Testimony

On October 11th 2007 Viki suffered a massive brain stem stroke. For the first three months after her stroke she was in what is called "Locked in Syndrome", completely unable to move any part of her body. The only way we had of communicating with her was she could blink once for yes and twice for no. She was on life support for nearly three months than slowly began to breathe on her own. All of her higher functions were unharmed by the stroke and she had complete sensation in all of her body she was just unable to move anything below her head. She regained only minor head movement and facial expressions. I learned to read her lips so we could communicate better and what I could not understand by reading her lips we used an information board and the alphabet. The prognosis was never encouraging; the doctors had given her less than 2% chance for a recovery and had basically told me that she would most likely remain a quadriplegic for the rest of her life. Viki developed two very large bed sores and one smaller one which are extremely dangerous.

Viki's life had been completely put on hold, Day after day aware of her condition, her mind completely intact; with complete sensation throughout her body in pain almost continuously.

The longer she remained in this state of existence (quadriplegic) the deeper her sadness became. I would sit with her for hour's daily we stare at each other without the need for words; she spoke to me with her eyes with her very soul.

I have never known such a person, so sweet so kind, so talented, so funny, so giving... so very forgiving. Viki's testimony extends far beyond her sick bed. Her strength is beyond my ability to express, her long suffering patience and endurance is a quality that can only be described as "Christ-Like".

God, are you there?

For all that I think I know I realize I know nothing at all. I am less than a speck in the entire universe. But to some; I am husband, Dad, brother, friend. And in these areas I have most surely made major mistakes. Daily I struggle against my flesh and my mind wanders, and I am weak.

I can really only give testimony as to what I have seen, and come to know through my personal experience with Christ, my witness as to what I have seen.

Most obviously GOD exists, to say there is no God, is simply nonsense. I have nothing to prove when it comes to who God IS, what He does, and who it is that BELIEVES in Him.

In April of 2008, I was playing guitar in the worship band at Glad tidings church, one of the worship songs spoke about "believing when we do not see the results of our prayers"...during the song it became difficult to play and I began to cry. I became angry and I left the platform and left church. I got on my bike and rode to Viki. She was in a lot of pain when I got there and she looked so sad and uncomfortable that I immediately tended to her needs; I got her comfortable and cleaned her and changed her, and got the nurse to give her pain medication. Afterward, I sat down next to her and broke. Physically feeling the effects of this stress, my back locked up and Jasmine (my daughter) had to come and get me from the room.

In my heart of hearts I longed for Viki to recover, I longed for her just to be at peace without constant pain and fear. I have prayed that God's will alone be done in his matter, even if that means He had to take her. So we prayed with her, encouraged her. but even as close as I was to Viki, I could not get inside of her head and completely know her pain and despair…but there was something I had overlooked…Viki’s faith

 

 

 

Amazing Faith

It is one thing to say, "I have faith" another thing all together to exercise the faith that we profess. It is important to me to tell Viki's story because it is a testimony of faith. Viki would tell you that I taught her about Jesus, but I assure you it has been the other way around, while I was studying theology & doctrine, Viki was living out the Gospel. She had an incredible gift of speaking with people as if she knew them all her life. She felt closest to God serving the lost and needy. On Saturday's we would drive around town to the thrift shops and buy whatever was put on our hearts, and then go downtown where there was a weekly dinner for the homeless and just hang out and talk with people and the Lord would always lead us to the people that needed just what we had brought…it was really something special. Viki showed me that LOVE was a choice, and that through love we can accomplish the WILL of GOD. As most of you remember Viki was also a gifted singer & actress (Her dramas at Pinellas Community Church are legendary) at least to those who remember. She worked in the children's ministry and headed up a post-abortion recovery group, which bonded her with a certain group of women that I am sure will never forget Viki's spirit and love of life.

Hebrews 13:1, 2

“Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

One very ordinary day Viki and I were driving through a parking lot, when way off in the distance Viki saw an old man, bent over with his hands on his face. She immediately turn the car around and drove up next to him, she said..."Sir, are you alright? Can I help you?" The old man looked up and had the most amazingly white teeth and a huge smile, and said, "No thank you miss, but thank you for stopping". So we drove off, I turned to Viki and said, "That was Jesus!"

Viki smiled and said, "Glad I stopped then!" It was nothing for her to go completely out of her way for a total stranger…I have learned so much from her. I recently found a letter that Viki wrote to Jesus, it is the most precious thing I have ever read, she goes on to express her gratitude for the hardships in life! Can you imagine? Praising God for hardship?

