The Only Thing Left To Give

Jennifer - Green Bay, Wisconsin
Entered on April 9, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in giving when you don’t think you have anything to give. It was the last weekend I was going to be home for a long time, as I was heading off to college the following weekend. Some friends and I had gotten together for a little going away party. Never did I expect the call I would receive from my father, “Jennifer, Mum is in the hospital, you need to get here as fast as you can.” As I scrambled to my car, someone grabbed the keys out of my hands, refusing to allow me to drive there myself. They’re right, if I would have driven, I would have broken every rule in the book, but man I didn’t think someone could drive so slow.

I remember the agony of realizing my mother had a stroke, at the moment paralysis was a major possibility. The doctors struggled to understand why her strokes were causing seizures. The hours dragged on as I held my younger brother and sisters, fighting back worried tears, as they fought to control their sobs. Soon came the time when she was stabilized enough to visit her. Walking into the ER I saw her beautiful brown eyes well up with puffy tears. She shook her head with great effort and murmured something that we all knew was a strong desire for us not see her the way she was. I rushed to wipe away the tears that she couldn’t. My heart felt as if it was in my stomach; I had never seen my mother this way. As her body began to shake uncontrollably my father nudged us out the door. As more hours passed they found little about her condition and only just began to stabilize her when my father begged us to go home, get some sleep, and return in the morning. Exhausted from worry but awake with fear, we trudged down to the car.

Nearing our car we noticed a couple, distraught over by their car. They explained to us that they were from out of town, leaving the light on as they rushed into the ER left them with a dead battery. I glanced down at the clock, flashing 3:00 am, knowing I had to work at two o’clock that day and wanted to spend as much time at the hospital as possible. I remember the chill in the air, the exhaustion of my mind, the heaviness of my limbs and the worry for my family’s health. We could not pass the lines worn into the man’s face or the heavy look in his wife’s eyes. Starting their car was not easy, after four tries and an hour later, the engine still turned out dead. Discouraged and frustrated they called a tow truck. Promptly they thanked us for the help and comfort we gave them. I couldn’t fix their car, but I gave the only thing I had left to give, comfort.