I love a new year and the feeling it brings of new beginnings. Ambition for improving ourselves and our circumstances is prevalent this time of year. Other times we may have to hit rock bottom before we gain a strong desire to repair, restore or restart our life, but with a new year it seems to come automatically.
During the time Mark was comatose after our car accident I hit rock bottom. I questioned my faith and at times wonder if my hope in Mark’s recovery was misplaced. The doctors, nurses and therapists were not optimistic and when I was hopeful, they said I was unrealistic. One even stated I looked through rose colored glasses. I understood their job was to keep him alive, but without hope for improvement, life was beginning to seem worse than death. After two life-saving surgeries, many tests with one health crisis after another and five weeks of Mark being in a coma, I realized this was no way to live. In my darkest hour I knelt at my bedside in prayer looking for direction. I asked God why my prayers weren’t being answered. Was I lacking faith? What did I need to do differently? I was exhausted and wondered if this nightmare would ever end. I was worried I didn’t have the strength to endure life this way. As I knelt in prayer looking for inspiration, in my despair a question came to my mind. Do you believe in miracles? Yes, I believe in miracles! Then assurance came —If you believe, you will see miracles wrought before your eyes. Remember, some miracles take time.
The next morning I arose with encouragement and the insight to have a heart to heart conversation with Mark. Eagerly I fixed breakfast for the kids, then got myself ready for the day. After breakfast, I hurried Christopher and Katie out the door for school. I reminded them of our new (five week old) after school schedule for them to go next door to play until I returned home from the hospital. As they ran off I shouted, “I love you and I’ll see you before dinner.” Saying “I love you” before every departure became a new habit. I knew for certain how fragile life is and I always wanted them to know of my love and to be able to tell them became a privilege, that their Dad no longer had. You never know when it will be your last chance to say it.
Shortly after the kids were gone, my mother picked me up and drove me 60 miles to McKay-Dee Hospital. This was another part of our new schedule. Since our car was totaled and my collarbone was broken, I couldn’t drive myself. I hated being dependent on so many people, but I was grateful for their willingness to help me. On our way to Ogden, Utah, I told Mom about the doctor’s phone call from the night before. He informed me of Mark’s liver infection and ask for my permission to do a biopsy and treat treatment it.
Mom usually stayed with me, but this was not going to be like our regular hospital visits. The nurse stopped us just outside Mark’s room. After giving us the report of how the night went with my brother at Mark’s bedside, she explained that due to his liver infection and high white cell count, he was in isolation. “This treatment is worse than chemotherapy,” she said. “Only one person will be allowed in his room at a time and you must wear a surgical mask over your mouth, a disposable gown over your clothes, surgical gloves and shoe covers. Wait here and I’ll go get you the items.”
Filled with more worry, I looked at Mark through the big glass window and noticed the new medication dripping in his IV. When the nurse returned, I put on the required paraphernalia. I looked and sounded like a paper doll walking into his room with the blue paper shoe covers and paper gown. I scooted the chair around so I could face Mark as I took a seat next to him. I held his hand, but it felt different with the gloves on. Now I was not only missing the sight of his eyes and the sound of his voice, but the feel of his skin.
“Mark”, I said muffled through the mask. “Can you hear me?” I felt water filling my eyes so I blinked hard and a tear escaped. He could not speak, but his spirit reassured me he could hear so I continued. “I’m sorry you are so sick. I’m sorry about the car accident and I’m sorry you got injured. I wish I could change that day. I wish I could trade you places. I couldn’t bear to let you go. Have I been wrong? Have I willed you to stay here? Are you stuck between heaven and earth? You’ve fought a good fight. Are you tired of fighting? I love you Mark. Christopher and Katie love you. They miss you and ask every day when they can see you and when you’re going to come home. I don’t know what to tell them. If you can’t come home I will accept it. If it’s time for you to leave us and go to your heavenly home we’ll be okay. You don’t have to keep fighting for us.”
Those words were the hardest yet most humble and heartfelt words I’d ever spoken. His spirit reassured me he was on his way back, encouraging me to not give up hope, he would be coming home. His spirit filled mine with renewed hope.
Many authors write about psychic powers in fiction books, but this is real life. Our spirits actually communicated and it was a magnificent and enlightening experience. The first of a few we had during the time he was in his coma.
A few days after the intense treatment for liver infection, Mark’s white cell count decreased and his red cell count increased. He was winning the battle of the cells, which confirmed my renewed hope was not misplaced. While in his coma, Mark’s body was repairing from the inside so his health could be restored and he could restart a new life. Sometimes we just need hope and a reminder to hold on—pain ends.