See this post for the story of the engagement and the reason for this particular story.
April 19th, 2006 -
I was working at a prominent hotel in Milwaukee, dating the greatest guy on earth, and just lovin' life. On this day, I got a frantic phone call from my Uncle J telling me that my mom's husband, Scott, was in the hospital after a sudden heart attack the previous weekend. He was on life support and he wasn't going to make it. They were going to disconnect him that afternoon.
My mother is not one to keep in regular contact with anyone. We'd go months at a time without any kind of communication. At this point in my life, we hadn't spoken in years.
My uncle put her on the phone. She seemed distracted, but relieved to hear my voice. I could hear the need for my presence - she didn't have to say a thing. Knowing how she'd never ask for help (a trait I know all too well), I understood, but still asked -
"Mom, do you need me to come down there?"
"You'd do that?"
My emergency-organizer self kicked into action. Within 12 hours, I:
1. Got the OK from my boss to take a few days of bereavement
2. My discounted flight lined up (through the generosity of a close friend's father who worked for an airline)
3. A dog sitter confirmed
4. A rental car to take me from Charlotte, N.C. to the small town where my mother lived.
The next day (Thursday), I was on a flight to North Carolina.
I stayed at the hospital with my mom. The wonderful hospital staff arranged for a second recliner chair to be brought into the room for me.
Scott was a fighter. He held on longer than anticipated. It took until Friday evening for him to pass away. For the first time in my life, I saw my mom cry.
I handled the arrangements and addressed any other details needing attention. I was back in Milwaukee by Monday evening, exhausted, but thankful for the time with my mother.
This wasn't a pleasant circumstance by any means, but a lot of good did come of it. I reconnected with my estranged mother. My faith in God was tested and, ultimately, strengthened. And my extended absence gave ShankRabbit the opportunity to visit my fosterparents and ask for permission to marry me.
When we returned to the area two weeks later for MOTD, I was able to call up my mom and introduce her to ShankRabbit. This would have never happened if I didn't have that time with her.
(Clarification: I left my biological parent's home when I was 11. My biological father has been out of the picture for a LONG time. My fosterparents entered my life when I was 13, so they are who I'd consider the parental figures in my life)