“What’s so special about him? He has a lisp!” Asked my girlfriend’s mother as I pulled away in my car after our “initial introduction.”
However, a few days later when I rang that same doorbell, my future mother-in-law “melted” when she answered the door, where I stood holding a single red carnation just for her!
Sharon and I dated seriously throughout high school; I went away to college as Sharon was finishing her senior year. Our love was blooming and was matched only in size by our long-distance telephone bills.
The next year, Sharon joined me at the University of Texas at Austin. We were so happy. We were on top of the world and felt our lives were set. That was true, until that eventful evening when in a split second our lives changed forever!
On February 18, 1981, we were studying at the library of the University. It was late, and Sharon wanted to return to her dormitory to go to sleep. We slid into my car and headed toward her dorm, but, unfortunately, my gas gauge was registering empty. I pulled into a nearby convenience store, borrowed $2 from Sharon, and walked inside to pay for the gas.
Things do not always work out as one plans them. Unfortunately, the store was in the midst of a robbery, and one of the thieves forced me into the cooler. He followed me, pushed me to the floor, and calmly shot me in the back of the head — execution style!
The story does not end there. Yes, the criminal thought I was dead, thus eliminating any witness to the crime. However, when the thieves left the store, I still had a faint pulse.
Very few people believed I would remain alive much longer. This is why the police transferred my case to the Homicide division. It is also why the neurosurgeon when he was awakened at his home to see me at the hospital, came quickly but returned home as he believed an operation would be futile.
However, when the doctor returned to the hospital in the morning, he was shocked to see that I was still alive. He told my parents that an operation was necessary, but added it was unlikely I’d survive the surgery.
I defied all odds and survived the surgery. The surgeon warned my parents that I was breathing, but would probably never be able to communicate with or understand anyone who was attempting to communicate with me. He said I would be “a vegetable.”
Hearing those words, my father told Sharon, “Get on with your life …”
Sharon quickly replied, “Mike is my life.”
Even though we were not yet married, Sharon believed in the vows, “in sickness and health.” She dropped out of college for one semester to be with me at the rehabilitation hospital in Houston. Sharon was spending her time with her “drooling boyfriend in the hospital” while other college freshmen were spending their time at parties.
Eventually, Sharon returned to Austin to continue her college education. Once again we had enormous phone bills.
My goal was to also return to the University to be with Sharon. Eighteen months after the tragedy that no one thought I would survive, I accomplished that goal. One of the primary reasons was … Sharon, my love, who refused to give up or give in.
Four years after returning to college I graduated. For me, that meant I could finally propose to Sharon, my light at the end of the dark tunnel. She was the one who would always encourage me to look forward and not to focus on the past.
On a beautiful day in May, Sharon and I exchanged vows and were married. We were meant to be together. We had dated for nine long and eventful years, but I realized at the wedding that it was worth everything. Sharon was truly my “soul mate.”
We have been married for many years, and have a beautiful daughter, Shawn. We have experienced so much together — some bad, but more, much more, great.
This is not merely a “love letter” to my wife. Rather, it is the story of a girl overcoming everyone’s advice to not continue with her critically injured boyfriend. To me, that shows what kind of woman Sharon is–pure beauty, both inside and out. Further, it proves that we should never give up on our dreams. I give Sharon all the credit for my recovery–not me. I don’t know where I would be without her–definitely not where I am today.
This story began with a question asked by my girlfriend’s mother, “what’s so special about Mike?” The true answer is: there is nothing “so special about Mike.” However, Sharon IS the one who is so very special! Sharon, I love you very much!
(C) 2017 by Michael Jordan Segal, MSW; all rights reserved.
Feel free to reach out to Michael and let him know how his story has touched you by using any of the following:
Web site: www.InspirationByMike.com
Email: [email protected]