My worst fear came true

July 24th, 2019, is a day I’ll never forget. The weather in Northeast Texas had been especially hot, and the sun had set later than expected. My wife had already retired to bed, and I was sitting at my desk. My father-in-law was still awake, and I could hear his television playing an old western from his room. My youngest son, G, was sixteen years old, and his best friend, Ben, was staying over. I could hear them playing video games in the family room. It was another regular summer night for us.

Then the knocking began. At first, it was barely audible. Then it became louder and louder. The knock didn’t sound like a knock at the door. It was more like a heavy-handed slap that was striking the floor. The knock would repeat for several beats, then cease. I had no idea what the source was, so I went to the front of the house, expecting to see G and Ben horseplaying, or worse, Elmer, my father-in-law, hammering on something he shouldn’t be hammering on.

I passed through the study, the master bedroom where my wife was asleep, the kitchen, the dining room where Elmer was seated at the table for some odd reason, and into the family room where I saw Ben playing a video game. That’s when I found the source of the knocking. My son, G, was lying flat on the floor, with one leg folded beneath him. His left arm was lying beside him, and he was using his right arm to bang on the floor. I could see in his eyes nothing but terror and fear.

I spoke to him and asked him, “Son, what’s wrong?” He didn’t answer. I could tell he was breathing and continued staring at me. I knelt beside him and lifted his left arm, which fell immediately to the floor. My sixteen-year-old baby had suffered a stroke.

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