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JennaGlatzer
10-10-2005, 04:21 PM
I'm being trendy and following Mac and deciding to reject my essay. ;)

I'm not doing it to be self-deprecating-- I think it's a good essay. It's just that there are so many essays about cancer and tumors and diseases that I think it would help if I axed mine. If I can come up with something new in the next 48 hours, I'll replace it. But I still feel like sharing it here! So... here ya go.

(Sorry about the formatting... I can't seem to get it to hold up right.)

A Belated Christmas Present
By Jenna Glatzer


For as long as I live, I will never forget that phone call. I was 12 years old, and it was the day after Christmas. Early that morning, my grandmother found my grandfather unconscious in the bathroom. He had been there since the previous night, and she didn’t realize it until she awoke. My father had gone to follow the ambulance. Now my mother and I were waiting for news . . . any news.

The phone rang, and my mother got to it first. I picked up in another room, though, and I don’t think anyone knew I was on the line.

“They said he’s dead,” my dad said. “But he’s not dead!” I had never heard my father fall apart before. He went on like a crazy man, tripping over half-coherent, tear-laden, desperate thoughts about how the doctors were wrong, and my grandfather couldn’t die. He was too stubborn to die. Too capable. Too alive.

He’d had a seizure and lapsed into a coma. Since he had been comatose for so many hours before anyone found him, the odds were against him by anyone’s measure.

The hospital emergency room was short-staffed because of the holiday, and there was only one doctor available. After noticing that my grandfather’s blood pressure had spiked above 200, he gave him medicine and waited. And waited. There was no response. The doctor advised my father to call the rabbi. It was time to accept that my grandfather wasn’t going to wake up.

But there was one small problem: My father flat-out refused to accept anything of the sort. “You’re not going to stand here and watch him die,” he yelled, followed by some anger-and-pain-induced insults of the doctor’s competence. “I want him transferred to another hospital immediately!”

That’s when he called us. Soon afterwards, he called his childhood family doctor for help. The doctor recommended a hospital in New York City... a full hour away.

Faith is usually expressed in beliefs. My father’s faith was expressed in his total disbelief. He refused to listen to the doctor who told him hope was gone, and he took action with the single-minded drive that comes only from faith. This was his father, and he was going to be fine. Period. Anything else was unthinkable.

Taking a comatose, dying man out of the hospital and putting him into an ambulance for an hour-long ride was just short of plain ridiculous, but my father insisted. He called a private ambulance, and the city hospital told him they would make sure a doctor was waiting for my grandfather when he arrived. The doctor flew his own plane to the hospital to meet that promise.

During the ambulance ride, the miracle began. My grandfather had moments of consciousness, but he was very delusional. The moment they arrived at the hospital, the doctor looked into my grandfather’s eyes and declared, “I know what’s wrong and I can operate.”

What was wrong, he explained, was a Meningioma tumor lodged between his brain and his skull. As he finished the examination, the doctor said my grandfather was exposed to mustard gas in World War II in England—he had seen many of these slow-growing tumors in war veterans before. He said the seed of the tumor was planted by the mustard gas some 50 years earlier. They were going to stabilize my grandfather, then operate immediately.

Unfortunately, there was another surprise in store.

When my grandfather regained his faculties, he began hallucinating. No one is sure what he thought he saw, but whatever it was, he stood at the edge of his hospital bed and dove off. The gash under his eye translated into seven stitches and a postponement of the surgery. He was going to have to make it through one more day before they could risk anesthetizing him.

He didn’t recognize my father, and he had no idea of the date or year, but he knew when D-Day had occurred, and he remembered who was President during the war. The son he didn’t recognize was going to keep this man grounded . . . literally.

Since he didn’t have any string handy, my father tore up a sheet and wound it into a rope. He tied my grandfather’s arm to his own, to be sure that he couldn’t take another dive.

My grandfather made it to the operating table, and he survived. But it was anyone’s guess whether he’d regain his mental capacity after such an ordeal. My father stayed with him in the hospital, keeping that sheet tied to his arm for two weeks. Hopes were grim, and relatives came to relieve my father from time to time. The doctor had drilled three holes into my grandfather’s skull to remove the tumor, which was bigger than a lemon.

