We are living a miracle: The first 100 hours

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The last hundred hours have been the most unreal, surreal, and at the same time vividly raw real of my life. It will take days, months and probably years for my mind and heart to fully process it. But here’s what I know: we are living a miracle.

In the last hundred hours, a fierce, brutal, powerful tale of redemption and resurrection has unfolded in these hospital walls. One still very much being written, with many questions yet unanswered, yet infused with one miraculously answered prayer after another.

At five o’clock on Friday night, I got “the call” – the one I’ve dreaded with every story of Jenny Lee’s Alec, Mary Crawley’s Matthew, and Meredith Shepherd’s Derek. All at once, I was in my own tv drama nightmare, complete with the perfect morning together preceding it.

As a friend drove me to the hospital, I learned only bits and pieces – CPR had been performed at the scene, he was in the cardio department awaiting a “procedure”, and the procedure could not wait and needed my consent over the phone – ending with a promise they would “do everything they could.” I’d never heard words that struck more terror … I had no idea how many more terrifying words would come to my ears that very night.

When we finally arrived, we waited. In silent agony and with the ER admission nurses avoiding my direct gaze as they asked me to wait for the social worker. I met the men who had performed CPR, the men who had used an aed at the scene. I listened as one might read a newspaper – distant, cautious, as if about a country far away. 

At last I was taken back to meet a doctor – my husbands cardiologist. The words didn’t go together in my mind. He had no heart trouble, no forewarning signs, no family history. Nonetheless, I was told he’d had a heart attack, and had 100% blockage of an artery. They had put in a stint. He was in recovery. And the doctor “has seen people make full recoveries” from these types of attacks, though brain activity was a large unknown. Someone had pulled up a wheelchair; I found myself accepting it.

An hour or so later, after he was stable, they led me back to see him.

As I arrived at the door to his room, I saw the tubes, the monitors, the wires, the hospital gown. And then the monitor flashed a red zero. And the light above his door flashed blue. And nurses and doctors from every direction came running as I became an extra in my own episode of Greys Anatomy. 

Jason coded twelve times that night. I can’t put into words the terror of each one, or the ring of words like “flatline”, “paddles – clear!” being within earshot, and being about the man I love.

My prayers were fervent and clear: life, breath, life, breath. 

Yet life and breath were the most elusive things of the evening. I watched nurses work tirelessly. Doggedly. Fighting death back only to have it come running at them again. And again. And again.

At some point, I became aware that their efforts were more for me than for him – that they were doing everything in their power to show me that they had done everything in their power. I stared at the love of my life as he stared blankly ahead, while machines kept his body alive.

I knew to sing. I don’t know how or why I knew that. But I knew to sing over him. Hymns and songs of worship, praise, and a promise – to him and to me – that I would declare God is good. In the shadow. Songs that defied what the eyes could see even as it was breaking my heart in half to think what it would mean to keep worshiping in a world without my Jason.

At 5:30am on Saturday February 20, 2016, I was told that I would soon be a widow. 

That there was nothing left they could do. That he was on one hundred percent life support, and that time would make no difference. That it was time to say goodbye.

I heard a wail. A deep guttural moan filled with pain. I realized it was coming from my own mouth. From the depths of my soul. 

And even as my mouth said the words goodbye, even as my hands caressed the skin not covered in needles and wires, even as my mind recognized that I would never see him again this side of heaven, my heart refused for it to be true.

As the doctor walked in, I told him I had only one question. My tear-soaked eyes begged him to tell me why more time wouldn’t make a difference; why we weren’t giving him a chance to fight.

His eyes filled with discomfort, and he squirmed with the truth of what he had to tell me. That there was almost zero chance that time would make any difference at all.

I clung to almost.

He agreed to wait a few more hours. I knew even then that it was merely to give me the confidence that we had tried.

I took each step in a hollow fog, understanding each one was leading me to my unwanted new chapter of life as the former Mrs. Jason Miller.

One hour later, he woke up.

He. Woke. Up.

He was responsive. Answering to his name and simple commands. The doctor couldn’t explain it. The nurse grabbed my hand and said “I’ve never seen anything like this!” as she raced me down the hall to his side. 

His still unfocused eyes started searching as he heard my voice. My hand went to his forehead and my heart leapt in hope. He was awake.

He was also incredibly unstable, and I was rushed out as quickly as I was rushed in, as doctors realized that stimulation was causing his blood pressure to plummet and his heart to race erratically. 

Still, he had woken up. Against all odds. Life had returned to the room.

And so began a delicate vigil, a teetering dance around vital signs and organ failure and shallow breaths and v-tachy spikes and bodily tremors and countless medications and machines.

So continued a battle of heavenly proportions, where prayer requests went out around the world and loved ones flew in from around the world. Where we saw every odd beaten and every prayer answered. Where I have learned more about love than ever before as we’ve been surrounded these twilight and daylight hours alike. 

Where life has returned. Resurrected life.

Today ended the dependence on drugs and machines. Even now we are beginning the weaning from sedation. With it remain many unknowns, and I keep receiving warning that we have a long road ahead, to which I say “AMEN it’s long!” The short one would have ended with a funeral.

But we, we are living the long road of a miracle.

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22 thoughts on “We are living a miracle: The first 100 hours

  1. Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

    So many can testify to the fact that as each hour has passed, and the specific prayers have gone up from all over the world, they have been answered. One by one by one. He has proven over and over and over again that He is a God who hears us and answers our prayers.

