Rebirthday Gratitude

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

(I recently came across this post on Facebook and was greatly inspired by it. It is a wonderful account of encouragement, faith and grace by Jessica Byrum, who is my cousin,  Alegre’s friend. Jessica’s husband, Chris was in a horrific motorcycle accident one year ago. The following is her personal and intimate response to her family’s arduous ordeal. She was gracious enough to let me share her Facebook post along with the photos and captions here at  For more on this story CLICK HERE. LH)

By Jessica Byrum on November 28, 2012

“It’s my birthday.” he said. “Yes dear. Wait. What?” Looking up from my coffee, I gave him my best puzzled stare. “Today is my birthday, honey. It’s been a year.” Knowing his birthday wasn’t until January, I glanced at my cell phone and read the date. November 28th. It took a second for the light bulb to come on, but as it did, a mixture of feelings began to bubble up. Anger, fear, fatigue, resignation, hope, thankfulness and gratefulness all bounced around inside me. One year ago today, my husband was in a horrible motorcycle accident. He broke his neck and spine, shattered his face, shoulder, arm, punctured his lungs, broke his ribs and suffered massive brain damage. He stopped breathing on impact because of the break to his neck, and was not expected to live. If he survived, I was told he would be paralyzed from the neck down. But he did survive. And he isn’t paralyzed. So today, on the one year anniversary of my husband’s motorcycle accident, I’ve decided to stare the accident straight in the face and list what I am thankful:

1) I am thankful for Dr. Cynthia Cellucci who took the time to stop, call 911, take medical command of the scene and save my husband’s life.

2) I am thankful for Barbara, the O.R. nurse who also stopped at the scene. It was because of her help, Dr. Cellucci was able to remove his motorcycle helmet, start an intubation tube and hand-pump air into his lungs.

3) I am thankful for Dr. Carter who, instead of playing it safe, opted for a more “aggressive” spinal surgery. Because of her decision, my husband is walking today.

4) I am thankful for Dr. Lee who skillfully put my husband’s eyes and face back together. Without him, my husband wouldn’t be able to see.

5) I am thankful for Dr. Kungys who, using metal plates and screws, rebuilt my husband’s shoulder and arm.

6) I am thankful for Mercy Hospital who let me live side-by-side with my husband night and day, both at the T.I.C.U. and at his acute rehab facility.

7) I am thankful for my husband’s boss, co-workers and employer who gave him an overwhelming display of support, help and kindness.

8) I am thankful for my family, in-laws, friends and church family who prayed 24/7 for his life and healing, who stayed by my side in the TICU waiting room, who brought me peppermint mochas and jokes and laughter and food and prayers and hugs and hope and encouragement.

9) I am thankful for those friends and family who took care of my kids, fed them, took them shopping, did homework with them, comforted them, bought them Christmas gifts, spent time with them, gave them a place to stay and hope when their world was turned upside down.

10) I am thankful for family, friends, co-workers, strangers, and friends of friends who emailed me words of encouragement and hope as I walked through my darkest hours.

11) I am thankful for my mother-in-law, who brought me coffee every morning, sat by my side night and day and never gave up hope.

When I look back on all that’s happened since November 28th, 2011, I am overwhelmed with emotion. A tapestry has unrolled over the last year, revealing a beautiful picture of family and friends coming together to help, encourage and love us through the storm. Because of your prayers, my husband is alive! Because of your encouragement, my children are strong! Because of your giving, my family is provided for! Because of your love, we are well! Because of YOU, we are WHOLE! 1 Corinthians 13:13 “But for right now, we have three things to do: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of these three is love.” (The Message)

Chris in TICU (Trauma Intensive Care Unit) of Mercy San Juan Hospital about a week after his accident.


This is a "servival" bracelet that Chris' friend, who was deployed in Afghanistan at the time, made and had shipped to the US. He and some men in his company prayed over it and wanted to send an expression of those prayers of healing to Chris and his family.


Motorcycle accident
January 2012--Chris and Jessica at Mercy General's Acute Rehabitation Facility in Sacramento, where Chris learned to walk again.


Valentine's Day 2012. It was the first time Chris got to thank Dr. Cynthia Cellucci for saving his life. Although she vistited him many times, he was in a coma and didn't remember. When he was well enough, he bought her roses and candy and wrote her a beautiful thank you letter, then "surprised" her at work to say thank you!


Chris with staff from the TICU that took care of him. The man on the right is Dr. Daugherty, a neurosurgeon that was on duty the 2nd week of his hospitalization. After this pic was taken, Dr. Daugherty took Jessica aside and said this: "I'm thankful that Dr. Carter was on call the night of your husband's accident. I never would have recommended the aggresive surgery plan that she did. I would have gone with a much safer plan. But, my plan would have left him paralyzed. I just wanted you to know the truth." On a side note, Dr. Daugherty took ALL of Chris' SDI, work, and secondary insurance paperwork and filled it all out HIMSELF. Every nurse on duty that day told Jessica it was UNHEARD OF for a neurosurgeon to do SDI paperwork (it's admins job). They were all completely stunned! But because of Dr. Daugherty's kindness, they got their paperwork through immediately and did not have to stress about finances. Jessica reports,"There were so many, many little incidents like that which happened over and over throughout each day. God was SO GOOD to us!"
Chris with his motorcycle before the accident. He has ridden a bike for almost 25 years, and he commuted to work everyday. He has never once had an accident until 11/28/11. The accident was deemed 100% the other drivers fault.


Byrum Family Today.
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is an aspiring Bounty Hunter who is always looking for God's Bounty-- His grace and goodness-- in the mundane and melancholy as well as in the miraculous. She is also a wife, mother of four adult children--two with Cerebral Palsy, grandmother and minister of the Gospel. "You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance." Psalm 65:11 NLT

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