking at our family pictures. He then made an unusual statement to Jorge, "Jorge, I want you to take care of Jackie, and the family, help Chris with family business, and just watch out for mom and all the family." This sounded, almost as if he knew something was going to happen!
For the last five and a half months, Joe was walking two blocks away to a Catholic Church. His mother, Bernadette, was a strict Catholic, and he was raised to go to mass on Sunday. Now, Joe was going back to his roots. He said he felt better by starting his day in the little chapel. Every weekday morning at 7;45 a. m. he started his walk to the church. On Sundays we would go to our nondenominational church, where we had attended for fourteen years.
Some of the last things Joe did before his death were almost as if he did have a premonition of what was to come: Jackie and Jorge were on a trip, to Washington D.C, and the Smokie Mountains. Joe, just had to tell her he loved her very much, "You just have to know that." He called her on her cell phone to say that.
The night before he died, he told me how much he appreciated me, and he loved me. That same day, August 14th, we had gone to my Mothers grave site, her death was two years prior on the fourteenth. He reminded me of what she had said to him, two weeks before she died,
"Joe, I see you and I dancing with Jesus,"
Joe saying, "What did Mom mean by that?"
"I don't know," I answered.
On the day of the accident, Joe and Chris had started driving to their appointment, but Joe telling Chris to go back to the condo because he wanted to wait for Nicole to come home from school. In the driveway, he kissed Nicole and told her, "Goodbye, I love you." August 15th 2006
That was our last summer together—
Chapter TwoThat August Night
What happened on that August night was to affect all of us. Not only was it a terrible car accident, but Chris, our son, was driving his father. The trauma of seeing his dad die beside him in the passenger seat absolutely devastated him. Adding to this, at the scene the police officers that responded did not know that a semi-truck had pulled out in front of them, causing the accident. However, an off-duty officer who had passed on the other side of the overpass, did see the truck. The trucker stopped then took off and left the scene of the accident. Not pursued in a timely fashion, the trucker was gone. Not seeing the truck, the head officer did not believe there was another party involved. She started by separating Chris from his father; his blood drawn at the scene of the accident. On the side of the road, Chris called Zu and me, "Mom, Zu, we have had a horrible accident. I think dad is in cardiac arrest. Please! Come right now, hurry!" He called back, "Zu, Mom they sent the helicopter away and used an ambulance instead—go straight to the hospital." At the hospital we waited anxiously, almost a half-hour for a few mile trip that should have taken only 10 minutes for the ambulance to arrive. When the ambulance did pull up, a nurse came out of the emergency entry side door. I immediately started up to the stretcher, seeing Joe, eyes closed and still. The nurse stopped me in my tracks saying, "You can't go near him. Stay aside and go into the the waiting room." Now adrenalin was pumping in me, excitedly I said, "This is my husband and he needs me, why can't I come to his side?" "You can't! Go to the emergency waiting room and someone will get you," she said.
We went into the waiting room and joined in a prayer. It seemed so long, but I was finally called to the Emergency Room admitting desk, I said, "Please my husband is a kidney transplant patient, he has to be sent to Jackson Memorial Hospital. "Mam, just fill out these papers," was all, the receptionist said to me. I didn't really think Joe was gone. It all seemed surreal to me. The administrator at the desk sent my daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and me to a side room. The doctor and an assistant came in to give us the news of his death. A friend arrived to be with us just as we had been told, and officers came into the hospital with Chris. As his worst thoughts were confirmed, he sobbed, "No, no! I was driving the car my dad died in. Where is my Dad? Let me see him. Oh, Jesus! No!"
After going in with my son, we were now viewing Joe's body and sheading tears. Chris so overwhelmed with grief that we were taken out to the car. A very compassionate police officer from the scene was consoling Chris, "It will be alright. Go home with your wife, child, and mom, you all need each other. Get some rest and here is my card, I know you are hurting."
Greeted at home by close friends, we started a long night. We had dear friends consoling us and praying for us. Chris, his heart broken because he was close with his father, made this tragedy even more traumatic.
* * *
The dawn was breaking, and my eyes were blurred with a film. I awoke to the thought, "where am I?" and "what is the order of the day?" Now, this new journey had started. Before I touched my feet on the floor, I already feel the fluctuations of emotion. "Am I, the victor or the victim?" The fear of circumstance and uncertain thoughts were now put to the test of releasing the burden to trusting. I call out, "Jesus." Has he not brought me through other depths of despair? No need to run with deceptive thoughts, my faith is what I draw from, for my destiny is determined. Oh, but couldn't I just wake up and find all this was a dream? No, it wasn't a dream. Soon, it would become a nightmare. It would take all the strength I could muster up from my faith, for a season in my life that would throw many curves my way, had begun.
Now, our daughter and her family had been summoned home from a vacation, just two and a half weeks ago, Joe and I sat in her home. "Dad, why don't you and Mom come with Jorge, me and your grandchildren on this trip?" she asked. Jorge said, "Dad, we've rented a great motor home, brand new with plenty of room. It's going to be educational for the kids, and we are going to see part of your family." Joe, excited for them joined in with maps, planning the roads to take and directing all the scenic stops along the way. Joe chimed in saying, "You know Jorge, I never traveled before I met Mom, but she taught me about traveling for fun." I joined in, Jackie, "the Kids are going to love the Smokey Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway, just like you and Chris did." Joe answered, "I'd love to go, but I have to go to New York in a week, but you could take mom and I might be able to join you later." I didn't go, and Joe didn't either. Instead, I was summoned to the hospital where my husband was pronounced dead on arrival. I couldn't help thinking, if we had only gone on that trip, this terrible accident would not have happened.
Jackie, Jorge, and the grandchildren drove straight home and came to the condo to gather with our family. This was a tedious and painful occasion. Chris so wrenched in pain that his plea to his sister had been, "Please, Jackie come home now, our Dad is dead. I've killed my Dad! I was driving and now he is gone! Jackie, Dad and I had a meeting. Afterward, we stopped to eat and had some drinks. If I didn't stop for that, Dad would still be here. I was driving and he is gone! I need you home!" When she arrived the morning after the accident, her first words were to her brother, "Chris, it will be alright, you cannot blame yourself like this. We're all here with you, and for you, Mom, Zu, all of us are not blaming you—Chris know that!"
Excerpted from One Woman's Testimony by Linda Lee Vidi Copyright © 2012 by Linda Lee Vidi. 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
1 - How Quickly Things Can Change....................1
2 - That August Night....................9
3 - No Time to Grieve....................13
4 - When Everything Changes....................20
5 - Hard Pressed....................29
6 - The Call....................38
7 - The Miracle — June 2007....................45
8 - The Mind-Trailing Moments — life with Joe — the early years....................58
9 - Released Into the Mission....................111
10 - Sequestered with the Father....................124
11 - A Trailing Moment — Life as it was in the condo—....................133
12 - Another Trip to Court — Everything at Once....................144
13 - Multi Tasking....................158
14 - A God Thing. The IRS Miracle....................165
15 - Court—Court—Court....................175
16 - The Final Decision — A Triage....................183
17 - Created For a Purpose....................205
18 - Codependent—Original Family....................210