My son asked me earlier in the weekend to accompany him to the movies on Monday afternoon. It was to be a birthday treat for his daughter and I agreed to come along to help out. Originally, this was supposed to be a rock-climbing party so the change of plans brought a smile to my face. When I found out we were to see “Miracles from Heaven”, the new Jennifer Garner movie, I was even happier. In fact, it all felt a bit like a miracle to me since spending my day off with eight little girls at a rock-climbing venue isn’t my idea of fun.
Promptly at 1:20, I met Matt and the rest of party. We traipsed through the lobby and followed the kids all the way up to the top of the movie theatre. The girls sat in the center row and I took a seat in the side section right next to Matthew. This gave the little ladies some semblance of being there by themselves. Once the movie began, I was riveted to the screen. Within the first thirty minutes the tears welled up in my eyes and I felt grateful to be separated from the party-goers. Forty-five minutes into the show and tears were streaming down my face. Now, I’m not what you would call a stoic person, but I can’t ever remember crying as much at a movie as I did that day. And, I knew why.
You see, one of the three sisters in this movie gets very ill. The mother (Jennifer Garner) is a powerhouse when it comes to fighting for her daughter. Jennifer Garner realistically expressed the raw emotions of a mother facing the loss of her child. I know. I’ve been there. In fact, my own miracle was sitting right next to me. When Matthew was sixteen years old, he was hit in the head with a shot putt while attending track and field practice. The date was May 1, 1991. The memory is forever etched in my mind…the call from his high school, the frantic ride to Chestnut Hill Hospital, the flurry of being whisked into the Emergency Room and seeing my beautiful boy distraught and in pain, my urgent call to his pediatrician and my words, “I want the best neurosurgeon, Doctor. Where would you send your own child?” and my relief when he replied, Abington Hospital.
Once Matt was taken to Abington and settled into his room in Intensive Care, I had to find my way to the chapel. Something inside drove me to this sacred space. I walked in, got on my knees and literally begged God to save our Matt, to restore him to health, to prevent affliction to his brain. Matt had sustained a hemotoma on the brain and if it swelled, they would have to operate. Three days later, they moved Matt to a regular room. A week later, we brought him home. Six months later, his neurologist looked at his CAT scan and said, “If I didn’t know better, I would never know Matt had sustained a brain injury from this CAT scan. Matt is forty-one years old today. He runs his own business, is the father of three girls and is one of the best people you could know. Watching Jennifer Garner, I relived my own trauma but this time my tears sprang not from fear but from gratitude. Matthew is my miracle!