Thick white fog, headlights coming straight-on, and a violent car accident. A devoted father, Lucas confronts what parents fear most as he clutches his daughter’s hand in the hospital. The doctors say she has severe head trauma and there is little hope. Her fate will be decided in the next twenty-four hours.
Lucas is forced to wait, but he doesn’t give up hope. He talks to his daughter, fighting to break through, and what unfolds is his story of love, his dreams, and the struggles he endured keeping his family together.
A striking glimpse into midcentury farm life near the small town of Alexandria in Ontario Canada, discover that no path is simple. Choices are hard, and Lucas must decide between realizing his dreams and fighting to keep his family together.
Told through his daughter’s eye, this biography is a true story of family, faith, and purpose, set in 1950s Canada up to today. Lucas’ legacy is one we all can learn from and cherish.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Path of Lucas
The Journey He Endured
By Susanne Bellefeuille
Balboa PressCopyright © 2015 Susanne Bellefeuille
All rights reserved.
Lucy wraps up the day and says goodbye to her associates. She is heading from her city of Kingston, Ontario to her hometown of Alexandria for the weekend, to see her father. She visits her dad one weekend a month as she enjoys being with him and is very devoted to him. She also loves to visit her childhood town as it makes her feel more closely connected with nature and family. It is in the country, about an hour away from Ottawa, and when she was growing up, it was very small, with only 1,000 inhabitants. Lucy makes a quick call to Mark, her husband. She tells him not to work too hard, to have a wonderful weekend, and that she will see him on Sunday night. As she leaves her office, she notices that her secretary, Wendy, is still at her desk.
"See you on Monday morning," she says to Wendy.
"Enjoy your weekend with your dad," Wendy replies with a smile.
Leaving the parking lot, she feels tired and decides on a coffee before she starts her two-hour journey to her dad's house. She stops at the nearest coffee shop for a caffeine jolt and for her dad's favorite donuts. The liquid instantly warms her chest and kicks her into gear as she heads out on the highway. About an hour into her drive, thick white fog starts rolling in, affecting her visibility; Lucy reduces her speed to be safe. Out of nowhere, she sees headlights coming straight at her. She tries to avoid a head-on collision as the other vehicle swings toward her lane. Instinctively, she quickly veers to the right, her car swerves from side to side, panic creeps in as she is unable to bring it back; Lucy loses control of the car. At that moment, everything around her begins moving in slow motion: images of her family flash like a picture show in her mind as she heads right for the electrical pole. Within seconds, the car slams head-on into the pole, deafening sounds of bent metal and shattering glass fills her with dread. The airbag deploys, knocking the wind out of her as it hits her square in the face. Her head crashes into the headrest, jerking her neck hard with the impact; she loses consciousness. The other vehicle, stops for a split second, and drives away.
Several minutes later, a man driving by notices car lights in the ditch against the pole. He stops and calls 911 and then proceeds toward the car. He fears what he might find as he rushes to help. He observes an unconsciousness woman; unresponsive to his comforting attempts. He stays with her while he waits for help. An ambulance, two police cars, and fire trucks rush to the scene. Sounds of sirens fill the air as flashing lights come into view. Within minutes the paramedics are at the scene to help the victim. The policemen redirect traffic, as the firemen pull Lucy from the mangled vehicle that is keeping her captive. After about ten minutes of painstaking care, the fireman is able to free her from the wreckage. The paramedics instantly take over and work tirelessly to keep her alive, while the police are questioning the man who found her. They investigate the crime scene, verify her license plate, and check the vehicle to identify the victim. The paramedics strap her into the gurney and in one swift movement load it into the ambulance. They rush her to emergency with police in tow ready to meet with the next of kin.
At the hospital, a policeman takes the information to the nurses' station to call Lucy's husband. The nurse dials the number and listens as the phone rings, but there is no response at home. Lucy's husband, Mark, is working late on a huge court case. He is a defense lawyer and has to finish putting together his case before court on Monday morning. The paramedics roll Lucy into the emergency room as directed, the nurses rush to get the room ready for her, doctors charge in; everything is hurried. They transfer her onto a hospital gurney and check for vital signs; a faint pulse gives hope even though she is unresponsive. Nurses carry out the orders from the doctors, connecting her to intravenous and an electrocardiograph to monitor her heartbeat. There is very little hope, but Lucy still clings to life. Doctors order an MRI scan right away because of head trauma from the collision. They know that Lucy is in a comatose state and that there is swelling around her brain from the severe impact.
As they prepare her for the MRI, there is a call from Mark, and the nurse tells him what happened. Disbelief leads to absolute fear as his heart rips free of his chest. With no time to spare, he hangs up the phone and dashes out of the office to his vehicle. The General Hospital, which is located about an hour and a half away from his work, seems unbearably far. Unwanted images cross his mind's eye as he makes his way to her; tears streaming down his face. He needs to focus and tries to shake the sadness from his heart with no avail. Mark calls his father-in-law, Lucas, on Bluetooth, the phone rings but there is no answer. Lucas must be off doing errands, thinks Mark as he pushes the switch to hang up the phone. Lucas doesn't have an answering machine but he does have call display, so Mark knows he will call back shortly.
