God’s Strength in the Face of Heartbreak

Tragedy is not usually in our thoughts, because it should be far away where we cannot see it in someone else’s life. When it happens to you and your family, it continues to feel that way, like traveling in a fog.

You wonder if you’ll ever wake up.

A Moment of Carelessness

We were awakened during the night to banging on the door. Justin, my nephew was trying frantically to wake us up. My husband finally made it to the door and we learned the news. My 21-year-old granddaughter had been in a four wheeler accident. It was not good.

As we made our way to the emergency room, my thoughts were hopeful and continued to drift toward things being better than first thought. Glancing at Anna, she looked asleep. The doctors explained she was comatose. She probably would never awaken and would remain in a vegetative state.

Anna had been riding with another young woman who decide to take the four wheeler on to the city street.  She was going too fast and missed the curve, the four wheeler landed atop Anna. Her breathing stopped. For how long we don’t know but when help arrived, they worked with her 8 minutes before she began to breathe again. It wasn’t like the movies, she didn’t get up and walk away.

The next week was filled with friends and family visits, all hoping Anna would wake up.

She looked like she could any moment and I felt like holding my breath in anticipation. After about a week, Anna was moved to a nursing home, one that agreed to take her without any insurance which was God’s blessing to her.

God’s Strength Day by Day

I stayed with Anna during the day and Kristy would go after work. My sister, Shelia and Brenda, a friend from church help stay with her. They were a tremendous comfort and encouragement to us. They loved Anna.

Anna could not move any part of her body. She had a tracheostomy to help her breathe and needed to be moved regularly. Her eyes did open but with minimal response. She cried a lot which was heartbreaking, we tried everything to calm her. We had the Lord to comfort us in those times, which was often.

We tried to stay optimistic, hoping something good would happen. Her hands and feet were drawing inward. In therapy she would cry even more as they tried to pry her hands and feet back into a normal position.

God’s strength became our strength.

Not What We Hoped For

Around 4 or 5 months after the accident, Anna began having episodes where she would become sweaty, clammy and feverish with a pulse of 180. The night nurse finally became alarmed after we made numerous attempts to get the day nurse’s attention. She had her admitted to the hospital.

In the hospital we learned that the brain injury didn’t allow her body to regulate and the episodes were the result.

Thankfully the doctor on call decided to do a brain scan.

The results of the scan were a terrible shock. There was not any cognitive activity above the brain stem. The doctor of Communicable Diseases told us she would continue to deteriorate due to infections and disease. She probably would not last through the end of the year.

Kristy, my daughter, decided after much prayerful conversation to place Anna in Hospice. About three weeks later, she went home to be with the Lord.

Trusting in God’s Strength

How did we do it? We didn’t.

Our strength came from our trust in Jesus Christ.

The definition of trust according to Oxford Languages is “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. Relationships have to be built on trust.”

We trust in Jesus Christ because of what He did for us. When someone gives up their life for you, it makes an impact.  Each day that impact increases as He is there to comfort us in our daily life.

Prayer and time each day in God’s Word helps to strengthen us.

Our lives are enriched as our relationship with Jesus Christ grows.

We can’t forget family and friends that shared their time with Anna. It wasn’t easy to watch a vital 21-year-old woman deteriorate.

Don’t misunderstand, we grieved. We still cry because we love and miss Anna. Our world is not the same without her.

With God’s comfort, we can have joy in our memories of her.

Jackie walks alongside women who have lost love ones, health and home to a place of hope and joy as they study and trust in the truth of God’s Word. Jackie’s podcast is “From Loss to Hope.” You can connect with Jackie on her website and Instagram.

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