The girl sat all alone at the hospital, keeping watch over her sick mother.
At the age of 17, girls should be worrying about homework and finding a perfect dress for the prom.
But this girl was by herself at a Nashville hospital, preparing to stay the night, getting up in the morning, driving to Fairview to school, then to the Cool Springs fast food restaurant where she works and going back to the hospital to sleep. She had been doing that for four days.
GraceWorks West manager Kristin Ertel already knew the story. Two days earlier, the girl arrived in her office in Fairview with an electric bill in her hand.
“She came in as soon as we opened, looking exhausted and extremely nervous,” Ertel said.
As they talked, Ertel discovered the mother had been taken to the hospital two days before. The two live across the street from GraceWorks West, and Ertel recognized them from previous visits to the office.
“The daughter didn’t really know what was wrong with her mom, except for pneumonia and they had her mom on oxygen, but she thought she would only have to stay one more night,” Ertel said.
The electric bill was taken care of, and Ertel saw another immediate need. It was a chilly January morning, and the girl was wearing only a light wrap. Ertel gave her a new winter coat from the GraceWorks thrift store.
After not hearing any news for a couple of days, Ertel called the hospital and was told the mother had been moved to ICU and was being prepared for a procedure. Knowing the daughter was alone, she called longtime GraceWorks volunteer Art Herron, who immediately went to the hospital to sit with her.
As of Feb. 1, the mother was still in the hospital – and GraceWorks was still helping.
Herron picked up gas gift cards from the GraceWorks office for the daughter to use in traveling back and forth from the hospital to school and work.
He also started a computer fund for the daughter. She has received a scholarship to Columbia State and needs a computer. So far, $150 has been raised. Contribution information is available by calling Ertel at (615) 799-0006 or by email here.
“The mom and daughter are both so grateful for our support, prayers and compassion to care enough to be with them at the hospital,” Ertel said. “She is an amazing 17-year-old, and we have been so lucky to share life with this family.”