Sisters in Scripture
   
Blog Posts by Kathleen Macinnis Kichline
 
Randall
6/8/2018  Kathleen MacInnis Kichline

Friday it will be three months exactly; three months was how long they told him he had to live.  I will not know, of course, exactly when he goes.  We only met that one time.  
 
He’d come to Seattle for treatment at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Care Center.  And now he wanted to go home, back to Arizona.  But here he was instead at our door.  A 2-hour bus ride had taken him north of the city in hopes of finding a last remaining elderly relative, only to discover she had died.  Then he landed briefly back in the local hospital and it was just a couple blocks walk from there to the church.  
 
He wanted anointing, the Sacrament of the Sick.  While we waited for the pastor to return, I invited him to my office and brought him a glass of water.  Grateful, he slumped into the chair, removed his cap, and quickly drank the glass of water.  He was tall, but bent, and thin, carrying too few pounds on his long frame.  He had two hospital bracelets on his bruised left wrist and though his skin was lined and ashen, his hair was still brown. His name was Randall and he was it turns out, just 51 years old.  
 
I remarked on his New York accent and yes, he was born in the Bronx. He’d been a NYC firefighter. He’d been in fact, one of the firefighters who’d responded on 9/11.  He did not offer the information easily, but church walls have a way of opening folks up.  It all came out.  His station had responded that day and they had all rushed into the north tower when his captain asked him and his buddy, Mike, to go back to the truck for a piece of equipment.  On their way out, they found a man in the stairwell with a broken leg and they’d carried him out.  Soon as they’d cleared a distance from the building, the plane hit.  Everyone else from their station was lost.  He and Mike and other firefighters spent the next several months pulling debris and parts of bodies from the ruins.  His voice broke and his eyes welled with tears.  "That man on the stairs was the only one we ever saved.”  
 
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