I am in Dallas because of my daughter. Otherwise, I’d be back home in Slidell, Louisiana, with my husband, Bradford, and our family. Before Hurricane Katrina, my 28-year-old daughter LaShonda, her 11-year-old daughter and her 7-year-old son lived nearby. My home sustained some water damage, but LaShonda lost everything she owned.

When Katrina began bearing down, Bradford and I were in Oklahoma, attending a funeral. When we got back to Slidell, we waded through waist-high water and dodged trees and fallen power lines to get home. Over the next few days, our family was reunited. But there were no working telephones. No electricity. No water. We couldn’t stay.

Friends connected us with a man in Tyler, Texas, who let eight of us share his three-bedroom trailer with his family of three. He then introduced us to his brother and sister-in-law, Howard and Mary Wesley, in Dallas, who rented us the house next door to theirs. The Wesleys are active in ministry at the Potter’s House church. They and the church have been very supportive, and the church has given us a lot of practical items—clothing, toothbrushes, wastebaskets. My main goal was to get LaShonda and her kids settled in and then return home. But LaShonda’s health took a turn for the worse.

Six years ago, LaShonda was diagnosed with sarcoma, a form of cancer, and had to have her leg amputated. The cancer returned a few years ago, but she got around fine and was so positive that most people didn’t even know her leg was missing. We both thought she could make it here on her own, especially with the Wesleys next door. But she started having problems breathing and asked me to take her to the hospital. There, the doctors told us she is terminally ill. I’ve seen the X-rays, and I know it’s only by the grace of God that she’s breathing. When they admitted her to a nursing home, I put everything in God’s hands and remained at her side.

We sent LaShonda’s children to live with relatives. My husband and other family members drive 17 hours round trip to visit us most weekends. As a result of Katrina, my kids and grandkids, brothers, sister and friends are now scattered across the country—Nebraska, Utah, Wisconsin, Texas. Not having them around is difficult. My friends are also trying to get their lives back together. I may never see some of them again. However, I’m thankful for the Wesleys and the church’s hospital ministry.

Being here alone with LaShonda has taught me how important family is. The little arguments are senseless. I feel that you should never walk away from a person you love without letting them know how you feel—even when you argue and disagree. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

I believe she and I are in Dallas for a reason. Just recently her health has miraculously improved. She is now able to walk with her walker even though she was bedridden just a short time ago! She tells me it isn’t God’s will for her to be sick—that one day she’ll travel in order to share her testimony about how God healed her. I’m going to be right there beside her as a witness to what God can do.