It is in the fiery test and trials of life where our faith is developed and strengthened. It is in the fiery test and trials of life where genuine faith is seen.
Anyone can talk a good talk, but the true test of our faith is how we respond to the fires of pain and suffering when we are unexpectedly thrown in the ditches and trenches of life’s test, struggles, troubles, hardships, heartaches and tragedies.
You can and will rise again. Here’s a true story to prove it.
I’ve always wanted to share my story, but I was so afraid of hurting others involved in my story that I held back. Two days ago I was reading the story of a woman who gave me so much strength that I realized the power of a story, and the impact it could make on someone else’s life who is feeling like they can’t carry on with life any longer. In sharing this story I hope that it brings strength to anyone who is looking for light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
I got married at 25 years old to a man I Loved very much. For most of us when we say our wedding vows
“to love and to hold, In sickness and in health, till death do us part”
We never really think deeply about the significance of what we are saying. We say them with nonchalance never really expecting to be tested on these vows till we are really really old.
As fate would have it my test came way before I could ever have imagined.
Shortly after one year of my marriage, I got pregnant. We were a young couple and were not ready to have a kid at the time. I cried for nearly two weeks after I found out I was pregnant, little did I know how lucky I was.
Forward nine months to this, and I was on my way to the United States to have the little one. One day before my husband was supposed to join me he called me to tell me that some friends of his had come to visit and he was going out with them. Now my husband is an introvert and so am I, I was pleased to hear he was going out. However at 12 pm when he hadn’t called me back I got a bit concerned and called him to find out if he was alright, he said he had just got out of the bar and was on his way home. He would ring me in about 30 minutes to let me know he was home.
At this point it was only a week to my due date. I waited for the call and didn’t get one, and then I tried to ring him and it rang once and then stopped ringing. I thought it could be due to bad connection issues, so I tried to go to sleep as at this time it was 2am in Charleston where I was. I kept tossing and turning and just could not get to sleep, I guess I felt it in my bones that something was just not right. A few seconds later I heard the phone ring and then I heard my mother who was with me at the time pick up the phone. I then overheard some muffled conversation about a car accident, at first I thought it was my father. And yes I was sad, and I do love my father very much but when I jumped out of bed to get to my mother and saw her face I Knew immediately it was my husband. Nothing could have prepared me for my reaction. I mean I knew I loved my husband but hearing he might be dead, was when I realized just how much. I felt like a knife had pierced my heart, I felt like I had been literally stabbed in the chest a million times over. I just couldn’t take it, I was hysterical.
I don’t want to bore you with the gory details, but to cut the long story short, I found out shortly after that He was infact alive but had sustained a complete spinal cord injury which as per doctors assessment would leave him paralyzed for the rest of his life. On top of this he was in a coma and the doctor also believed that he may not speak, write etc, in other words he would be a vegetable.
At this point I started doing lots of research to find out the best hospital to take him to, I learnt about stem cell which was an experimental cure for SCI. I was busy trying to make the arrangements to transfer my husband to the United States where I was so that we could begin trying out everything i had found, only to be stopped dead in my tracks by my in-laws. Apparently I had no rights to make any decisions concerning my husband. I was told to step aside. At this point my light at the end of the tunnel “Dalya” was here she came literally exactly one week after the accident.
I decided not to let my inlaws’ behavior bother me I focused on Dalya and waited for my husband to come out of the coma, all through this I was certain he would make it.
When he came out of the coma, he could not remember almost anything and literally couldn’t speak. He also could not remember ME.
I did not let this bother me as I strongly believed that all would be well at the end. About two weeks later he was moved to a hospital in Cape Town South Africa. At this point we got the full verdict of his situation, he would have to relearn everything and according to the reports everything below his waist would be dead for the rest of his life. Still I believed all would be well, although amidst lots of tears.
I had to wait for at least six weeks before I could go to Cape Town, because my precious child was still too little to travel. When I got to Cape Town with my six weeks old child I faced the worst nightmares you can ever imagine.
