When My Husband Fell Off a Roof

I turned quickly as I heard a sound. My husband Kelly was up on the roof of a house, and I saw a blur as he fell off the roof. It’s amazing how many different thoughts can go through your mind at a time like that, and so quickly too. He can’t be falling, he’s always so good with climbing. What if he dies and I am alone in Mexico without him? Is he hurt? He’s not moaning… Oh God, please help!

My thoughts stopped as I heard him speaking. “I’m sorry, that was stupid… I’m sorry, that was really stupid.”

So he could talk. And he hadn’t actually fallen very far. Yes, it had been off the roof but we were on a steep hillside and he had fallen onto the land no more than a couple of yards below.

I could hardly breathe. My body felt tight.

“Honey,” I said. “Honey…”

I didn’t know what to say or what to do.

I took a deep breath and looked at him. He didn’t show any major damages. He was still muttering his apologies.

“I hear you,” a voice said. Oh, that was me. “Now take it easy. Stop apologizing and just breathe. Yes, good. Take in a breath and let it out.”

He was doing it.

“Now feel how your breaths are bringing healing energy into your body, you know, the healing that comes from God…”

He grunted his agreement.

I continued talking in a soothing tone and I could see that he wasn’t writhing any more. I felt how much I loved him and how much we had been through together in the many years we’d been married. I couldn’t think how many it was, and my mind registered that that was odd, since I am usually such a number person.

My love for him was permeating my awareness. I just appreciated who he was and how he carried out his life with courage and integrity. Weird, I thought to myself, Kelly might need first aid and I’m just standing here thinking about his integrity?

The sense of love grew stronger. Now it wasn’t just my love for him, it was God’s love for him, God’s love for me, God’s love for Creation as it surrounded us on this tropical hillside, the banana plants, the lake below us…

I suddenly had a moment of knowing that everything was okay. Not that everything would be okay in the sense that Kelly would be fine, but that everything was always okay. No matter what. God’s presence was so strong in that moment that I really got it. Everything was okay.

Wow, that wasn’t how my everyday self felt. But it was… well, heavenly.

With that settled, I could turn my attention to the practicalities.

“How do you feel, Kelly?” I asked.

“I’m okay,” he said. That was so characteristic that I almost laughed.

“Don’t get up yet, in case you have injuries,” I said. “Can you kind of scan your body while you are lying there and tell me what you notice?”

He reported that he was sore where the cement pipe had given way and hit him. His ribs hurt.

“Shall I call an ambulance?” Miguel, the realtor we were with, asked. I wondered if he had been beside me all along, as I’d been so fixated on Kelly.

“Yes,” I said.

“No,” Kelly said.

“I think I’d better,” Miguel said. And soon it came. Kelly told me to be sure to take his camera, which he had set on the edge of the roof just before he fell. Again, I thought, how characteristic. His camera was fine. They put Kelly on a stretcher and carried him up to the ambulance, and they let me ride in it too.

We learned at the clinic that he had a couple of cracked ribs.

He couldn’t climb up into the bed in our small motorhome, so we got a pad for him to sleep on the floor. He couldn’t drive or even comfortably travel, so we stayed camped in the pleasant spot we were in, and that led to making some new friends.

Four Gifts from My Prayer

When he fell, my prayer was, well, minimal. Sure, I prayed for him later… in the ambulance and clinic, and during his weeks of recovery. But there were gifts in my experience:

  1. I felt that the tiny prayer I had uttered during the crisis had been answered way out of proportion. I haven’t forgotten that. Every little bit helps!
  2. A calm competence, not exactly characteristic of me when stressed, took me over.
  3. That absolutely overwhelming sense of love was for everything.
  4. Somehow I knew everything was okay.

I wouldn’t recommend going through something like that in order to feel God’s love, but I can still remember each of these gifts, and I still draw on them now, over ten years later.

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