As we fell asleep last night, we knew in our hearts that is was time for us to share all that God has done for our family in response to our plea for prayers. In hindsight, we can see that angels and saints have interceded and that Our Blessed Mother Mary has made perfect, the prayers that were sent to heaven. We have also seen and now understand more clearly, that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.
From the beginning, we knew that it was not our strength that helped us breathe, walk or cope each day. It was like we were moving along on a cloud, which was the power of your prayers. There was no doubt in our minds who was in charge of this event in our life. We knew our lives had been changed, our pathway was going to be more of a climb than before. But we prayed for trust each day and the will to allow God's hand to work through everyone involved. That continues to be a constant challenge, especially for this mother who has always thought she was 'in charge' of her 4 sons......smile.
At the scene, I knew that this very surreal occurence was God's will. I called out loud to Him and my dearest Mother Mary to help sustain me in that very painful grief. As I looked down at my hands, I saw the blood of my son and in that second, I started to talk to Blessed Mary and told her how sorry I was for the pain she had to endure. I asked her to hold me as I tried to walk with Jesus in that moment. The torment was so real, and after I told her I was so sorry, I felt her peace. I was able to ask a firefighter to sprinkle holy water over Paul's body, and ask God to bless him. He did not really want to take the time, and another man walked up and asked me what I needed. I told him that I was Catholic, and that my son needed to be blessed and that is all, that I would pray for God's mercy while it was being done. He said he was also Catholic, and he made sure that Paul was blessed. ( I was not allowed to get near my son). This man also drove to our church that was 2 miles away and summoned Fr. Paddy. When I got to the hospital, we had 2 priests waiting to annoint Paul. The peace we felt for Paul was such a comfort.
2 times, when we were told Paul would probably die, there were so many people at the hospital, and as Paul was brought through the hallways for CAT scans or MRI's people were praying over him and then we would get the news that the crisis was over. The doctor seemed surprised after that last crisis was averted. But we smiled and knew who was with Paul.
On the day where we felt our first real despair and grief, a woman came to the waiting room and said she had been led by the Holy Spirit that day to visit us and to help us. At the moment, I felt so drained that my first reaction was to wish I could just be alone. She said that her son, on his 21st birthday, was also injured in an accident where he hit a tree. Very serious and significant damage was done to his brain. She said that she was told to be kind and to take her son off his life support. She received very little encouragement from the medical profession. But the Holy Spirit kept speaking to her heart and she persisted in her pleas to continue treatment. He is alive, walks with the aid of a walker and has full cognitive ability........after being in a coma for ONE YEAR ! She felt that we needed to hear that. And we did, as that day they indicated that maybe we should think about not letting Paul have the trach tube put in. God sent a messenger again.
Yesterday, once again, the hospital reminded us again, that Paul has a severe brain injury and did we understand what they were trying to tell us. We do know it is very severe. I found myself repeating over and over in my head, that where there is breath there is life. Where there is life there is hope and where there is hope there is God. I told them to continue with everything necessary. But we started to waiver in our faith, wondering if we were missing the message that God might be trying to send. So we went into Paul's room and told him to go home to God, if that was God's will. We knew we had to submit to all that God was asking and that we had to say yes to it. We left feeling so much despair. We came out to the waiting room and Paul's boss (Mr. Watson)was out there and said he had brought something for Paul. He had been in Savannah the day before and for some reason, had stopped because a homeless man had smiled at him and the smile just caught his attention. He asked if he could do something for the man, food or something and the man said no. He was making something with a strand from a palm tree while he was talking to Mr. Watson. Mr Watson gave him $10 and the man did a little dance. Mr Watson started to walk away, but then turned around and asked the man if he would do something for him. Mr. Watson asked if he would pray for a young man that he cared for, named Paul Fidero. He asked if the man would get all his friends to pray also. The smile never left the homeless man's face and he quoted some scripture verses, and then handed the palm strand to Mr. Watson and said "Just wait" and then when Mr. Watson looked down, the palm strand had been fashioned into a beautiful rose !! Mr. Watson thanked him, walked a few steps and turned to look back at this man again, but the man was no where to be found. Mr Watson came straight to the hospital the next day to bring the rose to Paul, and today we used it to touch his eye and asked for God's blessings.
That helped us so much in that moment. Another gift to us. I had prayed to St. Therese to please send me roses from heaven that morning as I struggled on my faith journey. And God heard me.
At 10 pm last night, the phone rang and we were startled awake. It was the cell phone ringing and I did not recognize the number. I fully expected it was the hospital because Paul had been in some respiratory distress and they did not know why. The woman who called said that she didn't know us, but that she had heard about our son and she felt that she had to go pray the rosary over Paul last night. She was at the hospital at the moment and saw our number on the message board in Paul's room. She felt she had to call us to share why she was there. Her 18 yr old son, Chip Huggins, was in a very bad car accident 18 months ago. He looked much worse than Paul looked and had to have surgery on his brain right after the accident. She was told he would not make it and that there was not much hope of any recovery. She said she did not listen to the doctors after awhile, and instead lifted her son up in prayer. She asked if I knew of Msgr. Reynolds, a priest here in town. I said as a matter of fact I did. He was dying of cancer at St Joseph's hospital at the same time that my dad was there - also dying of cancer. Archbishop Donaghue was visiting Msgr. Reynolds and I saw the Archbishop in the hallway and asked him to please come bless my father. It was Good Friday and we thought my dad would die that day. My dad found great comfort from the blessing he received and died early Easter morning as we were in Mass for him. Mrs. Huggins said that Msgr Reynolds did not die and that he now has the gift of healing. She said he had prayed and annointed her son and that today, he is a freshman at Georgia Tech (tough school to get into) and he is doing well, even though he lost his sight in his left eye, which is what we feel may happen to Paul. She said that they are still praying for his sight. All is in God's power. Her son was released after only 8 weeks at Shepard Spinal clinic. There were many scares and moments of grave concern, but their faith moved mountains.
There are so many other moments of grace that God has sent us messages of His abundant love. I am trying to get it all written down as a reminder to our family that He will not leave us. That His love is for all of us and that we only need to say His holy name and allow His will to be done.
While this is a very long message about God's love, there is so much more to tell.His is a never ending story! But we felt it was time to show all of you what your prayers have brought to our whole family and countless others. Your prayers continue to be heard and are allowing us to hear and see the GOODNESS OF THE LORD. Our prayer for all of you is that you
'BE NOT AFRAID'.
This is the message above Paul's bed, with a picture of our Blessed Mother Mary holding John Paul II as he prays. This continues to be the "Miracle Season" and we ask all of you to give great thanks for all that has been seen and what is to come.
Jon and Rebecca Fidero