92: Give Thanks

92: Give Thanks

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings

Give Thanks

Music’s the medicine of the mind.
~John A. Logan

The sounds of the helicopter blades were deafening, but all I could hear in my heart and soul was myself singing “Give thanks with a grateful heart.” Just hours before I had crawled away from a fiery inferno that once was our motor home. I had seen my skin melting off my arms and legs and felt excruciating pain from my back. The intense heat was literally melting me. The black billowing smoke blinded me as I looked for my husband and daughter. As I raced from the menacing flames I screamed, “Save my family! Save my family!”

Now, as I lingered in a fog, lying on a stretcher, all I could remember is the song that I was singing. I had been taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital to be stabilized. I was told that my family was alive. The nurses quickly cut the clothes off my charred body and the wedding ring off my swollen finger. I could hear my adult daughter screaming, “I want my mother” over and over from the room next to mine. I kept insisting that I needed to be with her, but three people working on me held me down. I had no idea how extreme my injuries were, and my heart was breaking with each one of her screams. They calmly kept telling me she was all right, and that they had taken my husband by helicopter to the burn center three hours away. That is when the song started playing in my head. My family is alive, and all I wanted to do was to praise God.

Now I was in the helicopter on my way to the burn center. “Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One, give thanks for what He has done for me.” As they lifted me off the helicopter, one of my good friends was there to greet me. I was trying to lift my hands as I sang, and she gently helped me as she joined in. I kept saying “God is good.” He kept us all alive.

That song kept me going through my darkest hours. Several days passed, and when I woke up in the burn unit, I recognized the enormity of the accident. Forty-eight percent of my body was burned and my back had been broken. Our daughter was thrown through the window away from the fire but broke many bones. My husband was lying in a coma two rooms from my own. He had fifteen fractures in his head and was sixty-eight percent burned with a nine percent chance of living.

I was trapped inside a severely burned body and the pain was ferocious. I had in fact become a prisoner within my uncontrollable shivering frame. Tears poured from my eyes, but my burned arms and hands could not reach to wipe them away.

My entire life had been full of challenges, and I knew my faith and music had always upheld me in the past. This time I would have to trust and allow them to carry me through this healing and restoring season. I had my son bring in a CD player and my praise worship music. The music played all through the day and gave me encouragement.

The song “Give Thanks” became my theme song for my bandage changes. Each day was full of extreme pain as I experienced two-hour bandage changes each morning and each night. I would ask my nurses to put my music on. As I tried to sing along, I would concentrate on each word, and the words would give me the hope I needed to get through. The nurses would sing along as they worked on me, and I found the music helped me with the pain management. Whenever I thought I could not go through another minute of the procedure, I would relocate into my music.

The melodies played on through the challenging and happy times of my life.

Thankfully, my husband and daughter survived. I now sing happy songs to my grandchildren and life can’t get much better. We’ve since made it our melody to share our success story with burn survivors and families all over the world, passing on the song of hope. I hope you too will find a song within the deep recesses of yourself to make it through life’s challenging moments, knowing whatever your trial may be there is a brighter note to be sung.

~Susan Lugli

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