Short Stories

Diana Washburn – Before & After

Short Stories By Jesus Series

Our fall worship series was entitled Short Stories By Jesus, in which we were looking at Jesus’ parables, especially some of the most problematic ones.  We enlisted the congregation to write Before & After stories.  Each Sunday one member shared a story in which there was a before and an after, and after which, many things in his or her life changed dramatically. Here is one of those stories.

Diana Washburn – Before & After

Being a member of College Park, an accountant; working with the auditors on annual audits, doing non-profit tax returns as well as individuals from home.  I was also providing housing for one of my sisters and her child, while she was going through a divorce.  I had found a group home for my handicapped son to live in after several years of searching in Greensboro in previous four years, he is my oldest.  My second son was in college at North Carolina State.

I was going to school at night, full time, in order to obtain my Bachelor of Science degree with the hopes of taking the CPA exam in the fall of 2005.  On Saturdays, I had started taking the CPA review classes to get ready to take the exam.

On a regular day, with included a lot of stress, but that was the norm for me.  I kind of liked having goals to be met, but as always there would be a special request from the Connecticut office, it being the head- quarters, where the big boss’s office was.  Then you didn’t ask “why?” you just responded “Yes sir” “Right away, sir.”  Of course my list for the day would include his request at the top and then the others would shift down one place in the line.

On this particular day it was one of those days.  I was in the middle of the annual audit, trying to finish the work papers for the auditors, while at the same time trying to finish the attachments to the tax return.  It being one of the last days of the month, March 28, 2005, I wanted the auditors to be out of my hair before the end of the month, because then it would be time to complete the reconciliations for yet another month.

Of course the call came from the Connecticut office, so the last work paper would have to be put off until the next day.  I had class that night.  I left work around 5:30.  I would have just enough time to go through Chick-fil-A drive through.  I got to school eating the Chicken sandwich, waffle fries, and Seven-up in the car.

After wolfing down my dinner I had to get to class.  I quickly got to the building which my class was in, got on the elevator, punched the number two.  There was no one else on the ride to the second floor.  I kind of became light headed, like I might faint.  I thought no problem my room was the first on the left, I will just take my seat until this feeling went away.

It happened that one of my cousins was taking the same class as me.  She was not supposed to be there that day, because she was scheduled for surgery.  She realized right away that something was wrong with me.  She said the right side of my face was slumped and I didn’t say hello in my usual way.  I myself could not utter a word because all of a sudden I was unable to do anything with right side and with me being right handed even to write a note was an impossible task.  The last thing I remember is being picked up by the EMS.

I became aware three days later in a room, after being out of ICU, that I had a stroke.  I could not talk (Aphasia), I could not walk, I could not recognize numbers or even what they were for, the use of my right side, and all of my short term memory.   I thought fine; I will be good as new in three to six months.  Wrong?

It seems like I was taking care of other people instead of taking care of myself.  I was then that I found that suffered from; high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high stress and was overweight.  Any one of these could have been the culprit.

Somewhere between being in the ICU and becoming fully aware I recall a vision of  God, but because of his brightness, Jesus cloaked him.  He said; “there is more for me to do here on earth and for me to wake up.”  Then I was re-born to a new way of living.

I was born with a stubborn streak and now I know what it was meant for.  I progressed slowly-but-surely learning how to walk and talk again.  On to writing left-handed, as if I were in Kindergarten, using the special pad of paper with the big spacing between the lines and writing A-B-C’s.  Up through the grades I have progressed, up to today, for I will always be learning, maybe not in the same way.  I am forever thankful for the determination of my sisters, Kay ad Angela, for they will never be forgotten.  With the many prayers, support and tough love shared with the College Park members, I stand here today.

Diane Washburn, October 2015


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