BRODY: When you can’t talk, maybe it’s time to sing
So, so unlike him, this man — Ray — who loved people and would rather talk than most anything.
When he stopped altogether, even to his wife Ruth, it was a sign to his friends and family just how critically ill he was.
Some say he simply kept going at life until he had no more energy or strength to go anymore.
A four-way bypass heart surgery was necessary to give him a new start, which he endured well, and all his family settled in to help him through his unexplainable recovery.
But something went very wrong, and his health did not come back. Fatigued to his depths, he was unable to do any simple exercises right down to the essential lung clearing exercises he had to do daily.
He quit speaking, gesturing that he simply could not find the strength to do any of it.
What he did say he said in breathy whispers because of the pneumonia settled in both lungs.
Day after dark day, he lay in intensive care, detached and getting weaker and weaker.
Ever so often, as he felt the need to communicate, he fell into sign language. He found by simply moving fingers to form words, he, with the least of effort extended, could stay connected a little bit with other human beings.
Other than that, Ray, at age 68, was slipping away from the world quietly with eyes closed and body still.
He really seemed to be saying, “That’s all. I’m out of touch. I’ve lost the connection, so I can’t go on.”
The picture was bleak, and everyone was so sad. The only one who knew him best felt he seemed trapped and was just giving up on life.
One night, she leaned down close to his ear and said, “Ray you love to sing. Ray, if you can’t speak or you can’t sign, then sing to us.”
There were family members in the room, and they thought she was out of line. I mean how in the world could anyone sing when they couldn’t talk?
It was totally silent in the hospital room. Had he even heard her? Then his mouth opened and it was like angels came.
Low at first, then bold, he sang “Amazing Grace.”
“Amazing Grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I’m found,
Was blind but now I see.”
He sang it beautifully.
As the family stood around his bed, they had surely witnessed a miracle. Tentative at first, his words gained in strength with every word, and at the end, Ray laid in the light.
And in the light, he reconnected, and began in that instant new strength that eventually healed him.
I did not know this family, but I had heard of Ray — a godly man who loved people and loved to share what life was teaching him. The miracle was that God provided a detour to tell his life lessons. I am humbled by this story.
The view from the mountain is wondrous.
Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in The Sun for more than 25 years.