In our grief journeys, it’s all too easy to look past things that might be considered “miracles” or “miraculous” in our lives.
One thing that really helped put things into perspective for me was recalling the victories my late husband Bret had experienced during our lives together.
In August of 2011, Bret was diagnosed with Fulminant Liver Failure and given two weeks to live. This was due to a variety of things, a bout with severe alcohol abuse being one of them.
He had slowly been turning yellow all while not being able to keep anything down for about a month, when I finally convinced him to go to the ER.
Bret was adamantly opposed to most western medicine and told me under no uncertain terms, was I ever to call an ambulance for him. (He told me that when he was well from whatever it was that I called an ambulance for, that he would divorce me, solely for calling an ambulance. Unreasonable, yes, but that was his position. Not sure if he was actually serious or not.)
He was finally ill enough by his own standards to acquiesce to an ER visit, so one morning, we went.
Liver failure can make people act completely irrational and very angrily, so once at the hospital, he told me to leave and just come back when he was ready to be discharged.
Being around him in that state was no picnic, so I took our small daughter and left.
And hour or so later, he called me, tearfully, saying I needed to get there at once.
It was then that I was told that he was going to die.
Bret being Bret decided to return home so he could die in his own bed, in his own home, and honestly I didn’t blame him. But I am a fighter, so when we got home I started searching for Ayurvedic doctors in the area.
I happened to find an integrative medicine doctor, who was both a western MD and eastern approach practitioner, and he actually changed our lives.
He got us right in, and spent several hours just assessing Bret, mentally, physically and spiritually. He took a lot of notes and got us started on a strict protocol of supplements and juicing.
We were skeptical, because Bret couldn’t even keep water down, how would he keep juice down?
Well, he did.
The integrative protocol, combined with massage, hot springs soaks, herbal medicine and coffee enemas, was nothing short of magic, because by the time the original date of his potential death passed, Bret was already much improved. He was even able to eat some noodles and bok choy from our favorite Chinese food place. (Which the owner gifted to me, just because she was so happy he had lived.)
Bret wound up detoxing so fast that a month to the day after his original diagnosis, he suffered a seizure, which was of course, very scary! But the doctor who had diagnosed his liver failure a month prior was the same one who attended him that day as well, and they both shed a few tears of happiness together.
Less than two months later, he was given a clean bill of health. The seizure had been due to the toxins from his bloodstream entering his brain and causing his body to do a hard reboot, much like an overloaded computer randomly restarting.
All these years, and his eventual death later, I am still so grateful for his doctor, (Dr. Gary Foresman, Arroyo Grande, CA) and for the wherewithal to not give up so quickly.
That was my favorite miracle until my son, right before his 21st birthday, was in a horrific accident, and was told that he would not survive the night.
He also recovered so quickly that his team was left speechless. He had suffered a severe diffuse axonal traumatic brain injury, various internal injuries and several breaks, including an open skull fracture.
We celebrated his big 2-1 in the hospital with some of his favorite nurses joining us for gelato.
Would you believe it if I said that those were not the only miracles I have personally experienced? They’re not, and I could spend the rest of my writing career focusing solely on miracles.
Bret suffered another seizure while driving northbound on I-5 heading to Seattle, (his driving privileges from the other seizure long since having been restored). It was 5:00 traffic, and I was sure that was going to be the end of us all.
Acting quickly, I threw the car into Neutral and put on the flashers.
We were not hit, and traffic zoomed by us.
This seizure was due to “dangerously low” blood sugar, as sadly, his health was starting to slowly deteriorate once more.
We got 8 years on a two-weeks-to-live diagnosis, and no matter how tragic, I cannot overlook how absolutely divine his healing had been.
I cannot overlook being left unscathed in racing traffic, after he lost consciousness behind the wheel.
I cannot overlook my son’s nearly fatal head injury miraculously healing the way it did.
Miracles absolutely exist, but can sadly be dwarfed by tragedy, and I refuse to negate their magic in the face of loss.
I am not terribly religious, but I do believe in something grand and divine. After all of that, how could I not?