Chapter Seventeen: Home

The procedure was a success. The doctors were cautiously optimistic about Natalie’s chances for recovery. She had to stay in ICU for a while, with absolutely no non-medical visitors. The flowers didn’t stop coming, however. They just accumulated on a table set up in the hallway outside her door.

Finally, after 6 weeks in the hospital, Natalie was strong enough to go home. Her doctors were now very optimistic about her prognosis, and were encouraged by the test results. She was told to take it easy, but she could slowly resume normal, low-key activities.

Two weeks after returning home, Natalie was walking her neighborhood, seeing signs of summer all around her. Trees and flowers were in full bloom, bees were buzzing around the honeysuckle, and the birds were singing their happy songs. Natalie looked around at the beauty in her world with fresh eyes. She kept her walk short, as she still tired easily. Michael had a small “Welcome Back” celebration planned he said – just a few friends – and she wanted to be sure she had energy for that.

When she got back to her house, she saw Michael was waiting in the driveway. He’d come to take care of everything for the celebration while Natalie rested. He wouldn’t tell her the details, just that he had some friends of hers coming over to welcome her home.

“How’s it going, beautiful? I’m so glad to see you up and out,” he said to her, kissing her cheek.

She returned his greeting with a hug. “I’m fantastic. Still a little tired, but so very grateful to be tired. I still don’t trust that everything will be OK, but I’m trying to believe. Thank you for everything. I’m really looking forward to this afternoon. Who’s coming?”

“It’s a surprise,” Michael said with a wink.

A horn behind them made them jump. A florist’s delivery van had stopped in front of her house, with two guys in the front seat. A twenty-something kid leaned out the window.

“Hey, are you Natalie?” he asked.

“Yes,” she answered.

“Well, we’ve got some flowers for you. Hang on.”

Natalie looked at Michael, who shrugged. The two of them approached the van as two guys got out. The delivery guys went around to the back of the van, opened the door, and pulled out two huge floral arrangements: red roses mixed with pink snapdragons.

Natalie gasped. “Oh, these are beautiful! Who are these from? Is there a card?”

She let the two deliverymen into the house, and directed them to put the arrangements in the living room, on either side of the fireplace hearth. One of them handed her a card, a thick ivory envelope, and Michael walked the pair out.

Natalie’s name was written across the envelope in a bold handwriting she recognized from the note that was with her CD. Her new heart was pounding in her chest. She sunk into one of her overstuffed chairs as she opened the envelope. She pulled out a beautiful “Thank You” card, not unlike the one she sent all those long months ago, and opened it.

Our Very Dear Natalie:

Welcome home, sweetheart! We wish we could be with you, but know our thoughts and love were sent along with these pretty posies.

Thank you for inspiring four rather ordinary men to do an extraordinary thing.

Thank you for being so brave, so genuine, and so, well, you. Let us give you some of our words – they’re yours forever, babe. Whenever we sing them, know we will be thinking of you.

I'll be here for you ‘til Kingdom come … I'll be there for you, these five words I swear to you … A penny for your thoughts now baby.

Faithful Forever,
Jon, Richie, Tico, David

Michael came back into the living room, and stopped cold. “Natalie, what is it? Are you OK?” He rushed to her side. “Do you need me to call the doctor?”

“No, I’m OK. Michael, this card is from the Jovi boys. Look at this. What do they mean, that I inspired them to do something extraordinary? What did I do? What did they do?” She looked into Michael’s eyes, and saw something there. “What did you do?”

Michael told Natalie everything.
... About Michael putting his personal note in the cards she sent.
... About the band arranging for the concert
... About Patti coming to the hospital every day.
... About the source of the flowers that were always in her room.
... About keeping Jon in the loop on what was happening.
... About Jovi Air coming to the rescue when MedFlight wasn’t available.

With tears in her eyes, Natalie looked at Michael, and said, “I think I need to send another card.”


Tara Leigh said...

I shamelessly needed the happy ending. LOL! I know life isn't about them, but I'm glad I got one. LOL

Thanks Jenn. This was wonderful.

Anonymous said...

As I am typing this there are tears rolling down my cheeks. This is a fabulous story.