After Effects of West Nile Virus

>> Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I’ve known Dennis and Teddi for over two decades. When my husband and I moved to the Tri-Cities, we ended up attending the same church they did. I sang in choir and attended church functions with them. Dennis had a smile that went from ear to ear.

For several years I lost touch with them. We each went to different churches. But a few years ago, we both landed in the same church. And again, I was in choir with them and met them at church.

Dennis worked at the Hanford site. In the mornings before work, some of the employees would gather on the grass to do some stretching exercises. Many days they were so busy swatting mosquitoes that exercise was impossible, so they moved to an asphalt area to get away from the insects.

In 2009, Dennis came down with West Nile virus. He developed encephalitis, an infection of the brain and was hospitalized for ten days. Some days he could go to work, other days he was re-admitted to the hospital. They traveled to other cities seeking expert medical advice for his lingering symptoms, such as constant pressure in his head.

Even though it was obvious to others he was still in distress … very thin and the smile gone … he continued to be active in choir. Last week I sat in front of him as we practiced the songs for Easter.

Last night at choir, Dennis and Teddi were not there. You see, he took his life on Monday evening. We sat in a circle … cried … prayed … and told stories about Dennis.

It’s hard to think of other things. His death re-arranges priorities. I don’t want to forget that life is very short. We never know if we will see that person again. Give them a hug. Tell them you love them. Reach out in some way to help them feel someone cares.

And sometimes that is just not enough.

Even when the way goes through
      Death Valley,
   I'm not afraid
      when you walk at my side.
Psalms 23:4 (MSG)


opramum March 9, 2011 at 7:58 AM  

This has been a difficult and heartbreaking two days. I've been praying that our loving God would cover them with his care.

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