Still in shock, Mark's sadness amplifies as he thinks about Lucy's four children from her previous marriage. She is an extremely fulfilled mother and grandmother; her family is her life. How will I break the news to them? He thinks. They are such a close-knit family. Anxiety fills him as he phones Danny, the eldest with the devastating news of his mother's condition. He hears Danny cry at the end of the line, his heart breaks for him and his wife, Emily.
"Emily and I are going to call Ryan, Dwayne and Johnny. You're closest to the hospital and so just go be with Mom, we'll be there as soon as we can."
"Ok Danny, I'm almost there," replies Mark.
After Danny makes the calls, all of her children head to the hospital, distressed and shocked at what has happened to their mom.
Mark is about ten minutes away from the hospital when Lucas returns his earlier call.
"Hello," answers Mark.
"Hi, Mark. How are you doing? Lucy has not arrived yet, but she should pull in anytime," Lucas informs him. "Do you want Lucy to call you back when she comes in? I ordered her favorite supper, and everything is set on the table for her to eat when she comes in," Lucas says with excitement in his voice.
"No! No! Lucas, please listen to me," he responds with a quivering voice.
Lucas suddenly recognizes the distress in Mark's voice.
"What is it, Mark? Is Lucy sick or something?" he says in confusion.
Mark's heart just shatters. "There is more to it than that, Lucas." The tears are rolling down his face as he tries to find the directions to the hospital and realizing there is no easy way to tell a man his daughter is in critical condition.
"What is it? What is going on?"
"Lucas, Lucy had a horrendous car accident, and she's in a coma at the General Hospital. I am heading there right now; I should be there in about five minutes. I also called the boys, and they are heading to the hospital as soon as they can."
Terror grips him, as he cries, "No! No! Not my little girl." Realizing the urgency of the situation, he composes himself as best he can. "I am heading to the hospital right now."
"Okay, I'm just arriving; I will see you in a little while. Bye, Lucas, and please, drive carefully."
"I will. Good-bye, Mark."
Lucas rushes out, leaving everything behind. Driving to the hospital, he can't stop thinking of his little girl. This cant be happening, he thinks. His mind is racing. What if? He fears for the worst. He shakes his head. No, I cannot think like that. He tries to convince himself that everything will be all right.
Mark parks his car and hurries to the emergency doors. He runs in and dashes to the nurses' station.
"Can I help you?" asks the nurse.
"Yes, can you tell me where Lucy Ferguson is? I'm Mark Ferguson, her husband. She was in a car accident and was transported to this hospital."
"Oh, yes! She was sent to the second floor for an MRI, and she should be back shortly in the ICU. You can wait in the room to your right, and a doctor will come and see you as soon as they have further information," answers the nurse.
Mark says, "How long do you think it will take?" Mark is feeling increasingly tense; he paces back and forth impatiently.
"Sorry, sir, I don't know. But if you want, I can get you a cup of coffee or something to drink," replies the nurse.
"No, no!" Mark retorts. "Sorry, I am feeling stressed out," he apologizes. "No coffee, thanks."
As Mark is making his apology, the nurse notices other nurses taking Lucy to the ICU room. She tells Mark to follow them. He looks toward his right and sees Lucy on a gurney being wheeled into the room. He stumbles and loses his breath as the doctor approaches him.
"Are you Mark Ferguson?" asks the doctor.
"Yes!" he replies.
"Hi, I am Dr. Wright, the neurologist," he says as they shake hands. "I was assigned to assist with your wife's traumatic brain injury. Lucy is in a coma. She just came from having an MRI, and it shows severe swelling around her brain. She has a serious head injury from the impact of the accident, and the next twenty-four hours will be critical."
"How severe is her injury? Will she be paralyzed?"
"Until she wakes up from her coma, we won't know the extent of her injury. We need to see the swelling go down before we can give you more information. You can go see her right now," replies Dr. Wright as he pats Mark on the shoulder.
Numb, Mark tries to pull himself together as he walks into his wife's room. The beeping of the heart monitor, the wires connecting her to machines, instantly as he sees her, an overwhelming sorrow replaces his numbness. He walks toward the bed and stands there for a few seconds as he takes a deep breath. He reaches for her hand and clutches it tightly. Why is this happening to an incredible person like Lucy? He ponders as his thoughts ramble. He lifts her arm toward him and kisses her hand several times; he's overwhelmed with emotion and breaks down.
When Lucas arrives at the hospital, he gets out of his car and storms in. He runs through the emergency doors and rushes to the nurses' station.
"I am looking for Lucy Ferguson; she was in a car accident. I am her father," says Lucas as his heart races.
"Lucy is in ICU, the door to your right, sir," replies the nurse. "Her husband is with her."
"Thank you," he gasps as he tries to catch his breath.
"Are you okay, sir?"
"I've seen better days!" he replies as he rushes for the door to his right.
