Bobbie was fifty-seven years old when she was admitted to hospice. I’ve known Bobbie’s husband, Randy, for well-nigh forty years. We both worked for Southern Ohio Medical Center; Randy worked in plant maintenance and I’ve worked as a medical Social Worker. But I never knew Bobbie, which is understandable seeing that Bobbie had worked for thirty-three years in the radiology department, which is somewhat secluded. Bobbie stated, “My first five years were doing x-rays; the next five years I did CT scans and for the rest of the time I did MRI’s. I loved doing MRI’s.”
I asked Randy and Bobbie how their paths crossed and Bobbie stated that the radiology department frequently called maintenance for repairs and Randy was frequently the one who responded. Randy interjected, “She stalked me”. I told Randy, “I have a feeling that it was the other way around.” Then Bobbie confessed, “I did! I do MRI’s so I’m a numbers person and I made the numbers work for me. I found out what times he took his breaks and I took mine at the same time. I made sure we were in the cafeteria at the same time.” I asked Randy if he played “hard to get: and he insisted, “I was just reeling her in real slow, a little at a time”. Randy added, “She always wore her hair all pouffed-out, like she held her head out a car window. She loved those big hairdos. One day when her hair looked flat I told her, ‘You need to plug your hair back into a receptacle’”. Bobbie exclaimed, “That’s what my daddy always told me; and I’m a daddy’s girl.” I would have never imagined in a thousand years that a girl would bite on a pick-up line like that, but the hook was set! When I looked over at Randy he was looking pretty proud of himself.
It’s been almost three years since Bobbie was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer. She reflected, “God prepared me for this. Around July, about five months before I was diagnosed, out of nowhere I felt like something bad was going to happen. It was unexplainable. It scared me to death! I didn’t know what it was. I thought that something might be going to happen with the kids. Then two or three months later I had the feeling again and I felt like I really needed to get ready. I was supposed to go to mom and dads that Sunday, but I called them and told them that I couldn’t come, that I had to go to church; that it was about me and God.
“I didn’t see how all along God was preparing me until I looked back. One day the Siemens representative was working on some of our equipment at work and I asked him, ‘What does your wife do?’ and he said, ‘She’s a preacher’. I admitted to him that I was away from church and he held out his hands and told me, ‘God is just waiting for you to come back home.’ Then one of our housekeepers saw me in the hall and said, ‘I don’t know where you are with God but you can see Heaven from Hell, and you don’t want to see your daddy walking on the streets of gold and not be able to join him.’ I’m a daddy’s girl so that’s all it took.”
About two months after recommitting her life to God Bobbie was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer. Bobbie concluded, “God was preparing me all along.” Randy testified, “She’s never been the same since. She can’t sit still at church. She shouts. And we were at the church for a bible study and she went in the rest room. She said they were dirty so she got a mop and bucket and cleaned all three toilets.” Bobbie explained, “I’m just so glad that God would let me do something for Him. I just want to do something for Him.”
And Randy has also given his heart to God. And I would have never imagined in a thousand years that Randy would be opening up services and even leading songs. Randy said, “Our favorite song is ‘One Day at a Time Sweet Jesus’”. But the song that I’m reminded of when I consider the change that God effected in Bobbie and Randy’s lives is “He Touched Me”, by The Gaither Family:
He touched me, Oh He touched me,
And Oh the joy that floods my soul!
Something happened and now I know,
He touched me and made me whole…
I will never cease to praise Him,
I’ll shout it while eternity rolls.”
I asked Bobbie, “If you had one message to give to people what would it be?” Bobbie immediately replied, “I would tell people that if God is tugging at your heart for any reason that you need to respond. He doesn’t talk like you and I are talking right now but you know it when God is talking to you. You know!
“Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…” (Hebrews 3:15)
Loren Hardin is a hospice social worker at Southern Ohio Medical Center and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 740-356-2525