When you find yourself smack-dab in the middle of your darkest hour, having your loved ones around you is a tremendous comfort.
Madeline is the oldest of seven siblings, but she’s always felt closest to her brother Jonah. The pair had always enjoyed a tight bond and felt that they had each other’s backs, so when Madeline fell suddenly ill she craved her Army brother’s comforting presence desperately.
Madeline’s trouble started with agonizing headaches that didn’t go away, yet she was reluctant to seek treatment until she noticed her eyesight becoming diminished.
“My head was hurting all the time and then I started losing my vision. It came pretty sudden,” Madeline said. “The neurosurgeon had me do a whole bunch of scans and was like, ‘You need to come in here right now before you go completely blind in both eyes.’ It was super scary.”
Madeline was immediately admitted to the hospital and prepared for complicated brain surgery. Her siblings rushed to her side — all except for Jonah, who is currently serving in the United States Army in another state. Jonah says that when he heard the news about Madeline his blood went cold.
“I panicked,” he said. “I didn’t know what to feel. Especially with what it was, too. It wasn’t anything good. I just wanted to be back home.”
Thankfully, Jonah’s chain of command was understanding of the situation and granted him leave. The Red Cross then stepped in to help the soldier get home as quickly as he could. And that’s how it came to pass that on the day of Madeline’s terrifying brain surgery, she was granted the best surprise a big sister could ask for.
As her nurse and sister helped Madeline into her hospital room she spotted Jonah stretched out across the bed. Her face registers no reaction at first, and Madeline admits now that at the time she wasn’t sure if he was real or just a product of her brain tumor.
“I thought I was hallucinating or something until my other brother started crying.” As soon as Jonah stood up and reached for her she knew: her brother had found a way to be by her side when she needed him most.
Jonah was there holding Madeline’s hand as they wheeled her into surgery, and he stuck by her throughout her difficult recovery. “He was right there by my side the entire time,” she said. “The first night he was there, he had to sleep in a chair. It was very uncomfortable and he was sitting straight up.”
Madeline couldn’t have been more grateful to Jonah’s superiors in the Army for allowing him to come to her bedside. Jonah was able to stay with her until she was out of the woods before returning to base, but he says that hearing she was going to be okay was worth all of the stress he’d felt before. “It was the biggest relief of my life,” he admitted.
Madeline has now made a complete recovery and regained most of her eyesight. She’s looking forward to seeing her little brother again when he has leave in a few months.
Having your family near you has healing properties we don’t fully comprehend yet. There’s something about love that is both curative for the body and restorative for the soul. We’re so happy Madeline has recovered and grateful that her brother was able to help her get through this horrible chapter of her life.
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