After Her Prayer: something beautifully strange

Standing quietly, a daddy watches as his son sleeps. You see, it was not too long ago that this handsome child faced death. An unknown form of cancer first attacked his right and then his left lung, however, Johnny survived. The doctors were at a loss to explain the origins of the disease; they knew not from where it came, but the horror had found a host inside the boy’s body. Weeks passed without improvements, and as the child’s condition worsened, even hope, it seemed, was left without a comforting place.

Then one night: something happens, something beautifully strange.

A woman enters Johnny’s hospital room, she is unknown to the nursing staff; and of course, to the boy’s family. She seems demure, but then who could tell, really. Strolling across the floor, she slightly glances over at Johnny, and then makes eye contact with his parents. Un-remarkably, she says, “Hello, I am Joanna,” but offers no last name. A lovely cloak lightly graces her thin shoulders; although something of her assures strength, power, presence. Hello, says the child’s parents, and then asks Joanna what she wants, here.

The physiognomy of this woman is precise; she appears as poured from archaic molds, creatively constructed by the ancients. Nothing seems left to chance. Surely, any man knowing her tenderness is the envy to any woman with imagination. To every eye, fleeting glances are merely phrases.

Speaking quietly, softly, Joanna explains, “Your son’s sickness alerted me, and I want to help him.” Naturally, Johnny’s parents are reluctant to permit a stranger closeness to their son; and yet, after attentively listening to her, and appreciating that the woman desires only to pray for him, Nigel and Julia relent; however, they feel and exact caution. The woman is closely observed.

Leaning nearer to the sick boy: Joanna extends her hands above his chest; after which, she halts, looking to the boy’s father. Holding out her palms, she then asks that daddy rests his palms inside hers. Reluctantly, the man follows her instructions. Immediately, Johnny’s dad withdraws his hands, the woman’s palms are quite warm, although not of a burning warmth; still, the sensation surprised Nigel, caught him off guard, but then shaking it off, he replaces his palms.

“Yes,” Joanna says, “you feel the warmth.” The woman demonstrates such comfort, and confidence, so much so that Johnny’s parents relax, and then believe that they feel, perhaps, what this strange woman feels. Placing her hands atop the boy’s chest, the mysterious woman softly speaks. Some words are unfamiliar, of a different, and archaic language and others are in English.

After her prayer, Joanna opens her eyes, leans closely, and then lightly kisses Johnny’s right cheek; as she gently presses his forid, with her opposing hand. “I must go, now.” “Bless you.” Uncertain as to whether they briefly looked away, and in a blink, it seems, the woman no longer stands before them.

The event occurred three years ago; and his loving parents, his family and friends have the strange woman to thank for Johnny’s health; and because he comfortably rests at home. The boy’s team of doctors remains amazed by what “…appears as good fortune, and luck.” Such events, imply the doctors, have little to do with “… ‘mere prayer,’ anything foreign to medical science.”

Somehow: The strange woman departed, unseen; additionally, the Elevators never arrived to the floor. Nigel, and Julia feel deeply indebted to Joanna, the woman is outstanding, special and because the boy’s parents ‘believe,’ they wonder, “Could she be ‘more’ than special?” In her memory, Julia scripted a poem; it hangs above Johnny’s bed:



Of you, I seek compassion
Your shoulders bear my weight
Eyes forever watching
Your smile endures my fate

To life, you are mysterious
To me a hand to hold
My sunshine every morning
My cover when I’m cold

Troubles are your homeland
Sorrows dark and deep
Your love consoles my pillow
My dreams in restful sleep

The mother to a daughter
Alone you raise the son
If lost and needing hope
To you our spirits run

Hunger understands you
Thirst you pacify
Desire to help commands you
To you all children cry

In church, I often see you
Your stare a glancing gaze
Stillness speaks of wonder
You light my nights my days

In school you sit beside me
At lunch, you share my food
Forever I can call you
You’re always in the mood

Outside: The pleasant roar of the rains, the artistic crackle of thunder wrinkles the fabric. Lightning brilliantly, beautifully paints the skies; and beneath it all a son peacefully sleeps as his father, watches.

Copyright (c) 2003-2017 Delbert H. Rhodes

Crissa: In Her Final Moments

English: An HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter lands a...