He was 78 years old, and had a full life. He had married the girl of his dreams, even though they had been forbidden to see each other while they were dating. She was Catholic, he was Jewish, and in those times, that was that. He wouldn’t give up on her, though, and worked hard to gain her parents’ blessing. It was granted on her father’s deathbed, as her dad finally came clean and admitted that he had always liked my grandfather, but felt pressured by his friends to oppose their marriage.

My grandfather was a hard-working man who had only recently retired, and he remained very active. He loved to swim and go to the beach, and he kept up with the news and politics. Seventy-eight wasn’t bad. It was an awfully long time to live with a deadly tumor that had gone undetected for several decades.

But . . .

You knew this story wasn’t over, didn’t you?

“This is to my wife… what am I saying? My bride of 50 years,” he said, holding up his glass of champagne at a restaurant in Florida where we’d all come to gather to celebrate. “I was supposed to be dead five years ago. But here I am.”

Five years. Five years, and no one had ever suggested that my father call in the rabbi ever again. The tumor was gone, and he had slowly and completely recovered from the stroke, even returning to swim in our pool every summer.

But that was nine years ago.

He’s 91 now.

And that’s what faith means to me.


-

DeniseK
10-10-2005, 04:29 PM
Beautiful. Of course, my eyes welled up. But the part where they did was reading about the sheet your father tied to his arm.

Thanks for a great story with my first coffee, Jenna. :)

Moondancer
10-10-2005, 04:33 PM
Beautiful... there is no other word to describe it so why muck it up with trying?

biotales
10-10-2005, 04:34 PM
beautiful jenna....

JennaGlatzer
10-10-2005, 04:42 PM
Aww, thanks, gals!

aruna
10-10-2005, 05:11 PM
Very beautiful...

JennaGlatzer
10-10-2005, 05:21 PM
BTW: I'm looking through all my documents now to see if I have any other essays I wrote and forgot about that might work... I think I might have just found one. But look at this-- I swear this is one of the lines in it!

"There's something about a fantasy oasis in the middle of a run-down town that's both startling and inspiring, like a tenacious flower that somehow blooms out of cracks in the concrete."

Moondancer
10-10-2005, 05:36 PM
"There's something about a fantasy oasis in the middle of a run-down town that's both startling and inspiring, like a tenacious flower that somehow blooms out of cracks in the concrete."

We all knew you are a great writer but it's nice to know you are psychic, too.

:Clap:

rtilryarms
10-10-2005, 05:53 PM
"There's something about a fantasy oasis in the middle of a run-down town that's both startling and inspiring, like a tenacious flower that somehow blooms out of cracks in the concrete."

If you believe in fate and modified destiny as i do, this doesn't surprise me at all. Of course you would have written that!

Nice line too.

awatkins
10-10-2005, 06:22 PM
Wow. *shivers*

Jean Marie
10-10-2005, 06:29 PM
Wow!!

As for the opening line on the 2nd essay? <<Rod Serling enters stage right>>

Here's an interesting parallel: my dad's father was Jewish and he married a Catholic girlhttp://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif Both my dad and his brother were raised Catholic, and so were my brother and I. My grandfather always prayed for me in Jewish and Catholic.

My grandmother died first and was buried in the Catholic cemetary in Brooklyn. Even though my grandfather believed in the after life, he insisted he be buried next to his wife. So, following his wishes, he was cremated. Since he died in Jan., the ground was hard as a rock...we waited until summer, my uncle mispaced him. Then my uncle, aunt and one of my cousins and myself snuck into the Catholic cemetary, grandpa under my uncle's arm, and made it past a 1/2 blind nun. You got it, he's buried next to my grandmother-we put him between a couple headstones so he would never be disturbed. That's the story of Grace and Ben.http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif

Writer2011
10-10-2005, 06:35 PM
Simply beautiful Jenna....

-Bill-

AdamH
10-10-2005, 08:03 PM
Thanks for sharing, Jenna! That essay was, like everyone else said, simply beautiful!

Vanessa
10-10-2005, 08:25 PM
Jenna, u know what? Girl, you can write.
Wow what an amazing story. I felt like I was right there in the midst of it.

I smiled when I read that your grandfather is now 91. Amazing story. Your father's faith, and ambition was overwhelming.

