It’s 10:09 pm and I am extremely tired. I was laying down listening to “Let Go Let God” by Dewayne Woods and felt the urge to write about my moment with this song. I was going to save this story for next year but I feel somebody’s faith needs to be renewed.
For about a week before Ann passed, I would hear this song playing over and over in my mind. It was playing when I woke up and also playing in my mind when I went to sleep. The hospital always gave her a room to herself because I always stayed in the room with her. I did not sleep on the other bed. It was offered to me but I chose to sleep right beside her. I would try to get one of the more comfortable recliners but that was not always possible. So, some nights I had to sleep in a regular chair. That did not matter to me. The only thing that mattered was that I was there for and with her.
Anyway, I did not know why this song was playing in my head. I remember telling Ann that I could not get it out of my head for days. I would pull it up on YouTube and let it play over and over as I worked.
THE JOY OF THE LORD
Please allow me to backpedal a bit and then bring you back up to speed. One of the things Ann really admired about me was the fact that I always had joy. She would often say, “Derron, I want the type of you joy you have. No matter what is going on you always wake up smiling and dancing. That’s what I’m talking about!” This was very humbling to me. It’s not often that a wife looks at or to her husband in admiration.
The days spent in the hospital were joyous days. Over the past three years, I cannot count the number of days we spent in the hospital. Honestly, the amount of time spent in the hospitals probably equaled or came very close to the amount of time we spent at home. I was right there by her side because that was my job. I showered there, helped her whenever needed, went to get her food, books, and pens whenever she needed them. As far as I was concerned, her hospital stays were going to be pleasant. I would get up in the mornings and start dancing just to make her laugh or to hear her say, “Derron, I’m going to see if I can get a stupid check for you because the way you act don’t make no sense!” What in the world is a stupid check? Of course, she would be saying that while laughing to tears. I think she was jealous of my dance skills.Hey husband, make sure you are bringing your wife joy, and not the opposite of it. #HusbandRules #WifeyActs. Click To Tweet
Back to the story. So, because Ann was having breathing problems, the doc moved her to the ICU only to get one-on-one monitoring with a nurse. This was better because on the floor it was about one nurse to every five or six patients. She was only going to be monitored there for a few days and then we were supposed to be going home. I had already been at the hospital for a few weeks so after they got Ann situated in the ICU I left to make the hour drive home to wash my clothes and then come back.
After I got about thirty minutes down the road I received a call from the ICU doctor. He explained to me that I needed to turn around and come back immediately. He said if Ann’s oxygen dropped any lower they would need to put her on the ventilator so she would not damage her organs. This was temporary, but as always, anything could go wrong. At this point, she was perfectly awake and aware just like you and I. I asked if he told her and he said yes. I wanted to be the one to tell her because for the entire course of our marriage I have been the one to break any bad news to her. She always felt comforted whenever I had to break any news to her. I know this because she told me many times.
LET GO LET GOD
For the three years we were battling cancer I have been her rock. She could count on me for any and everything. I called to schedule or cancel all her doctor’s appointments. I also took her to every doctor’s appointment, chemo appointment, surgery, or anything else she had to do. Up until this point, I was solid. I knew that going on the ventilator meant that anything could happen. I tried to contain myself because I felt the tears coming.
After turning the car around, I remember saying to myself, “I’m not going to cry, I’m not going to cry.” There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a man crying but I knew that if I showed up to that hospital with tears in my eyes Ann was just going to lose it. She told me that I have been her rock our whole marriage so if she saw me crying she knew it was bad. I started playing “Let Go Let God.” As I was driving and the song kept playing I was still telling myself, “I’m not going to cry, I’m not going to cry.” I tried to hold back the tears so much that I started holding my jaw shut tightly shut. Again, “I’m not going to cry, I’m not going to cry.”
I tried my best to keep myself composed but when Dewayne Woods said, “With tears in your eyes, just let God”, the tears started to fall. They ran down my cheeks like a bruised pipe. I cried the entire way back to the hospital. When I pulled in I did not go straight in. I drove all the way to the top of the parking garage with tears in my eyes. At that time of the evening, I knew there would probably be nobody up there. After parking the car, I still could not stop crying. That song had been on repeat the entire way back. I had to get myself together because I had to go inside the hospital and get Ann together.
HAD TO TALK TO GOD
So, there I was on the top floor of the hospital parking garage crying. Tears were coming from my face, my heart, and my soul. There are no words to describe what I was going through at that moment in time. I had to talk to God.
Up to this point, it seemed like the world was calling. People were trying to book me to speak but I was turning them down or trying to push the engagements back to 2019. Ann was not happy at all about that. She was especially upset when I declined a trip to Mexico at an extremely large book fair for eight days. She wanted me to go but that was not up for negotiations. I was staying with her, period. Anyway, I remember saying these exact words to God:
“God, I need your help. You know the situation with my wife. I see the plan you have for my life because the world is calling. I just need her to be okay. You can give this purpose and destiny to someone else. They can have the money, they can have the traveling, and they can have the fame. All I need is for her to be okay. I’ll be perfectly fine working a nine to five as long as she’s okay. Give it all to someone else.”
Those were my exact words. The tears were still flowing down my face. At the point, I said to myself, “Okay Derron, gather yourself so you can go inside.” After sitting there for a few more minutes I noticed I was singing along with the song. My face dried and I made sure my eyes were not red. It was time to go inside.
THE JOY OF THE LORD
As I walked into the hospital, I was preparing myself to have to calm Ann down. In my mind, I could already see what was about to happen. I think the most painful part of everything for me up to this point was the fact that I could not take her place. If I could have somehow been granted one request, that would have been the one.
I got off the elevator and started heading to the ICU. Every step I took felt like my heart was literally going to explode. I just knew she was in her bed crying and having a fit because of what they told her and there was a chance she could die. When I cut the corner I saw the most amazing thing. Ann was in the bed making jokes about me to the nurses. She was laughing and telling them about how I dance and about me being a nerd. It was like a party in that room. I could not believe what I was seeing.
God had to bring something back to my memory. I recalled Ann saying to me, “Derron, I want the type of joy you have. No matter what is going on you always wake up smiling and dancing. That’s what I’m talking about!” I was so heavenly proud! They told this woman that there was a chance she could die and instead of crying, being depressed, or giving up she was smiling and laughing while talking about me. She had tears in her eyes, but they were tears of great joy. How could this be? I was so humbled because that was the moment she was able to experience it. THAT WAS THE JOY OF THE LORD!