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I don't understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine's Day.  When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon.  ~Author Unknown

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 Happy Valentine's Day!  This is my favorite holiday! Today I am happy to share a lovely story by Mike Segal that he witnessed firsthand with his job at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas.  Mike was blessed to also attend the wedding of one of the couples in this story just a few days ago!  Be sure to visit his inspiring web site and leave him a comment there!  I hope your day is filled with love!

 

 "Detour"

by Michael Jordan Segal, M.S.W.

 

They did not even know each other. They had seemingly nothing in common except for the fact they were both young, female and engaged to be married. However, very soon they would learn just how much in common they had as they were both involved in MVAs (motor vehicle accidents).

The first one, Mary, appeared to be living a “fairy tale” life. She was so happy. Her family loved her fiancé, Doug, and everyone “knew” they had their entire lives in front of them until…

It was March 4th. Mary was driving in her red Mercedes convertible, her long blonde hair blowing in the wind. It was such a beautiful day. She was on her way to have her outstanding wedding gown altered at the seamstress. She thought, “I am so lucky, nothing could be better…”

BOOM! Her car quickly, and suddenly, moved very forcefully to the side as a pickup truck ran a red light, as Mary’s convertible was going through it, striking Mary’s small Mercedes. Mary’s car rolled over twice. (Thank God she had her seat belt fastened.) Soon both vehicles stopped moving. The driver of the pickup jumped from his truck to see if everything was ok. Mary remained in her car, unconscious! Witnesses quickly called 911 and, then, an ambulance finally arrived. But, was it too late? Where had that “perfect life” gone? Would things ever be ok again? Could they ever be ok again?

The ambulance rushed Mary to Memorial Hermann Hospital, a Level One Trauma Hospital, in Houston. The prognosis was not good when Mary was wheeled into the ER. The entire family was at the hospital. Doug’s entire family was also at the hospital. Both families were there in the waiting room for not just the first day, but for weeks. Doug was unbelievable. Whatever Mary needed, Doug provided. He made the waiting room his “office” so he could be at the hospital all the time. (It’s amazing what computers can do.)

Mary’s progress was not unlike many victims of traumatic brain injury. Many physicians first predict death, then vegetative life, than poor quality of life. Later on, when she awoke from her coma, like many of the survivors, she was very combative. Many couples would separate from their loved ones following a traumatic event; however, not Doug. He was living his vows that he had planned to state a few months later: “in sickness and in health…”

Over an extended period of time, Mary did improve; many feel it was because of her strong support system and belief in God. She went to rehabilitation and then to out-patient therapy, which is where she met Gloria.

Gloria also had been engaged when she had her wreck; however, her fiancé, prior to the accident, was not “accepted” by Gloria’s family, partly due to their large age difference. But Gloria didn’t care. She was tired of arguing with her family about her fiancé (as well as about other issues) and she had moved out of her parents’ home.

One day, Gloria was sitting behind her fiancé on his motorcycle. It had finally stopped raining, but the streets were still very slick. Gloria’s finace’ was turning the corner too quickly while driving on a slick road, and, unfortunately, they “wiped out.” Gloria’s body slammed into the wet, hard concrete and she sustained numerous massive injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, as well as many fractured bones. Her fiancé was far more fortunate, sustaining many scratches and lacerations, but nothing more serious. He picked up his motorcycle, started it and quickly left, leaving Gloria in the middle of the road.

As with Mary, 911 was called and the ambulance rushed her to Memorial Hermann Hospital. Also, as with Mary, the staff at the hospital painted a very bleak prognosis. And also, as in Mary’s case, many of her family members were in the waiting room to give her support. However, unlike Mary’s case, the fiancé and his family were nowhere to be found. Gloria’s family was, and is, a great one (like Mary’s and Doug’s).

Just like Mary, as well as countless other traumatic brain injury survivors, the process of recovery was slow--very slow. However, Gloria was a fighter and her family was always there to root her on.

A “funny” thing happened as Gloria’s condition improved--her hostility and anger toward her family decreased. Things were getting better--both physically and emotionally. She was stable enough to be discharged from the acute hospital (where she had life-saving surgery) to go to a rehab hospital where she made great strides. Then she became an out-patient, following the same “route” as Mary, finally moving back into her home. Perhaps her being in the wreck was a “wakeup” call from the heavens as Gloria now considers her mother to be her best friend.

One more thing: Gloria began dating another person, and one evening, Gloria’s boyfriend proposed. She was so elated, crying tears of joy. However, as she wiped her eyes she stated, “Honey, you know how much I love you, but I have to ask my mother if we can get married.”

Yes, Gloria had come such a far way, and grown so much in so many ways. By the way, when Gloria asked her mother if she could get married to her boyfriend, her mom just grabbed her. Both were crying tears of happiness.

At the Christmas party for the Outpatient Brain Injury Rehab Program, Gloria and Mary bumped into each other. They knew that they had seen each other from afar, but had no idea how much in common they had. That is, until one of the therapists pointed out the many similarities.

Mary’s wedding will be in February; Gloria’s in May. Both have come so far, and their future lives are still very bright. At each of their weddings, many glasses should be raised with the traditional customary Hebrew toast, “Lechayim” (English for “to life”). Life is wonderful.

 

©2007 by Michael Segal; all rights reserved.

msegalhope@aol.com

Michael Jordan Segal, who defied all odds after being shot in the head, is a  husband, father,  social worker, author, and inspirational speaker.  His “miraculous” comeback story was first published in Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul.  Since then he’s had numerous stories published.  To contact Mike, please visit www.InspirationByMike.com or call  1-877-226-1003. Read more of Mike's stories in our archives: www.2theheart.com/stories

    Making a difference, one story at a time!