So sad to see this one pulled from SOS. But I know if you whip up something in the next 48 hrs, it'll be just as worth the read.

Rose colored glasses
10-10-2005, 08:49 PM
That is a wonderful essay. It's a shame you need to cut it.

ChunkyC
10-10-2005, 09:08 PM
I agree. Please keep this one in if you can't find another.

Jean Marie
10-10-2005, 09:26 PM
Yeah, Jenna, keep it. It's a strong message which defines faith so perfectly.

jdkiggins
10-10-2005, 09:49 PM
Beautiful, Jenna!

Yeshanu
10-10-2005, 09:50 PM
I'm glad you shared, Jenna. Now I know why you're such a strong person yourself.



As for the other one you found: hope it fits! I'd love to read the rest of it.

Kim Gogo
10-10-2005, 11:36 PM
Thanks for sharing it, Jenna. It's aA really good story--I'm not sure if you are pulling it b/c of the last-minute addition or if it's b/c you want to replace it with another. I hope that it makes it b/c it is truly a story of strength.

I am so anxious to sit down and read this book from cover to cover!!

kim

Alphabet
10-11-2005, 12:00 AM
Your belated christmas present is our early christmas present, Jenna. Thank you.

I wish you were not going to pull it from the anthology but I understand your thought to do so stems from generosity, and generosity again in nevertheless allowing us to see, share, and be warmed by your wonderful essay.

We already knew you loved us, but now we know it even deeper.

rtilryarms
10-11-2005, 12:20 AM
Actually, I hope you will keep the original in or add the other one. The Anthology should not go on without an essay / poem / story. The forward does not count.

Vote: Yay

Susie
10-11-2005, 12:24 AM
That's a fantastic story of faith, hope and real determination. Wonderful! Jenna. Thanks much for sharing it with us. So glad all worked out well.
Yes, that'd be great if you could keep your story in.

KimJo
10-11-2005, 03:01 AM
Jenna, the essay about your father and grandfather is wonderful. I agree with those who've urged you to keep it in.

The line from the other essay? Prophetic. Completely.

September skies
10-11-2005, 03:06 AM
That was beautiful Jenna. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Kida Adelyne
10-11-2005, 03:24 AM
Oh! Jenna, you're writing is awsome! That story is just beautiful! <--*have the warm fuzzy feeling I get after a truely inspiring story or movie*

-Ally

LieselGarmach
10-11-2005, 05:04 AM
I think your subconscious was going for the cover art idea because you know that the essay you quoted from belongs in the book.

I love the other one, though. Thank you for sharing, Jenna.

rtilryarms
10-11-2005, 05:15 AM
Actually, I hope you will keep the original in or add the other one. The Anthology should not go on without an essay / poem / story. The forward does not count.

Vote: Yay

I forgot to add "FROM JENNA". We must have a submission from Jenna. Not just the Forward.

MacAllister
10-11-2005, 06:38 AM
I can't believe Jenna just told everyone I rejected my own essay! :ROFL:

Cabria
10-11-2005, 06:48 AM
That was inspiring to read Jenna! A beautiful story of love, faith and determination - thanks for sharing something so special with us...

mdin
10-11-2005, 06:49 AM
I can't believe Jenna just told everyone I rejected my own essay! :ROFL:

She told us that about a week ago in another thread. We've been cowering in the aura of your Xena-like acquisitions brutality since then.

Jean Marie
10-11-2005, 07:37 AM
She told us that about a week ago in another thread. We've been cowering in the aura of your Xena-like acquisitions brutality since then.

You said it much better than I would havehttp://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif

Sorry Mac, it's old newshttp://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/emoticonhi.gif By the way, are you planning on posting your rejected submission? Aw, c'mon, Jenna did! Dare ya, make that double darehttp://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smilepopcorn.gif Personally I think you're both nuts for rejecting yourselves. Whoever heard of such a thing? Sheesh!

BJ Bourg
10-12-2005, 03:57 AM
Jenna,

That was an amazing essay. I wholeheartedly agree with those who say you should leave it in.

Take care,

bjb

PennyS
10-12-2005, 04:14 AM
I agree with those who said leave it in. This is a story many will be able to empathize with. It's a wonderful story.