Blessed Bloomers XXII
Dedicated to Sharon Hickey
through December 2023
It was July 8 of this year. My husband and I were in Washington DC attending a reunion when my phone rang. It said, “Daddy.” Dad knew where I was that day, so I knew his call must have been of importance. I picked it up immediately. “I had to call an ambulance,” he told me, “Mom is really sick.” We left Washington DC immediately and got to the hospital a couple of hours later. Mom was in a room in the emergency department, and she was really sick. She was in agonizing pain in her abdomen, and her belly was so swollen.
“Diverticulitis,” the doctor said. Mom had had that before, but this was worse, and we all knew it.
Dad and I remained at her side as she was admitted, given narcotic pain meds that did not alleviate any of the pain, and suffered greatly. We remained at her side as we begged and pleaded with a nurse and a PA to help her. Sixteen agonizing hours of non-stop pain with no relief was more than Mom could bear. And she told us so.
Hospitals are cold. And I wasn’t dressed for the occasion with bare toes and sandals on my feet. I asked the nurse assistant if she could bring me a pair of hospital socks. Royal blue with white dots and smiley faces on them, those gripper socks were a welcome guest. And, quite emotionally, I noticed that Mom and I were in matching socks, both with small white faces smiling up at us.
It is interesting how a moment in time can really cause you to ponder and even pivot. I looked at Mom there, in such agony, and I pleaded with God for help. Dad I sat at her side, awake, praying, that whole night, until 4:00 a.m., when we could bear it no longer. Another CT scan was ordered, and in a matter of minutes, the ice chips were taken away, Dad was signing surgical consents, and Mom was being whisked into emergency surgery.
Dad and I spent the next three hours in prayer, but we knew, as the chaplain had just told us, that “death was imminent.” Pray. Trust. Hope. Surrender. And then, again. Pray. Trust. Hope. Surrender. I looked down at my little welcome guests, my hospital gripper socks, smiling up at me and wondered if I’d ever smile again. I couldn’t imagine life without Mom.
While Mom was in surgery, I began to look practically at the looming schedule and calendar of events ahead of us. “I’ll cancel everything,” I told Dad. “I’ll cancel my whole summer.” And, quite practically, I did just that. I sent emails and texts and made phone calls, even canceling my shoulder and bicep surgery. “But what about Blessed Bloomers,” I thought. How will we ever get socks and underwear to those who need them? I looked down at my feet, those little guests still smiling at me, and began to cry. It was Mom who first asked us to collect underwear in early 2002. We had just distributed the last of our socks (Shannon’s first project), and Mom asked for men’s underwear for her birthday that year. Blessed Bloomers was born.
By the grace of God, Mom survived that surgery, two more emergency surgeries, two more additional surgeries, two lung procedures, a cardio aversion, 14 days in the Neuro Trauma ICU, and a total of 36 days in the hospital. She has learned how to walk again, still has a wound vac attached to her, and is learning how to adapt to her “new normal” with home healthcare nursing and physical therapy.
It is with great honor and respect for Mom that Dad and I dedicate this year’s collection and distribution of Blessed Bloomers to her. She is a fighter. And so, on her behalf, we will find a way to get new socks and underwear to the homeless and poor men, women and children who need them most.
How You Can Help
Your donation of ANY AMOUNT will be used to purchase new socks, underwear and T-shirts for the homeless and poor.
Donations by check should be mailed to:
P.O. Box 6404
Lancaster, PA 17607
Online donations are accepted through Network for Good.
Please click the button below and specify "Blessed Bloomers 22" in the "Designation" line on the Network for Good website.