Fifteen years ago we received the phone call that every parent dreads. Shortly after going to bed the phone rang and on the other end the person informed us that our son had been in an accident. We were told that he was in critical condition and that his chances of making it through the night were slim and that the chaplain was with him. The doctor went on to say that our son had a brain injury and broken bones and if he did live through the night we were in for a roller coaster ride. My husband told the doctor that we would be there as soon as we could.
The weather was so stormy when we left for Raleigh, North Carolina that my husband could hardly see the road. It wasn’t until we were on the way that we learned the accident had been a hit and run. In that moment we had to do one of the hardest things possible – We prayed and asked God to forgive the person who was responsible, and released them into His hands.
Upon arriving at the hospital we were greeted by our son’s doctor. He kept telling us to brace ourselves because what we were about to see would not look like our son. He was right. Between the swelling, the tubes, the machines, and the bandages it was hard to recognize him. After seeing our son we were told that someone was waiting for us in the office downstairs. Upon arriving in the office we sat down at a desk which had a lot of papers laid out waiting for our signatures. The papers they wanted us to sign were papers granting them permission to harvest our son’s organs. My husband told them, “No” and that he wanted everything done to keep our son alive.
It was indeed a roller coaster ride, but God was faithful through it all. He knows what we will face and are facing. God in His great mercy began preparing us for this time in our life long before it occurred. The night of our son’s accident God placed a miracle believing Christian doctor in the traumatic brain injury unit of the hospital where our son was taken.
We left home on Dec 2,1999 to go to the hospital and returned in the spring of 2000. During this time we only came home one time for a few days. God provided for us the entire time we were gone. We come to know GOD IS MY PROVIDER in a very real way. We never lacked anything or got behind in bills. There were times that we would get in the elevator and there would be someone in it, that we had never seen before, who would reach out to shake our hand and in their hand would be money, sometimes a $100 or more. They would say, “God said to give you this” then they would step off the elevator. We did not know anyone in Raleigh, but God provided by sending people to the hospital on a regular basis with food, money and encouragement.
For the first several days we stayed at the hospital day and night, then we were given a motel room for two nights. After that we spent the night on the floor of the hospital outside the unit where Michael was for about a week or so. However, GOD STILL PROVIDED for us. Someone from a motel heard about us and they gave us a motel room free of charge for the rest of the time that we were there.
One day while in our son’s room his nurse said to my husband, “We have all been wondering what you do that allows you to be here with you son this long.” His response to her was, “It’s not what I do, it’s who I know. My God provides everything we need.”
We went to church each week that we were away because we needed the strength that you get from worshipping with other believers. On the Sunday before Christmas a woman that was sitting in front of us turned to us after the service and asked if she could bring us dinner that week. Arrangements were made for her to take the food to the hospital cafeteria then call us when she was ready for us. Upon entering the cafeteria we could not believe our eyes. There before us was lay the most beautiful table I’ve ever seen. The table was covered with a white table cloth and on it lay real china, silver serving trays and dishes and crystal glasses. The verse in the Bible that says “I will prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies” came to mind. I think this wonderful act of kindness was God reassuring us that He is our Shepherd, that He is with us and that He will provide whatever it is we need.
As it grew close to Christmas everywhere you turned you would hear people saying what they wanted for Christmas. While praying one day I told God that I would like for our son to breath on his own by Christmas. Christmas day came and went and our son was still on the respirator. The day after Christmas, while sitting in the waiting room, a nurse came out to get us. When we went in to our son’s room his doctor was standing at the head of the bed and his greeting to us was, “Merry Christmas!” then he took our son off the respirator – he was able to breath on his own. GOD HEARS OUR PRAYERS and He answers in His time. He is never early and He is never later. He is an on time God.
GOD ENCOURAGED US EVERY DAY. One day while in our son’s room a man came in to change a light bulb. He climbed the ladder to take the bulb out and while he was on the ladder he looked down at us and said, “God said your son is going to be alright.”
Many of the hospital workers told us that they felt a special peace when they were in our son’s room. I am so thankful for the special peace that God gives us when we are going through trials.
Because of our son’s condition the doctors were not immediately able to do an MRI. When he was strong enough his doctor came to us and told us that the army wanted an MRI done. As I said before, our son’s doctor was a Christian. His advice to us was not to have it done. He said that the only thing the MRI would show was damage that man cannot fix and for us to keep believing that God would heal our son. We took his advice and continued to put our faith in God. GOD IS THE GREAT PHYSICIAN.
By the end of December our son was out of the coma and breathing on his own. One night while leaving our son’s room for the evening, a nurse stopped us and said, “Your son’s getting better, but the rest of the patient’s in here aren’t. Can you pray for them tonight also?” On December 31 our son was moved out of ICU. Prior to leaving the unit his nurse told us that every New Year’s Eve they move all the patients that they can out of the unit because it is a very busy night for them. The amount of accidents that the area experiences involving brain injuries on that night is so great they even bring in extra nurses and doctors for the evening. She asked us to pray for them. A few days later we stopped by the ICU to say hello to our son’s old nurse and she told us that they did not have any new patients on New Year’s Eve. PRAYER CHANGES THINGS.
When it was time for our son to leave the hospital we had to make a decision about where he should go to rehab at. We were given several choices. After much prayer, we decided on Richmond Virginia. It was a long ride in the ambulance there. As soon as we walked into the rehab hospital I wondered if we had made the right decision. The traumatic brain injury unit was the most depressing (and spiritual dark) place I’ve ever been. My eyes questioned our being there but we knew that we had prayed about it and that is where God led us. GOD WILL LED YOU WHERE YOU DON’T REALLY WANT TO GO. Even here God provided for us. We were able to stay at a guest house the entire time that our son was at rehab. During the day we would go to the rehab to help with our son‘s. At first the doctors wanted us to go home, but my husband told them we weren’t going to leave our son. We saw many young men who had brain injuries and it seemed to us that the ones that were left by their families did not do as well as those who had families around. When they saw that we were not going to leave, the doctors included us in our son’s rehab. At rehab our son had to learn how to do everything all over. He had to learn how to walk, talk and even eat. While our son was learning how to eat, each day my husband would go to KFC and get a little cup of mashed potatoes and gravy for him.
When our son was strong enough we would get week-end passes for him. Sometimes we would take him to see old friends and sometimes we would just go out to eat and then spend the week-end driving around or at the guest house.
OUR STEPS ARE ORDERED BY GOD. While at the rehab we met several people that we know God ordained for us to. One man was an elderly Jewish man who was one of our son’s roommates. When we prayed in our son’s room we could tell that he was listening. One day he commented on how he felt there was something different about us. From then on while our son was in therapy we spent many hours talking to him about God and His Son Jesus.
Another elderly man in the rehab gave our son some advice on day that everyone could use. He said, “When you go to bed at night kick your shoes under the bed. Then in the morning you will have to get down on your knees to get your shoes out from under the bed. While you’re down on your knees thank God He has given you another day.”
GOD’S MERCIES ARE NEW EVERY DAY. Throughout our son’s time in the hospital and rehab, as well as the months and years after he was home, God’s mercy brought us through. God has shown Himself to be the GREAT I AM. Fifteen years later I can honestly say I wouldn’t take anything for the journey.