A year ago today, almost to the minute, my world stopped. There are some memories in life that fade. Some feelings you had when you were a kid that you might not remember. There are some memories and feelings you’ll never forget. Having two close friends show up to your house shaking and saying we have to get to the hospital now is one you can’t forget. Showing up with so many questions and seeing your mother in law having the same questions is something you can’t forget. Seeing your wife of 13 months wheeled in on a gurney with her head wrapped and bandaged is something you can’t forget. Hearing the words, “the injury is indicative of a gunshot would” are words you can’t forget.
So many thoughts rush through your mind in that moment. What? How? Are you serious? I remember thinking that this was a mistake, some kind of mix up, that my wife wasn’t in the ER at Franklin Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the head. It had to be someone who looked like my wife, but not MY Kelly. At 24, you’re still trying to figure out the healthy balance of who’s turn it is to load and unload the dishwasher, not hearing that your wife is fighting for her life.
There are things you can’t forget.
Seeing your 22 year old wife being wheeled to a helicopter because the injury is so severe, having to call loved ones and telling them what happened as you’re on your way to Jackson, telling yourself over and over that everything will be ok, you can’t forget these things.
I remember seeing her for the first time. As a man, you want to fix the situation. You want to come in and save the day. There was nothing in my power that I could do that day. I was just there in the room.
After we saw her, we spoke with the trauma doctors. You don’t expect to hear that, “it will be good if she is still alive in the morning.” I remember walking out of the room and just feeling numb. My pastor, Kevin Bates, immediately grabbed me and said, “don’t you dare take a death sentence. She looked you in your eyes when she was wheeled in at Franklin Medical and she’s responding to commands with her right side. Do not take a death sentence.”
Friends and family showed up in the ER. I remember seeing my dad for the first time that day. My heart was telling me that if anyone could fix this, it would be my dad. My mind was telling me that it was far from our hands.
Fear is a terrible thing. You can fight it all you want but sometimes it takes a hold of you and doesn’t let go. I spent most of that day fearing the worst.
Kelly was moved to the NSICU and was heavily sedated. Seeing her in the condition she was in rocked me. You don’t expect to see your wife of 13 months like that. You’re usually still trying to adjust to seeing your spouse without make up (she looks flawless either way). I couldn’t sleep much that night. My dad came back to the hospital around 12 and sat with me. We prayed a lot that night. I remember in a prayer saying the words, “God, You’re going to have to do something big here.” Around 3 that morning, I felt the words of Philippians 1:6 being spoken over the situation. I felt God saying that He had complete control of the situation and that He had begun a good work in Kelly years before and that work wasn’t finished.
At that point, I knew it was going to be ok. I knew that we would walk out of the hospital together. I didn’t know when, I didn’t know how, I just knew it would happen. You see David praying bold prayers. That’s where we found ourselves. We were saying that God was going to have to do miracles in her life for this to happen and we were believing that they would happen. We started to declare the goodness of God over the situation. We prayed life into Kelly. We prayed healing into her body. We declared scripture over her. We knew that God was faithful to the word that came from His mouth. It wouldn’t return to Him without accomplishing the task that He sent it out to do.
Over the next six weeks I had the front row seat to the fight of my life. This fight put the McGregor Mayweather fight to shame. Seeing the person you love move from the ICU to a regular room in ten days was amazing. The person that doctors said might not make it through your first night move to a room in ten days shows you what kind of woman you have. Seeing her progress so much in four days of being in a regular room that she was able to be moved to rehab after 14 days of being shot and left for dead makes you poke your chest out and brag on the wife you have. It also makes you see that you might not win every argument because she is obviously a fighter.
At one point in the NSICU the doctors told us there was a chance of paralysis on her left side since she hadn’t been able to move it in 2 weeks. We prayed hard for this. The first morning that we were in rehab, Kelly started to move her left leg. They brought her to the gym on the 5th floor and put her on the parallel bars. Her therapist, Alex, helped her with the first couple steps and then she started to move her left leg on her own. It was not pretty. It was awkward. For a little reference, go to YouTube and look up a video of a baby giraffe walking for the first time. It was awkwardly beautiful. The smile on her face was the most amazing part. Over the next four weeks, Kelly would work on her left side and would improve daily.
There are things in life you can’t forget.
Seeing your wife walking and talking like she did on July 15. Seeing your wife cook chicken spaghetti. Seeing the smile on her face. Knowing that this is the same woman who you were told probably wouldn’t make it. It was insane. Seeing the Lord move in a situation like that.
From the outset we knew that if she was going to live, God would have to do the miracles. It wasn’t just one miracle tho. God stepped in and worked miracle after miracle and let us, our family, our friends, and the doctors saying wow. We all knew that something was behind all this.
We are choosing this morning not to be upset because of the day. We’re celebrating with our family. We’re celebrating with our church. We’re singing a song this morning that says, “I’ve seen you move/ You move the mountains/ And I believe, I’ll see You do it again.” We’re going to my mother in laws after church to celebrate with people that love us. Tomorrow, Kelly will oversee the trip to Cross Camp in Marshall, Texas where we’ll bring 43 students. She’s going to teach a bible study declaring the goodness of Jesus.
There are things you can’t forget. The feelings I had a year ago today will not be forgotten. Seeing God move like He did will not be forgotten. Seeing the joy in my wife will not be forgotten. Seeing how strong and brave she is now will not beforgotten. Seeing her worship in complete abandon will not be forgotten.
Thank you so much for your prayers and support over the last 12 months and would love your prayers as we move forward. Kelly starts grad school August 21. Please be in prayer for her as she begins her journey through her masters.
We love you all.
Shane and Kelly.