"Dare to Believe"
by Linda Shublak, Fort Huachuca, Arizona
I awoke early November 30 last year wrapped in romantic thoughts
David and I had been married less than two months, and it was
thrilling to open my eyes and find my handsome 35-year-old husband
doing his warm-up exercises beside the bed before his daily run.
He leaned down, kissed me, and slipped one of his two dog-tag chains
around my neck. "Wear these till I come home" he whispered before
David was a major in military intelligence at Fort Huachuca, and as
I fingered his tags around my neck, I thanked God for bringing us
I glanced at the clock, jumped up and showered. I had joined a Red
Cross class. Before leaving for class, I wrote David a love note.
While I was taping it on the bathroom mirror, I heard the wail of
sirens. I paused to pray for whoever was injured, as I had done
since I was a little girl. Then I went off to class, not realizing I
had just prayed for my own husband.
I was in class when David's Commanding Officer appeared at the
doorway and motioned for me to come into the hall. One look at his
face told me something was wrong. He gave me the news as calmly as
he could: "David was hit by a car while he was jogging. The car was
traveling at 55 miles per hour. His condition is serious."
When we got to the hospital, medics were moving him onto a flight
for the University Medical Center (UMC) in Tucson, 75 miles away. I
was in a state of shock as the Colonel's wife drove me there.
The neurosurgeon looked directly into my face. "Your husband is
dying" he said. "He has two to forty-eight hours, at most."
I wanted to scream at him or ask if he could be wrong. But I had
always been too polite to question people in authority. The doctor
was towering over me now. "You should call your family and get them
here fast" the neurosurgeon was saying. "And I see your husband
marked "donor" on his driver's license, so you'll need to think
about donating his organs."
Suddenly the room seemed to be closing in. I had to get outside.
"Thank you" I said. "Excuse me, I have to go pray now." I stumbled
to an outside patio and sank down onto a bench. How can this be
happening? How can David be dying?
By the time David"s father, mother and brother, Mark, arrived at the
hospital, David had sunk into coma. A kind neurosurgeon, Dr. William D.
Smith, was now on David's case, but the prognosis was bleak. When
doctors shone a light in David's eyes, there was no response.
Forty-eight hours passed. Dr. Smith told us the monitor showed
pressure on the brain that was incompatible with life. "Clinically,
your husband is brain dead" he explained gently.
On the fifth day after the accident, when David's condition did not
change, well-meaning friends drew up a list of how many of his
organs could be used to help those in dire condition. Arrangements
were made for David to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. I
understood the others' motivation . I had put my husband in God's
hands and would accept whatever happened. But I couldn't shake the
feeling that neither God nor I was ready to give him up.
When I went to my room, I felt lower than ever. Tears streaming down
my face, I took my Bible to bed. "God, if David is truly dead and
it's your will that he be with you, I understand. But if there's
something more I should do, please let me know."
I opened my Bible to the Book of John. And there was the story of
Lazarus ". . . Do you believe? [John 11:25-26, RSV]
The next morning, I carried my Bible into David's room to battle
for my husband's life.
Maneuvering carefully around all the tubes and medical apparatuses,
I started reading the eleventh chapter of John, standing over
David's head, then on one side of him, then on the other side of
him, and at his feet, even kneeling and leaning under his
bed. Doctors and nurses in the room gave me sidelong glances. A few
openly disdainful, a few embarrassed and a few understanding. But I
didn't care; I was battling for my husband's life.
A neurosurgeon stopped me in the hall afterward. "Get a grip on
reality" she told me. "Stop talking about miracles!"
For someone usually so awed by authority, I wasn't the slightest bit
intimidated. "Whose reality, yours or God's?" I replied simply.
The next morning as I walked into David's room, his father met me at
the door. "Don't get your hopes up" he said, but when they
examined David's eyes today they saw a flicker of response."
As the hours passed, his arms moved, then his legs. On December 7, I
wrote in my diary while sitting at David's side: "Buzzers and beeps
resound in my husband's room,signs of life for all to hear that God
has taken over David's case !"
Gradually David responded more and more to what was going on around
him. He couldn't talk because he had a tube in his throat, so he wrote
notes.With a shaky hand, he scrawled out to me: "I love you."
The neurosurgeons were all astounded by the reversal of David's
condition. They said they had never seen anyone truly brain
dead, return to normal. Dr. Smith said he had never seen a miracle
before, but he thought he was seeing one now.
When the tube was removed from David's throat, he murmured that I
was beautiful and asked me to marry him. "We are married" I said,
laughing for the first time in days.
Day by day, his memory returned, fast-forwarding in a matter of days,
to where he regained all of his intellectual capacity.
I fingered the dog tags around my neck; the ones I had never
removed. Yes, I had dared to believe. And now my husband, the man I
love, instead of going to Arlington National Cemetery, was coming
Have a great day!
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