By Delbert H. Rhodes


The battle has ended for her; a woman of forty years, Crissa Johennsen has had a good life. Since childhood, she loves family friends and country. Born to a military family this lady learned early the importance of respect responsibility and dedication. Crissa’s dad, a Bird Colonel, stands tall in the shadows of right and wrong; always ready to answer the call; and to go wherever needed. The Colonel’s men respect and love him, and follow him into hell and back without second thinking the venture. All her life, Crissa has held a great pride for her dad, and her loving mother.

Crissa’s mom teaches English Literature in high school. Mrs. Branson’s students love her and thrill about the books they read and the engaging daily discussions. High School is where Crissa and Jack (Johennsen) met. They dated throughout their college years and married soon after graduation. Both individuals felt the call and quickly joined the military. Naturally, Crissa’s dad feels pride for his daughter.

Home for the Johennsens is California’s lovely west coast, and financially; Jack and Crissa are comfortable, though a military lifestyle offers little in terms of luxury. The Johennsen family supports various charities and volunteers at local shelters, whenever time permits. Crissa and Jack are like-minded and nothing is more important to them than helping family and people and country.

In the Johennsen household: the discussion about children occurs often; each individual is eager to begin a family, but now is not the time. Crissa hopes that a girl would be first to arrive, but no matter, as long as the child is healthy, and happy. Doubtless, the lady jokes, our child would be quite beautiful…especially if she looks like me (ha ha).

Today, and on a hillside far from home, Crissa is dying; while attacking an enemy unit, Crissa sustained serious damage to her chest wall and underlying tissues and organs. The medic did all he could to help her; but little more could be done, other soldiers needed aid.

Trying to think clearly, Crissa understands the costs of war; the Morphine the medic gave her helps, but the pain would soon return.

A medevac chopper is slow on arrival; precious moments pass as Crissa waits to be air lifted out of the strike zone. Time is critical and she is unable to hold on. Lying in the dirt Crissa thinks of the wonderful years she has shared with her husband. She focuses on the many sweet moments; Jack and she has laughed, played, and cried. The irreplaceable timeless moments when staring into each other’s eyes, the sweethearts became lost in the purity of love. Crissa loves her husband more than life; and misses him; she needs him-now.

Realizing that she probably would never see Jack again, Crissa reaches into her breast pocket for a pen and writing pad. (Crissa cries for her husband, she sorrows for the children they would never bring into the world.)

Crissa grows weaker, nevertheless, this woman mobilizes a love greater than the horrors of her circumstances; depending on her training and an impenetrable will, Crissa writes a note. The task is monumental: Crissa suffers with breathing, and soon develops problems with vision, the feeling in her hands is numbing, stabilizing the note pad and writing is extremely difficult.

Making matters worse, the injured woman is losing too much blood. Still, and though death waits, the brave lady holds on.  Crissa is determined to complete the note, her final moments with her beloved Jack. Lifeless, Crissa’s hand slides down the page.

One hour later the medevac crew arrives. While assessing the injured, a crewman notices a piece of paper lying next to Crissa’s body. Respectfully: Crissa’s corpse is placed on the chopper; the crewman takes a moment to read the note: To my husband and great love, Lt. Jack Johennsen, Company Headquarters.

News of Crissa’s death quickly arrives at headquarters (the crewman delivers her note to the Lt.). The words on the page are familiar, they are a quote that Jack often said to Crissa, and actually, the quote is “Allure,” a poem that Jack had written for her.

With tearing eyes, sadly Jack reads the note: “In the shadows of the waiting horizon, a cooling sun silhouettes the sky; and in the moonlight brightly reflecting are puffy whites tip toeing by; vigilant monoliths are the mountains, embracing a valley of rivers and green; and the winds artfully whooshing, are the brush painting a scene. My swelling heart feverishly throbs, the view before me I fondly adore; and beside me the woman I love; and her touch the sweetest allure.” -I love you Jack…

The loss of his sweet and loving wife is more than the brave Lt. can stand. With tears bathing his face, and then clutching the blood stained paper to his chest, the veteran commander collapses to his knees.

Copyright © 2012 Delbert H. Rhodes