Lucas makes a sudden stop with his hand outstretched; he stares at the door and tries to control his breathing. He slowly opens the door, not knowing what to expect. His daughter is lying on the bed, motionless. Lucas stands there in shock and disbelief at the sight of his baby girl.
"Hi, Lucas," says Mark with a trembling voice. His eyes are red from crying.
Lucas goes to Mark and gives him a firm hug, trying to comfort him. Lucas is lost for words as he reaches for his daughter's hand. He just stares at her, overlooking the wires and machines and remembers his little girl. She has so much inspiration and love to give to the world. Mark reiterates to Lucas what the doctor told him about the next twenty-four hours. Lucas brushes her hair back and kisses her forehead, then sits by her side; with tears brimming in his eyes, he doesn't let go of her hand.
A nurse comes in and tends to Lucy's intravenous and monitors her heartbeat. She informs Mark that he needs to go to the nurses' station to sign some paperwork and that the police have new information regarding Lucy's accident. Mark nods, pats Lucas on the shoulder and makes his way out.
"See you shortly."
"Yes," replies Lucas softly, never taking his eyes off Lucy.
Mark leaves the room with the nurse.
Lucas clears his throat. "I love you so much, Lucy. Please wake up for me. I can't go through this again."
Lucy lies motionless as Lucas begs her to wake up. Past sorrow creeps in as he stares at his beautiful daughter.
"I will stay here as long as you need me, except you have to promise me you will wake up for your incredible children, grandchildren, and husband — but most of all for me." Bargaining with her is futile as she continues to lie still and silent.
"Lucy ... can you hear me? I know you can hear me. I will talk to you all night long if I have to. I will do whatever it takes. I want you with us because your children and husband need you. Most of all, I refuse to go through this pain all over again." Lucas bows his head, trying to shake the past from his thoughts.
"Lucy! Oh Lucy! You know that I had a wondrous childhood. My parents were amazing to me. But when I was a young man, after I met your mom, my life did not turn out the way I had anticipated," expresses Lucas as he gazes back at Lucy.
He sees past her bruised and broken body, to her mother's beauty so clearly present in her features. He starts to envision himself as a young man as he recounts the story of the day he met his stunning wife, to his precious little girl while she lies there silently.CHAPTER 2
In the midst of a late summer afternoon in 1956, as the sun sets on a hot day, seventeen-year-old Lucas is proudly washing his first set of wheels. He is so proud of his 1949 red, two-door, Studebaker. Every chance he has, he shines the body and chrome bumpers of his vehicle until they reflect like a mirror. As he finishes shining the hubcaps on his wheels, he sees his father approaching.
"Lucas, can you go to town for me and pick up this list of tools and materials before six o'clock?" as he extends the list to his son. "We need to fix the barbed-wire fences first thing in the morning," requests John.
"Yes, Dad," he replies excitedly. This is the perfect opportunity for him to ride his beauty through his beloved town of Alexandria.
John is a dedicated farmer with a very strong build and a deep voice. He stands five feet seven inches and has piercing blue eyes and strands of silver in his hair. He is one of the most respected farmers in the community. He owns over four hundred acres of land, as well as the house next door which is occupied by his eldest son, James, his daughter-in-law, Debra and their three children: Paul, age ten; Donna, age eight; and Scott, age four. His grandkids, Donna and Scott, both have developmental disabilities. Donna had a twin brother, Donald, who died when he was only three months old; he too was severely developmentally challenged. James supports his family by working on the farm with his dad and little brother, Lucas. Furthermore, John and his wife, Elizabeth has a daughter, Mary, who is married to Joe. They have five children: Sandra is nine, Brenda is eight, Jeffery is seven, Darcy is six, and Janet is five. John also helped his daughter, Mary purchase a farmhouse with thirty acres of land just a few miles away from the farm, when she got married ten years ago. Sadly, John and Elizabeth lost their third child William — named after his paternal grandfather — a few hours after he was born. They took his death incredibly hard, but six years later were blessed with the birth of Lucas, their fourth and last child. He was considered the miracle child, born thirteen years after Mary. Lucas's mom would pamper him, but his dad made sure to keep him in line.
A serious man, John likes to constantly shuffle his money around; he has extensive investments. He is an industrious man and never relaxes until things are completed just so. His goal in life; to help his children grow and become as wealthy as he is. He often shares these dreams with Elizabeth on the porch at night, sipping iced tea while they stare at their crops and their accomplishments of the day. Elizabeth is a housewife who helps on the farm and who loves being a mom. She is a delightfully gentle and soft-spoken woman with stunning dark-brown eyes. She may stand only five feet tall; nevertheless, she is an impressively strong woman, emotionally and physically.
As John walks toward the barn, he sees Lucas driving away with a proud smile; he waves at him. "See you later, Dad," shouts Lucas.
John grins as he shakes his head; he beams with pride at what an incredible son he has.
Excerpted from Path of Lucas by Susanne Bellefeuille. Copyright © 2015 Susanne Bellefeuille. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
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