The Cards

By simple words, Marty was reconnected to life

by Larry Kinard

When Marty was in ICU after a ruptured aneurysm, people sent cards to our son’s address in Dallas or our home in Waco. Our friend Sue would truck them to us at the hospital when she visited. The cards were from all over: friends from church, Marty’s high school and college friends, strangers from other churches, little kids from Sunday school, our own kids and our family.

I sat by Marty’s hospital bed where she lay in a coma. Tubes coming from all parts of her body drained fluids, breathed for her and fed her. I would sit there and read her the cards and the notes inside the cards, often several times. It was a way to stabilize the chaos in my head, a way to drown out the constant hum of the respiratory equipment and the tones of the machines measuring Marty’s life forces. Maybe it also was a way to reach into Marty’s consciousness.

Reading those cards kept me connected and reminded me of the love and care of others. I read the cards to Marty hoping somehow she heard their message: we love you, we are praying for you, wake up, get up, recover.

After Marty regained consciousness, and I sat by her bed amazed she was finally awake,  I once again read each card aloud, to my miracle of a wife who was still missing the left front part of her skull, had matted dirty hair from lying on her back for six weeks, and still had way too many tubes coming from all parts of her body.

I read the cards to her, sometimes multiple times during the day. I wanted her to feel what I felt when I first read them. I wanted her to feel the connection to people outside of our new world centered in a medical facility; I wanted her to hear the encouragement and pleas of her friends, old and new, to move, to recover, to get well. I wanted her to know how many people loved her. The cards helped with a very simple message: you have been laid low but you have not been forgotten.

I read her the encouraging words from Jane Ann, the words of love from my brother John, the words of comfort from Sherry, the words of prayer from complete strangers in a friend’s church and the simple words from children.

We read them as Marty came back to life, as she went to a regular room, as she sat up in a wheelchair for the first time in weeks, as Erin cut off her dirty, matted hair. I took the cards to comprehensive rehab and read them as the miracle of Marty’s recovery continued. I read the new ones from Amelia and Joe and Ellen and Luan. I read the old ones again, and every time Marty would listen and ask, “Now who sent that?” It was proof she was recovering.

I’m a big connectional guy. I hate to feel isolated and I need to feel close to the world, to my people. The cards did that for me. For Marty, they meant even more; they reminded her of who she was. In a strange kind of way they brought her back to her world. By simple words on simple cards, and by simple notes, she was reconnected to life. The cards and the words and the people who sent them are our treasure.

 

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