This book starts out feeling like a cross between the movies “Stepford Wives” and “Pleasantville”. Eleven-year-old twin sisters Elodee and Naomi leave their hometown of Jupiter, and move with their parents to Eventown. There are no phones, televisions, or computers. They spend the first few days thinking they’re in paradise – no stress or conflict or unpleasantness. Everyone agrees with everyone else, acts the same, and is polite to a tee. The kids all love school! Something is definitely wrong in this town.
Alarm bells go off in Elodee’s mind when she visits the library and discovers that every book is blank. And what’s up with those mandatory interviews at the Welcoming Center? Her sister Naomi seems different after her interview. Elodee completes only half of her interview, at which time she figures out what is going on in Eventown.
Memory is a double-sided gift. It gives me the ability to hold on to the special moments in life, as Jim Croce sang about in “Time In A Bottle”. Like the memory of being four years old, and playing on the floor with my newly-adopted sister and brother. The first time I met my husband. The moment I held my sons in my arms for the first time. Watching the kids graduate from high school. Laughing and playing games with the cousins. Seeing “Star Wars” on the big screen back in 1978. Yeah, these memories are keepers!
But on the other side, there are the memories that I really want to forget, ones that play over and over in my head like a horror movie. Like two years ago today, when our son died and then was brought back. I remember watching him in the ICU on life support. I remember the groans of pain that I could do nothing to alleviate. I remember the slivers of glass and dried blood flakes that slowly worked their way out onto the pillowcase over many days. I remember the therapists trying to get our son’s legs working again as he struggled with nausea and excruciating pain. And yes, I remember that wicked fixator device that he had for almost two months to hold the bones in place.
But as I think more about that day in 2016, it brings to mind other memories. The family friend that came out to the hospital in the middle of the night to sit with us as life and death fought each other. The dozens of soap-makers from an international blog site who sent word that they were praying. Friends that came by to encourage us and pray. The Sunday School class that sent over a care-box of things to do. The crafty friend who brought over a couple looms and an entire bag of fabric loops to make potholders with (the cure for fidgety hands). The trauma doctors who kept tiptoeing into the room during the first week, wanting to see the young man that by all logic should not be alive. Then there were the nurses. I remember the gentleness of seven nurses changing our son’s bed-sheets, a difficult task with someone whose body was broken and damaged in so many places.
It’s been a rough two years for our son, and for all of us. Doctors’ visits and physical therapy are ongoing. There may never be total recovery, but we are getting used to a new “normal”. If you have a body that works perfectly fine, and you have no pain or physical ailments, thank God! All it takes is one unexpected event, one second in time, to take life in a totally different direction. We carry memories of both the joyous and the terrible times. But through it all, Jesus has walked with us, and that is something to remember always.