I saw my husband and by this time he knew who I was, he was like a different person due to the aftermath of the Traumatic brain injury. It was like dealing with a little child. I kept on waking up every day going to the hospital spending the entire day there, for about a month. Next thing I knew my in-laws had decided to discharge him prematurely despite the fact it was very obvious he was in no shape to leave the hospital. Of course as the relationship was terribly strained, I had no intention of living in the same place as they were and told them so. They quickly went to the hospital and requested that he be discharged to their care. At this point I was left with no choice but to hire a lawyer and also reported the case to the police.
About a week later I went to see my husband at my in-laws house and he told me that he was not well and he needed to get back to the hospital. He asked me to call the police so that I could get him out of the care of his in-laws.
I left him with my daughter, to do just that, after I had organized an ambulance to pick him up.
When I came back with the police, my in-laws stopped me from going into the house and told the police I was not a member of the family. The police told them that they would have to interview my husband and ask him what he wanted to do. When they did so, my husband said he would like to go with his wife. Then the police said they would need to get a warrant to get him out. At one point I feared i would never see my daughter again, i wondered if they would let my daughter come out of the house, but of course I was lucky because the police was there.
I left after a rather ugly and heated argument with my in-laws expecting to come back the next day with the warrant to pick my husband up.
When I came back the next day the house had been cleared out, like no one had ever lived there. I panicked, assuming they had taken him out of the country and I just felt like I wanted to die. When I looked at my daughters face, I realized that this was not an option as I was all she had. A kind neighbor, who saw me bawling my eyes out, came to me and told me that she saw my in-laws leave the night before in a hurry. I went back to the police to put out an APB on him. After several hours of waiting they found him in the Emergency unit.
Apparently the night before he had stopped breathing.
I just couldn’t understand why my in-laws had stopped me from taking him to the hospital. Again I had to go through the trauma of wondering if he would make it.
When I got to the hospital, I was told I couldn’t go in to see him, because my in-laws had informed them that I was dangerous and would try to kill him. Try to KILL HIM?! I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
Luckily a kind nurse came to me and told me she thought the whole thing was outrageous and let me in. By this time my lawyers had got their act together and I managed to get custody of him. Then I got a message from the hospital that my in-laws had said they would no longer contribute to his medical bills since I now had custody of him. A very odd thing to say -given that several donations had been made towards my husband’s medical bills by people around the world.
I trusted that God would see me through my ordeal and I took my husband to a rented apartment where we continued his rehab for about two months. Two months later I tried to get a visa to move my husband to the United States to continue with his rehabilitation, unfortunately he was denied a visa and before I knew it my in-laws had stepped in again and whisked him away.
I lived on my own with my daughter for two years but continued to keep in touch with him, while the drama with my in-laws continued. So many people asked me time and time again, why do you continue to hold on, to wait –move on with your life, you are too young to do this to yourself. I won’t sit here and tell you I didn’t consider divorce, because I did. However each time I thought about it I remembered my vows and the truth is I still deeply loved my husband. Life is a test, we can’t run away from these tests, I was determined to pass this test.
So I held on and one day in 2016 I got a call from my husband that he was coming to live with us.
Living with an SCI husband is no small feat, it is tasking, and it is emotionally draining. Today my husband is able to stand with the help of a walker and even walk with the walker for a few minutes, something we were told would never happen. His memory is also nearly back to normal. We take every day at a time, making small steps and living in gratitude that he is alive and able to spend time with his daughter.
We chose to focus on the positive rather than the negative. People look at us when we are out, a lot of the time with pity. I try to tell them it’s not as bad as it looks, that we are actually alright and mostly happy just like everyone else. When I look back to that night four years ago, I remember how dark everything seemed, how it seemed like I would never see light again. IF there’s anything you learn from this, remember that there is always light at the end of every tunnel even the really dark ones, and never ever give up on what you believe in.
By Adaobi O Ebozue
One of the best ways to overcome darkness and depression is to throw yourself into building something worthwhile. If you are ready to rise up from the darkness you are facing click here