I was awakened by a loud noise. When I looked around, I saw my son’s room was on fire, and he was trying to put it out. I told him to run, nothing is more important than you. I ran toward the back door, but tripped over my walker and couldn’t get up. I passed out. I woke up six weeks later in the Kansas University Burn Center. The pain was unbearable. I was having hallucinations. But the worst was still to come…when they told me my son had died. I couldn’t understand why God took his life and not mine.
In February I was transferred to Select Hospital in Kansas City and stayed there for a month. Then I was moved to Topeka Center for my rehab. I still had unhealed burns on 30 percent of my body, and the pain—physical, emotional and mental—was excruciating.
But the nurses and therapists—the entire staff—were so patient, loving and compassionate. They encouraged me, were there for me 24 hours a day. The Recreation Director came to my room every day and sang for me. She has a beautiful voice, and it brought tears to my eyes. My son’s death left a hole in my heart, but Topeka Center has healed me in so many ways. They have made life worth living.