Just over a year ago, our 37-year-old son had a massive heart attack in the middle of the night. Luckily, he and his wife were up decorating for their 4-year-old daughter’s birthday. His wife gave him CPR until the paramedics took over. As each member of our family heard the news, devastation followed. As my husband and I drove 4 hours to our son’s home, each of our children called us trying to understand what, why and how this happened. We couldn’t bear the thought of our vibrant, young father of four leaving his family fatherless. I couldn’t endure the thought of his children being without their dad.
During the next couple of days, prayer was all we could do. We learned there were prayer groups in Grand Junction and Saint George, as well as in Canada. A group in Abuja, Nigeria had their priest pray for him. A group of women in Chandler, Arizona joined in a fast for him. Many friends reached out to each of us and said, “We have him in our prayers.” My 100-year-old father-in-law prayed that his own life could be taken so that his grandson’s life could be spared.
We were so touched by our children’s response. They all immediately drove from different areas of the country to be together and support Jonathan’s family. Slowly, we learned that he would live; but it would take time to find out if he had sustained damage to his brain. He is a Radiation Oncologist, and needed all of his faculties to be perform his work. He had only been in practice 3 years, after 13 years of education and training. The statistics for what he had been through were pretty bleak, less than 5% make it to full recovery.
As we look back a year later, we can see what truly can only be called a miracle. He had sustained no noticeable damage to his brain or organs. Because of the rarity of someone his age, in excellent health and no history of heart disease, he consulted with doctors at the Mayo Clinic who told him they could find no sign of him actually having a heart attack. He was actually back at work a month after his life-changing ordeal.
It was life changing not only for him, but for all of us who know and love him. I think we all look at life differently and see how fleeting it is. His irreplaceable role as a father to his four little ones cannot be measured. He is there for them every day, and his greatest joy is being a husband to his sweet wife and a father to his adoring children. This picture hangs in the entryway of their home. It was taken one week after his heart attack. At the same time, he recorded this song, a sweet rendition of how he viewed his miraculous recovery, to live another day to fulfill his role as a father. Our experience proved to us the irreplaceable role of a father, of a husband, of a son, of a brother, and of a friend.