“By You, I have been upheld from birth.” (Psalm 71: 6a)
When the call came we rushed to the phone, eager to hear the report. Our joy of hearing we had a baby brother quickly dissolved into tears as daddy shared the shocking news that Davy was born with a severly damaged heart. The doctor said there was no hope. He would not live to be six months old.
I don’t remember much about the drive to the hospital. There were no words, just a shocked and sad quietness that hovered over us.
I do remember the unforgettable words our father spoke as we walked down the hospital corridor:
“Doctors don’t know everything….Davy’s going to be all right.”
Our brother was released from the hospital within a few days because nothing else could be done for him, other than the loan of a portable oxygen tank.
Davy was seldom in his crib for the first two and a half months of his life. When he cried, he turned blue, so we all took turns rocking our brother during the daytime, but it was Mother and Daddy who lost sleep at night. They rocked and held Davy night after night praying that God would let him live.
I remember waking during the wee hours of the morning, hearing Daddy sing the same songs of faith he sang over us when we were babies.
“Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross”
“Draw Me Nearer Blessed Lord”
“Have Thine Own Way Lord”
Then there was the song that was Davy’s alone…
“Davy, Davy Crocket.”
The long days and nights turned into months of rocking, praying, believing for a miracle. There was always hope because more than once we heard our father say, “Everything’s going to be all right … And we believed him.
When Davy was two and a half months old, our thread of hope was finally confirmed when our family doctor shared…“Davy might be a candidate for open heart surgery”.
Soon after one early spring morning, my parents put their baby and the oxygen tank in the car for the six hour drive to the Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.
At one point, they almost lost Davy as he labored to breathe with a heart that barely worked. Mother wanted to turn around and go home, but my father’s tenacious resolve won out. He would not give up hope! Davy would live!
So Daddy put his foot to the petal, sometimes at a speed of eighty miles an hour, hoping a highway patrolmen would appear and escort them to the hospital. The patrolman never showed up. There must have been an unseen angel who did because Davy survived the trip that would save his life.
When my parents finally arrived at the hospital, the best available team of heart surgeons were waiting for them. Releasing Davy into the doctors’ care, my weary and worn parents made their way to the cafeteria for a bite to eat. They had barely gotten there, when a caring nurse ran after them.
“Please hurry. Your baby is gasping for breath.”
Mother and Daddy rushed backed to the critical care unit and found the team of heart surgeons huddled around Davy’s incubator.
When a well meaning nurse saw them, she yelled; “Get those parents out of here.”
Surprisingly, the head surgeon responded, “Let those parents come in any time they want. It’s their love that’s kept this baby alive!”
Daddy walked over to the incubator, reached in and held Davy’s head up and began to sing Davy’s song.
“Davy, Davy Crocket, King of the wild frontier. Davy, Davy Crocket, the man who knows no fear.”
A quickened heart beat… a fresh breath of life…a miracle!
Within a short time, open heart exploratory surgery was performed. This was the era of the ’60’s. There were no heart scans to preview before surgery. Once the chest cavity was opened, the surgeons discovered a missing heart chamber. They later told us they would not have attempted surgery had they known this.
Long hours later the team of surgeons found my anxious parents in the waiting room. With beaming faces, they reported Davy had survived surgery…this baby would live!
They also shared there had never been a case like this before. This miracle would be recorded in medical history books.
In the years to come, Davy survived three more open heart surgeries and lived forty-five bonus years; far beyond the hopeless diagnosis of six months.
Not surprisingly, Davy grew up with a love for gospel music. He was often seen with his little guitar playing a familiar song. One of his favorites was “How Great Thou Art”. Some of my greatest memories are the times we sat together as a family and sang along with Bill Gaither and Friends. Inevitably, at some point there was a favorite to rewind and sing again. During those times a fresh breath of heaven entered our hearts.
Davy also loved to share hope with hurting people. More than once we heard him echo the same words our Father often shared; “Everything’s going to be all-right”.
Your story may be about a loved one who didn’t live, at least not on this side of heaven.
What then? Does hope die with our loved one?
There is a hope that lies beyond our present grief.
The hope that came through the form of a baby born in a manger over two thousand years ago. Jesus was born to die that we might live forever.
Sometimes memories of loved ones can surface and surprise us, especially during holidays. Sometimes we just need to have a good cry. We should never be ashamed of our God given tears. I heard a minister say that tears drain the pain. They leave an empty space God can fill with comfort and peace…and whispers of fresh hope.
Love keeps our loved ones alive on this earth and Love takes them to heaven.
This is the reason for our hope. One day everything will be all-right and be made right.
We will see our loved ones again.
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying” (John 11: 25).
“I would have despaired (lost hope) unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13).
Where does your hope lie in the midst of grief and loss?
Dear Father in heaven,
Thank you for the hope we have during times of grief, heartache, and loss. Comfort us with the knowledge we will see our loved ones again. Pour your grace upon us, strengthen and restore us as we await that coming day when all things will be made right.