It’s Friday….This morning one year ago, Austin ended up “sleeping in” instead of going along to the golf tournament with Duane like he talked about the night before. This was unusual for him but I think him feeling a bit more tired was such a gradual thing that we didn’t see it as a warning sign like it was. Austin never was a complainer and I know he didn’t always tell us how bad he was feeling because he didn’t want us to worry about him. He felt bad about the many times we changed plans because of his health needs. We reassured him many times that he couldn’t control this and if we could have chosen any son in the world…we would have chosen him above any other “healthy” person.
Later on Friday morning, someone came to the motorhome where we were parked at a grocery store and picked up some supplies and took them back to the tournament. Austin saw this as his chance to maybe go along for awhile but I was in the back of the motorhome on the phone at the time. I didn’t know that Austin was hoping to go along but when I came out he told me that he didn’t go because he didn’t want to interrupt my phone conversation. I felt so bad for that! I apologized for it and offered to make some calls and see if anyone else could come and pick him up but he said, “no, that’s ok. I’ll just stay here.” Of course, the girls and I treasure that day very much! Alisha has expressed how much this day meant to her as Austin helped her with her school work and gave her her spelling test. It has been the only time that she has been thankful that she had to re-do a paper! Because of needing to do her test over again, Austin spent more time with her and helped her study for her test. He was so sweet with how he was encouraging her! I also have the copies of Austin’s school papers that he did on this Friday.
Austin enjoyed the sugar free peanut butter pie that I made for special occasions and I decided to make one for the weekend. He offered to help me as I was working on it. We were out of drinking water so Austin went into the grocery store and bought some for me. Later on, we ended up throwing the pie away because Austin never even got to enjoy it…By the next day he was feeling to bad to eat much of anything.
I will never forget as we were driving into the Hartwell Retreat Center…on the sign it said…”Welcome, Gospel Express! Come rest awhile.” Austin was sitting on the couch and doing something on his computer. We talked about what the sign said and I expressed how I am so looking forward to “rest awhile.” We had had a very busy week and were all in need of some rest. (This is the place where Austin found his true eternal rest….never to have to face another medical procedure or be limited with his earthly body again.)
As we parked the motorhome and got our things settled for the weekend, Austin took a load of some of our food into the kitchen at the Center and then joined the boys. He commented at how much better he felt this year compared to the year before when we were there and he was in congestive heart failure.
Austin ate dinner and then around 9:oo pm, he called my cell phone and told me he was out in the motorhome and wasn’t feeling well at all. I hurried out right away and Duane came also. Austin was in his bunk and was cold and said he felt sick all over. We checked his temperature and it never went higher than 100.5 so we gave him things to keep him as comfortable as possible. Alisha also complained that evening that her stomach didn’t feel the best and so we thought they were struggling with some sort of flu or viral infection. We knew that when someone is immunosuppressed, they are at a higher risk of things being more complicated and intense. We have seen both Alisha and Austin a lot sicker than how Austin appeared this time and we knew that if his temperature went up to 101 degrees it would be a greater indication of an infection.
We had a special time later this evening with some of our ministry friends coming and gathering around Austin and praying and anointing him. Austin was saying his stomach felt upset but was able to keep drinking and was able to sleep well this evening…..
I struggled for a while after Austin’s passing with the thoughts of..”How could we be so blind and not see that he was dying? Why did he have to go so suddenly without us even realizing what was going on?” God had to remind me that He actually answered the prayer that I had prayed for Austin many times before. “Dear God, I have seen Austin suffer so many times in his life. When it is his time to go, please be merciful and take him quickly with not much suffering.”