Sister Julienne couldn't manage any further words to comfort Shelagh beyond that point. She couldn't bear the thought that Shelagh might potentially be on a journey to the heavenly host whom she had devotedly served for nearly a decade, although she realized that it was selfish.
As Sister Julienne began to accept that Shelagh may no longer walk on the earth by her side, Shelagh was very slowly coming back to consciousness. As Doctor Evans, she would later learn his name, left the room, Shelagh could feel herself beginning to come back into the present. With each line of Psalm 91 that Sister Julienne recited by her bed, Shelagh's understanding and grip of the conscious world grew more robust. The words of Psalm 91, an integral part of compline and a verse that had shepherded her through several small uncertainties, took on a new meaning when she realized that Sister Julienne was weeping as she spoke them.
Although Shelagh wanted to speak, she didn't have the strength to form words. "How long have I been asleep" she wondered in her head before drifting out of consciousness once again.
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Shelagh heard Sister Julienne whisper after a short while.
John 14:27- a verse early in her marriage supported Shelagh through her exploratory procedure and Patrick's exhaustion. Suddenly, the strength to respond welled up within Shelagh.
"Sister?" Shelagh whispered as she opened her eyes.
"My dear Shelagh," Sister Julienne whispered as tears welled in her eyes.
"Oh, Sister," Shelagh managed before she slipped back into a slumber. Although she wanted to stay awake and know everything from the past several days, Shelagh couldn't fight the need to sleep any longer.
Slowly, the evening faded into night, and Doctor Evans returned to check Shelagh once again. Upon his entrance to the room, Sister Julienne felt unfounded anxiety about what he might say when she told him that Shelagh had woken for a few precious moments, but had quickly fallen asleep.
"Hello, Sister," Doctor Evans greeted as he entered the room.
"Greetings Doctor Evans," Sister Julienne returned.
"I'm just going to conduct my checks now. Have you noticed any changes in Mrs. Turner's condition?"
Sister Julienne hesitated for a brief moment, anxious, before quietly responding, "She woke for a few fleeting moments, but fell back to sleep."
" I see, Sister. Did she say anything?"
"Yes, only a few words, but she did speak."
"I'd say that's all we'll see for a while. Based on what I see tonight, I would wager that it will be a week or so before truly wakes up. It isn't uncommon for this type of thing to happen."*
"I see Doctor, Thank you."
"I'll take my leave now, Sister. Goodnight."
Sister Julienne's heart shattered; she knew that Shelagh was close to coming back to them. Quietly, the tears flowed down her face as she prayed that Shelagh would prove Doctor Evans wrong.
"Dear Lord, I pray that you leave your piece with Shelagh. Let her feel your healing hands as she fights against this medication that has made her so ill. By your hands Lord, may your will be done, may she be healed. Lord, I pray that you present yourself into Doctor Evans's life, and provide your will to guide his hands as he cares for Shelagh. May your will be carried out as commanded on earth as it is in heaven. In your name, I pray for Shelagh, Doctor Evans, and Patrick Turner. Amen."
The room then fell into silence as a broken-hearted Sister Julienne continued in silent prayer. Although part of her religious obligations, prayer had a soothing effect on Sister Julienne. Something about acknowledging the elements of life and the emotions that accompanied those elements. It was as if the words that filled her head formed a song, unique in pattern as a fingerprint or strand of DNA, that lifted her heart towards the heavens. It wasn't long after she started that a small whimper, and then a voice broke Sister Julienne's prayers.
"Sister?" Shelagh whimpered, "Sister, are you there?"
"Yes, my dear Shelagh," Sister Julienne soothed as she began to caress Shelagh's hand, "I'm here; I will not leave your side."
"Sister? Will you hold me? I-I feel so lost, and as though I'm the only person here."
Patrick Turner found the two clinging to each other the next morning. It broke his heart to see how tightly his wife clung to her beloved Sister Julienne, and although Patrick's heart hurt that he couldn't help Shelagh, he knew deep down that the right thing to do was give her the people she needed when she needed them. As Patrick sat down in the chair next to Shelagh's bed, he noticed that Sister Julienne was beginning to stir, before finally waking up.
"Good morning, Doctor Turner." Sister Julienne spoke groggily.
"Morning, Sister, how is she?" Patrick queried
Sister Julienne wasn't entirely sure how to answer his question. Although Shelagh had woken up, she hadn't spoken much, and Sister Julienne wasn't quite sure what to make of what little Shelagh did say the night prior.
"I'm not quite sure, Doctor Turner."
"Shelagh barely spoke last night when she did wake up, and what little she did speak was more of a plea for help."
"Oh, dear, Oh, Sister."
The room once again plunged into silence, as Sister Julienne's stomach rolled with the thought of telling Doctor Turner, how little faith his locum was putting into Shelagh's strength and ability to heal and overcome.
"Doctor Turner?" Sister Julienne spoke after a while.
"Yes, Sister?" he responded tentatively.
"Doctor Evans came while you were out."
"What did he say? Will she make a full recovery?"
"Doctor Evans believes it will be several weeks before she wakes up. Even after I told him that Shelagh woke for a few moments."
Patrick Turner was speechless, speechless, and upset with the one person that he trusted to care for his wife other than himself and Sister Julienne. He couldn't take it anymore; he couldn't leave Shelagh alone with only Sister Julienne only to be treated so poorly by the person who was supposed to be healing her. Was it time to take Shelagh to The London? Taking Shelagh away from familiar settings for better consultants and excellent staff who would help her improve and return home might have more dire consequences.
*= I just wanted to be dramatic here, because I don't know about you, but I'm OVER like none other (hilarious, because he's my own character!)