    I have had so many conversations with family and friends in the waiting room that start with “I will never pray the same way again….” I know that we are supposed to pray boldly. And that we are supposed to pray specifically. But seeing it in action, playing out in real life…that has had an impact. Knowing and understanding are two very different things. I understand now in a way that I never have before.

    Hopefully the impact has not just been on those of us who have been blessed to be there, to offer love and support in person, but to each person anxiously checking their cell phone and Facebook for the next update, praying each step of the way with us. My prayer is that the God of Abraham, Jacob and Issac is known to all as the great healer and a mighty mighty warrior, and the only reason that Jason Miller is going to walk out of those hospital doors.

    Mike Erre posted on your Facebook wall words that are ever so true (and I may be paraphrasing here) – “I lament a world where these things happen.” I hate this. I hate that this is happening. I hate, hate, hate that you know what the guttural moan of your soul sounds like. But it is happening, and so we continue to lift our eyes to our only true source of help.

    I have been dwelling on Psalm 30 11-12 for the last 24 hours. And it has never been so alive for me.

    You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
    That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

    Love, love, love you dear friend.

  2. Dear Brooke, we have been praying intensely for you, Jason, and the whole family since we heard the news on Friday. I knew many others were doing the same, but I had no idea how many until your father-in-law sent an e-mail to the COV choir yesterday. This is indeed the Church at work and prayer!

    We rejoice with you, as we grieved with you. Prayers will continue! May the healing do the same.

    Yours in Christ,
    Randy, Nancy & Amarie Lee

  3. I met you a few years ago at the Calvary Chapel Big Bear women’s retreat. We have been blessed with your family in Big Bear. We have been praying for you and Jason ever since we heard the news. We will continue to pray for a full recovery. Just want you to know how loved you two are. You are blessing to so many. Thank you for sharing and keeping us up to date on God’s amazing miracles. It’s not something we get to witness every day.

  4. Brooke, I don’t know you or Jason, but we have a mutual friend, Sarah Smith. Sarah has been posting your updates on Facebook and I have been praying for Jason and for you ever since I first heard. I am praying for a full recovery for Jason, and for strength and comfort for you. May God continue to work His miracles in your lives.

  5. I haven’t stopped praying Brooke since the moment I heard what was happening and I know our Lord is holding you, keep fighting keep believing, keep standing firm on the rock… We’re with you in prayer, so many are with you in prayer… This song comes to my heart for you…

    Oh the deep deep love of Jesus
    Flowing like a mighty ocean
    In its fullness over me
    Underneath me all around me is the current of his love

  6. When such things happen to those of us who love God, we wonder how praising God can leave our lips when the pain is palpable, raw and real. But our instruction is to do just that. Your actions are a true testament to that admonition, praising God is our true calling and to do it in extremis reflects on His very nature and your recognition of that. I’m a high desert friend of your family, may the God of glory continue to hear your voice and grant you the desires of your heart.

  7. I just love it when God throws the doctors off. This is a very worthwhile read! I’ve been praying for Jason since I found out about his condition Saturday morning. Jason and Brooke are both wonderful people that the Lord has been mightily using and I’m excited to see all that God is going to do. Besides continuing to pray life over him, I am praying for a super quick recovery. The same doctors who told them to say their goodbyes are the same ones now warning that it will be a long road ahead. Praise God for doctors – but they don’t have the final say and are just giving their best opinion in the natural. Praise God we’ve got the SUPERnatural and there are no limitations…

  8. Praise God. I follow your blog and have been praying since your post the other day. Praise God is all I can say. I am astounded and in awe of how great and mighty our God is. As a nurse, I see God’s hands in my patient’s lives all the time, but this is truly amazing. I will continue to pray for you and your family Brooke! 🙂

  9. Wow – I heard the news today from Simone – we haven’t even met you yet and we are praying for you. Obviously prayer is working! Can’t wait to meet you both.

  10. What a wonderful God we have. He never proves himself wrong. He always has a way of showing us his power. I am praying on this journey with you.

  11. Brooke
    At staff today we sent shouts of joy and celebration up for all that God is doing. We prayed for you and thanked God for the miracle.
    I just tried reading this to Shawn; but couldn’t get through the tears to read it out loud. We are in awe of God and your heart felt words are powerful. This will change many hearts. Your story Mrs. Miller God will use for His good. He has much in store for you and Jason. Celebrating!

  12. Well written Brooke! I will keep you both in my prayers! Remember, we know He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we ask or think! Continue to rest in Jesus. This is great news!!
    Get some rest and nourishment. Breathe. May God Bless you both!

  13. to brooke and jason. we will keep you both in our prayers and we love you both dearly.
    paul and charlotte

  14. Never met you but PRAYED!!!So happy for you both. Hope to meet you some day here in New Orleans. GOD IS GOOD!!!

  15. Jason& Brooke, I don’t know you, I learned of the situation when our mutual friend Shannon West posted about Jason’s condition. Immediately God placed it on my heart to be praying for him, and my husband joined in as well. We praise God for his faithfulness to answer our prayers, He’s definitely not done using Jason here on earth, to God be the glory!!

  16. Sunday morning, as john steward come forward and he shared your story to our class service at Jakarta, Indonesia. He leading pray as we all praying together for you. One word, life. We believe resurration God. Praise God for The answer

  17. “Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

    (Alex Parnell’s mom….been praying with you and for you since Alex shared your great need.)

    “Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow; Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.”

  18. “My grace is sufficient for you…” II Corinthians 12:9

    “He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater;
    He sendeth more strength when the labors increase,
    to added affliction He addeth His mercy;
    To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

    His love has no limit; His grace has no measure; His power has no boundary known unto men.
    For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
    He giveth, and giveth and giveth again.”

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