She said I believe more because I know the difference. I did not understand at first. But I do now. I also have a love letter that she wrote me, just two weeks before her stroke; it brought me straight to my knees when I read it after she died. What an enormous blessing it has been…I am so very grateful that I was her husband, and as Viki had always said, "You are my best friend". Together we went through our share of problems, heaven knows, however we both knew that neither one of us could stand to be away from the other. I firmly believe that the husband & wife relationship is the most unique relationship that the Lord created, this is where the two become as one…and I know that this is not just a statement of "Belief" but a fact! A friend of mine once said in regard to our marriage, "You two have like this private joke between you, all you need to do is look at her and she knows"

Going Home

I held Viki's face in my hands one day just before she went home to be with Jesus, we talked about her entering Heaven and being with Jesus, what a precious gift I have been given.

The Love never dies, and I will carry her so very close in my heart forever.

Death is a doorway we all will pass through, however for the Christian death is not the end, but really the beginning. Viki is now with her KING! And she does not have the capacity for sorrow; she is not in pain and is WHOLE! The healing, the miracle it's all there... I praise God that my precious Viki has peace. I too will have peace. I have a testimony to share…

 

Life, sure takes us by surprise sometimes. In our wildest imagination Viki and I never saw this coming, just one week before her stroke we had "Date-night" we walked on the beach that night and talked about our future, I remembered asking her if she believe that we would have another twenty years together…she smiled at me and said…"yes!"

The first few weeks following Viki's stroke everything was completely insane. I kept telling myself, "She is going to be ok" but deep within my soul I knew otherwise. I became so fearful that Viki would die and I would not be there, that I just completely dropped everything else in order to be with her.

It was not only my pleasure to care for Viki, but an honor as well

Day after day I sat staring at Viki, many times just while she slept my mind went a million miles an hour, I remembered details of our life together that I had forgotten.

 

 Holding on to the uncertain is not anything I wish to experience again, but I doubt there is any way around it. I was made aware of the seriousness of Viki's condition right from within the second week of her being in the hospital and I read all that my mind could comprehend about the brain and strokes and bed sores and lung and blood infections, and so on.

At first I was panicked and not sure if Viki should know the prognosis, how do you tell someone that the chances of recovery are extremely slim.

Viki's first discharged from the hospital in late January to a Nursing home lasted less than two weeks and she had to be taken back to the hospital. They hospital would get her stable and I would have to find another Nursing Home that would take Viki. Three Nursing Homes said they were capable of caring for her, and each time Viki came down with yet another infection and had to be taken back to the hospital. The substandard care in these nursing homes made it crystal clear that I had but one choice; be there for her!

In April of 2008 I found another Nursing home for Viki. She had her 44th birthday in this place…so sad. One morning I found Viki in the hallway of the nursing home in a wheel chair naked and covered in vomit, crying! I flipped out! "What in the !@#$%*&!!!! is going on in this place?” I screamed! A nurse came up to me and asked, "What's the problem?" I could not believe this woman was asking what was wrong. Another nurse came up and said that Viki was going to get a shower. Viki became unresponsive and they called 911 and Viki was once again taken back to the hospital.

It took some time and ultimately seeing her bravely and confidently facing death with anticipation of seeing her King changed my life and completely stripped me of my anger towards God…yet a great sadness still crushed my soul.

I am confident that others have experienced such an example of faith, but I personally have never witnessed such faith before in my life. Viki's love for God, and her willingness to share with others was genuine and I am blessed to have witnessed it up close and personal. In the hours before she took her last breath, she looked at me and smiled…she knew right where she was going…she was finally going Home.

 

Tell me, what is my life without your love
Tell me, who am I without you, by my side
~

George Harrison

 

Sometimes we define who we are; in the one we love the most. The one we seemingly cannot do without, or at least cannot imagine doing without.   But life has a way of doing things completely contrary to our expectations, and at times we can merely survive. But in these times the Lord is asking us to trust Him.

I do not consider myself emotionally strong; in fact I have struggled with my emotions since I was a teen. Nevertheless, I personally cannot hang on to every idle destructive emotion that comes my way.  And while temporary sadness is expected after a tragedy becoming lost in self-pity is extremely dangerous to personal mental health.

After the heart has been dealt an extreme emotional trauma it is completely normal to experience a wide variety of emotional lows, and there were plenty of times when I was certain I would not survive. 

Here in the oddest of places, it was through Viki that the miracle became evident. And I found that in the strangest of places love remains.