true love can overcome tragedy

Being put in the position to make a life or death decision is something I would have never dreamed of having to do in this life.

My husband and I had so many conversations about what we wanted and our beliefs in what helps a human heal. Even when I had a cold or we stayed too late for drinks with friends, holding each other always made the hurt fade. I have so many letters between us saying how we heal each other.

And we do.

But the strange guilt of “normal life” after making the decision to give Scott a chance is sometimes overwhelming. I feel like I can’t get mad; I shouldn’t be aggravated, frustrated, overwhelmed. I should be ecstatic every single day, because he is with me and he is alive and he is amazing.

The problem is, I am upset. I’m upset a lot. I miss our life, I miss him. I wish I could make it all go away.

Our promise to each other worked. I believe that on the most intimate level. I know being close to him and touching him constantly, helped him heal and still helps him. It wasn’t until I had my amazing therapist say to me, “The universe put you in charge at that moment, to make that decision, because it was yours to make.” I don’t have to hold on to it. I don’t have to own it. I am allowed to just know that I was needed at that moment to make that decision and now we need to move on with our new life.

Those words save me.

I had no idea that I was the one that needed saving. My husband and I met in high school. It was one of those meetings you feel like you “already know.” I already knew him, I already felt him. And here he is.

My red headed survivor.

We immediately connected and fell into our routine of high school dependency. We had our moments, our first kiss, “the wink” that proved my infatuation and teenage love.

But like most high school love stories we also had our goodbye. Fifteen years later and after many reconnections, it finally happened: We intertwined our lives.

It started with emails and random Facebook notes, then meetings and weekends away. Marriage and work and school and vacations and family came next. So many moments that became the time line of our lives.

Then tragedy.

What came next was not suppose to be part of our story. A love story that was suppose to be all highs and minimal lows.
But we have had our low.

A brain aneurysm, a fight for survival and making the ultimate decision of life. I remember looking to my cousin, someone that never left my side and loved him with everything she is. A longing question in my eyes, “Please tell me what to do.”

She couldn’t answer the question. The decision was mine to make. I wrote him that day, like I had done every day for years before:

May 9, 2014

How could I ever answer this question? How do I make the decision?

You have to make the move. You have to save me from something that will ruin me.

I will do what you want. But what are the consequences?


I watched him breathe. I laid my head on his arm in the hospital room and felt his warmth. I kept our promise to each other and I “stayed close.”

We believe that touch heals and so that is what I did, to the confusion of many professionals. I memorized every freckle on my red headed husband’s hand. I kissed him. Past all the tubes and wires, I kissed him.

And he kissed me back.

Then I made the decision to give him a chance. A chance at life and love and more moments. Two days later I wrote him again:

May 12, 2014 (Mother’s Day)

Today you woke up
You were aware
In love
Moving forward


Tragedy wasn’t suppose to define our story, We are now recreating the life we had. Making new memories that he doesn’t remember. Taking photos and writing letters to reread to him until they stick. Bringing hope to others while we tread this crazy journey of recovery.

We love and laugh and cry and support each other. We stay close and work hard. And we are together.

The decision was given to me to make because…I already knew him when I met him. The path for us was already laid. This tragedy will not define our love.

Triumph will.

Danielle Hawkins is a true believer in love. And one of her favorite things to say has always been “I am well aware that I am one of the lucky ones.” After her husband suffered a brain aneurysm at 37 years old, she found herself in a world that didn’t feel so lucky.

Making the decision to not take her husband off life support and give him a chance at recovery, she then found herself thrust in to the medical world. Supporting her husbands and her decision to “just stay close” and to also bring in as many natural healers as possible was not always an easy path in today’s western medicine. But she was able to find a way to have Reiki, massage, chiropractic, music and aromatherapy brought in during his 6 month hospitalization. Since her husband came home they have added a naturopath, acupuncture and soon a yoga instructor to his healing team.

These, along with modern medicine and therapy, not only saved her husband’s life but has given him his life back.

Today, Danielle and her husband, are navigating their new world and our still enjoying traveling and spending so much time with family and friends. She hopes that what they have learned along this journey will help others through their struggles and bring hope to those that need it.

There is always HOPE.

Written by Guest Author
The Caregiver Space accepts contributions from experts for The Caregiver's Toolbox and provides a platform for all caregivers in Caregiver Stories. Please read our author guidelines for more information and use our contact form to submit guest articles.

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