TESTIFY | If I Should Die Before I Wake – Pt. 1

By Pat L. Simmons

It’s a simple child’s prayer most adults take for granted. Of course I expect to wake up after lying down to sleep, I’ve made plans I’ve got things to do. It’s a no-brainer except when I sideline God who orders my destiny. Such was the case on Thursday night, June 30th, 2005, as I sewed, washed, and packed for a family trip to Chicago. I had pushed my body until it ran out of steam at 11:30, an early night.

Dragging myself upstairs, I made a detour to the bathroom, not to use it, but to have some quiet time with God and His Word. I finished Joseph’s escapades in Genesis and entered Exodus. Finally on my knees, I not only prayed the Lord my soul to keep, but I petitioned God to intervene on behalf of my dear prayer partner/sister/friend.

I climbed into bed after my “Amen.” Lovingly, I rubbed the stubborn peach fuss on top of my husband’s thinning hair. A nightly ritual that always irritated him, but amused me. On a normal day when nobody’s working, I’m the last one to hit the sack, and the first to rise. Snuggling into a comfortable position, me and my exhausted body sighed as I drifted into a peaceful sleep. The next day my routine would be shattered.

About five am, Kerry, my husband, got up to use the bathroom, peered at the clock, and had just closed his eyes to steal thirty more minutes when our bed shook.

“Pat, wake up.”

His initial thoughts were “the witch was riding me again,” a phrase sometimes used to describe sleep paralysis where a person is asleep, but has a level of awareness. Attempts to move a limb is thwarted until a sudden jerk like a finger or toe wiggling breaks the yoke. As my body began to shake violently, my husband panicked.

“Jared, Simi, I can’t get your Momma to wake up. Call 911. I think she’s in a coma.”

My sixteen year-old daughter, Simi—short for Simone, raced into our bedroom and cradled me in her arms while Kerry dressed and waited for the ambulance.

“I think she’s having a seizure, dad.”

How she knew, I’m still not sure. She had to seen it on television because it’s not part of school curriculum, and nobody in my family suffers with them. Kerry wasn’t buying it as my eyes rolled back and I involuntarily released body fluids (urinated on myself).

“I thought you were dying, brain dead. Your breathing had a haunting raspy sound. In slow motion, it seemed like life was being sucked out of you,” he later admitted hesitantly, not wanting to recall the scariest moment in his life.

By this time, the commotion startled my oldest awake. Jared, whose head had indented the pillow an hour earlier after arriving home from his overnight job at UPS.

“I woke up when I heard daddy crying. I’ve never heard him crying in all of my twenty years.”

When he came out of his room and approached the master bedroom and saw his dad holding me. Jared couldn’t do it, he couldn’t see me like that so he sprang into action. Jared ran up and down the stairs like a crazy man.

“You looked like you were dead.”

Then he placed frantic calls to 911, shouting, demanding that they hurry up. Somewhere between the paramedics arriving and Jared “acting a fool” during a time of crisis as Simi described him, she ran downstairs and grabbbed our bottle of holy oil. Believing in the power of the Holy Ghost, knowing it, and seeing the manifestication, she annointed my head and prayed. When the ambulance arrived and they asked my family what was my name and called it, my eyes opened and closed again.

“Is she a diabetic?” One of the medical team asked?

“No,” Kerry responded.

They advised my husband I probably had a seizure. They helped me on their stretcher and loaded me into the ambulance. I woke on my back with a woman who wasn’t in my bedroom the before, inserting a needle into vein. I looked around and asked where was I.

“You’re in an ambulance. Your family said you weren’t responding.”

I blinked as my heart sanked. What was she talking about? I’m just fine. Did I die and didn’t known it? All these questions raced through my mind as I remembered the events of the previous night and plans for that day.

“I’ve never been in ambulance before, but I’ve got a hair appointment,” I informed the woman.

“You won’t be getting yout hair done today.”

Without an agrument, I closed my eyes while my husband and daughter trailed the behind. When the ambulance increased the speed eighty-five plus and blared it’s siren, my husband panicked when he couldn’t keep up. He called my son who was riding up front in the ambulance.

“What’s going on? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, dad. They’re just trying to get Momma to the hospital.”

I don’t remember the speed. I don’t remember the sirens, but I do recall the look on my son’s face when paramedics open the back door of the ambulance.

“Momma, what you do that for?” were Jared’s first words.

PART 2 continues tomorrow…


Pat Simmons is the co-publicist at Midwest Publicity, a two-woman team, handling the media publicity for the Romantic Times BOOKlovers’ yearly conventions, and securing interviews for national bestselling authors such as L.A. Banks, Bobbi Smith, Christina Skye, and Heather Graham.

She holds a B.S. in Mass Communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. She is married and has a daughter and son attending college. Her hobbies/interests include conversations with dead people, whether it’s her own genealogy, or an incredible tale weaved by a stranger on a park bench. To Pat, both are equally captivating. Pat prides herself on dressing in the latest fashions created with her twenty year-old Kenmore sewing machine.

Her novels include Guilty of Love (September 2007) and Talk To Me (November 2008).