Worth Repeating

Worth Repeating--head image with floating puzzle pieces

Some stories are worth repeating again and again:

“Is Dad still living?”

“No, your dad died a few years ago. However, before he died, he became a Christian.”

Following that brief reply, I supplied my husband with additional answer-to-prayer details. I explained that his father, after becoming a Christian, told him that he remembered the letter we wrote years before. That letter explained to his father and stepmother our desire for their salvation. It also gave the steps they needed to take for a right relationship with God.

A Story Worth Repeating

Worth Repeating--hand with IVs on bed coverSatisfied with that information, my husband smiled through his tears. With joy and peace written on his face, he slowly relaxed against his hospital bed pillow. He followed with questions about the status of various other family members and friends—his grandparents, siblings, mother, stepfather, and a host of others. After I updated him on each one, he dozed.

A few minutes later he asked, “Is Dad still living?” And we repeated our previous pattern almost word for word. That continued at all hours for several days.

My husband suffered very mild short-term memory loss from a brain tumor almost six years before. However, both his short- and long-term memory became severely limited in December 2009. The exact sequence of events remains uncertain. On the afternoon of December 10, while we worked on household chores on opposite ends of the house, I heard him fall. By the time I reached him, blood covered the floor beneath his head. His groans filled the room. A fall against the metal shower door handle and then the step into the shower resulted in a deep cut to his head and a severe brain injury. He also had a mild heart attack and a stroke. In addition, his body suffered oxygen deprivation between the time his heartbeat and breathing stopped and his resuscitation by EMS.

An Unexpected Story Twist  

Worth Repeating--Image of person jumping in front of connected puzzle piecesHis survival alone caused medical staff in three hospitals to give him a new nickname, the miracle man. One cardiologist documented his chart with the little-known medical expression, “Wow!” In a span of 48 hours, our family went from preparation for a final goodbye, with all its mix of emotions, to jaw-dropping amazement as my husband sat in a chair talking with us. We literally witnessed recovery from hour to hour. Within another 24 hours, he was making jokes, a feat our speech therapist sister-in-law proclaimed extraordinarily significant.

Of course, I continued to hope and pray for complete physical healing and a fully restored memory. Nevertheless, I marveled at the joy he radiated each time he heard of his father’s salvation.

Eventually, the questions stopped, but treatment continued. He received two stints in his heart at one hospital. Intensive therapy followed during Christmas and the New Year in another hospital.

I never want to return to the stress of those days. Yet, I would take nothing for that significant time of sharing and my husband’s consistently unmistakable reaction. Witnessing a memory phenomenon that I’d only heard about or seen in movies made me wonder: Why do we allow that initial delight at good news to slowly dull in our lives? Why can we not marvel at both the miracle of physical life and the greater miracle of eternal life made possible by Jesus’ gift on the cross?

A Message Worth Repeating

Worth Repeating--three crosses with clouds at sunsetDavid’s prayer in Psalm 51:12 for God to restore salvation’s joy was a plea for personal spiritual restoration. My petition expands that desire. I hope I never lose the joy of seeing others come to know God. I desire a daily resolve to share the good news with those whose paths I cross. Daily, I pray for eyes to see, a heart that cares, and a mind that remembers the transformation made possible by the most significant event in history. How I wish I could duplicate what I saw indelibly printed on my husband’s face and spread it like seeds to the wind!

I’m thankful my husband’s miraculous recovery continues to amaze all who played any part in those first few hospital hours. With part of his memory restored, he no longer has to ask about the details of his father’s spiritual birth. He also recalls their special time together as he helped with caregiving duties during his father’s final days.

In addition, I’m eternally thankful for one of the most valuable lessons of my life—one my husband taught me during those uncertain days while activating the gaps in his memory.

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit” (Psalm 51:12 NKJV).


Diana Derringer

Diana Derringer is an award-winning writer and author of Beyond Bethlehem and Calvary: 12 Dramas for Christmas, Easter, and More! Her articles, devotions, dramas, planning guides, Bible studies, and poems have been accepted more than 1,200 times by 70-plus publications, including several anthologies. In addition, Diana writes radio dramas and question-and-answer television programs for Christ to the World Ministries. Her adventures as a social worker, adjunct professor, youth Sunday school teacher, friendship family for international university students, and caregiver for her husband supply a constant flow of writing ideas. For a free copy of Diana’s “Words of Hope for Days That Hurt” and her weekly Words, Wit, and Wisdom: Life Lessons from English Expressions, join her mailing list at https://dianaderringer.com.

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