"My Life is Changed Forever"
by Mary Linn

On March 12, 1999 my life had "forever changed". My morning started out awesome. My two boys (Josh 17, Michael 16) drove to school at their usual time of 6:30 am for a 7:00 class. I arranged for mom to take my 6 year old son David to kindergarten that morning so I could meet my daughter Wendy (she was 26 with 4 children of her own).

We met along Pacific Coast highway, as drove to Santa Barbara together to see an MS (multiple sclerosis) doctor to get an opinion whether she had MS. I drove and we talked all the way about our children. For those who don't know, Den and I adopted David, Wendy and Paul adopted David's brother and sister.

We arrived in Santa Barbara early and has fresh squeezed orange juice, a muffin and sat outside the Coffee Grind...the sky was blue and the air was unusually warm for March.

We went on to the doctor, who confirmed her MS (although this was what Wendy and I had expected), I had grieved in the past few months my own pain and sadness..."how will she raise her children, when this disease seems so progressive. We somehow left with strength for the journey, drove to Ventura where she wanted me to see her dress for the Mrs. California pageant she's competing in. I told her this would be a good time for me to look for a dress for my 30th class reunion. She picked out a beautiful dress for me and now we had different ideas on how much the dress needed to be taken in on me. I did need it taken in a little but Wendy wanted it to have a fitted look and I wanted a comfortable dress (so I could sit and eat in it...that's not important to her!)

Before returning home we stopped to use the restroom at this old hotel (it was now used as a home for veterans). A man about 40 was sitting in this room by himself playing the piano, we stopped to listen and he sang for us a Beatles and an Elton John song. We kept saying this was a real treat for both of us, the whole day had been that way. We headed back down the coast, Wendy showing me the places where she and her kids like to throw rocks into the surf...and I shared with her, how I want to get together soon to take a picture for my class reunion of "my family, her family and Jake (my son 25), all of us together"...then we hugged and thanked each other for an "awesome day together" and parted...she to her home in Ojai and me to Westlake Village.

She called about 5:15 that afternoon, to thank me again for the wonderful day we had togerther. A call beeped in on my line and I said "just a minute". Wendy let me get the line...(my sons girlfriend Gina says "Mary...Jake's been in a very bad accident on his mountain bike...it's bad Mary...I don't think he's going to make it...get here quick". I said "Gina where are you?" She said "Kern Valley Hospital". I said "Gina, let me get Wendy off the line". I beeped over and said "Wendy, Gina said Jake has been in an accident on his mountain bike and he may not make it, I got to get back to her". I said "Gina, what happened?" She said "just get here quick Mary...oh, no (she gasped) mary, they said he's no longer with us!"

"The good men perish; the godly die before their time...No one seems to realize that God is taking them away from evil days ahead. For the godly who die shall rest in peace" Isaiah 57:12.

My mom and I drove 3-1/2 hours to Kern Valley Hospital, and I felt God was saying to me, "Mary, it wasn't an accident. I knew about it before it happened. Mary, I'm taking him away from something worse. He's with me, and he's doing fine." I may not know until eternity all that God spared Jake, but I can rest assured from now until then that Jake is with the Lord, and he is doing fine.

My Life is Forever Changed!

Any advice for the future that you'd like to share? Live always with love and peace in your heart...be ready for God to take you home...be it 25 years old or 100.