May Happenings

May was a big month for us. It usually is, what with our anniversary (6 years!), Emily’s birthday (less than 31) and Mother’s Day (first with two offspringers). But this May was of particular note.

My brother got married on May 19th. We drove down to North Carolina to make sure the good times rolled. They sure rolled. My brother Graham and his beautiful bride Lizzie made sure of that. They even made us a part of it. I was one of the groomsmen and Nyra Jane was the pretty little flower girl. We were very glad to be able to bring a caregiver with us to help with the driving and my care. Fortunately for me, he was a guy familiar with dressing up, which worked out nicely for the wedding because he was one of the only guys back in the dressing room who knew how to tie a tie. Watch and learn, fellas, watch and learn.

I rolled in like a suit on wheels, the food truck in the middle of a smorgasbord of manly dishes. We men stood there in our tailored grey suits with our brother (whether in blood, through adoption, by marriage or in Christ) and watched as the bridesmaids floated down the aisle and took their places opposite us. We all watched and awwed as little Ny took her sweet time tiptoeing down the aisle grinning at every face and gently dropping the occasional flower petal until she finally made her way up to Uncle Graham and ran into his waiting arms. Once she was back in her seat and out of the spotlight for the moment, everyone turned their attention back up front and listened to the pastor’s charge to Graham: 

“Graham, do you choose to reject passivity, accept responsibility and lead courageously?” 
     “I do,” Graham solemnly replied. 
Then, “Graham, behold your bride.” 

The crowd turned, the music rose, and Graham’s eyes leaked like a broken faucet as he watched the girl he’d waited five and a half years for walk toward him, clutching her daddy’s arm. Their eyes met, their hearts spilled over and for a moment they were blinded by their own tears.

“Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” the pastor asked Lizzie’s father.

“Her mother and I,” was the reply.

Lizzie gave a long, sweet hug to the man who’d raised her and turned to face the man who’d stolen her heart.

Graham and Lizzie had written their own vows. I can’t remember them well enough to do them justice, but suffice it to say there wasn’t a dry eye in the room as they read them aloud to each other. Except Nyra, who was too busy looking at pictures of herself on Grandma’s phone to notice there was a wedding going on. Then came the rings. And, “Do you take this woman?” “Do you take this man?” 

“I do” from Graham. “Absolutely” from Lizzie.
“I now pronounce you man and wife.”


And just like that, they became one. 

It was simultaneously crazy and awesome to see my little brother get married. I was honored to be a small part of it and I was proud to see him start his new life with his perfect match. He made a tremendous choice in a life partner, but so did she. Lizzie, if you’re reading this, I know I speak for all the Bargerons in saying we’re blessed to have you as a part of our family. 

After the wedding, which was in Durham (unfortunately the home of Duke University), we drove down to Charlotte, the city where I was born and bred on sweet tea and biscuits. We spent the next five days there in my parents’ house soaking up time with my five other siblings and other family and friends who stopped by to say howdy.

One day we got to go visit a guy with a traumatic brain injury quite like my own. Josh Ziner was in a car accident last year with a drunk driver and sustained multiple injuries, the majority of which have healed. Just not his TBI. Like my injury, his left him with all the ability to think and reason, but very limited ability to express it physically or verbally. And due to some complications with his tracheostomy, he’s not yet able to speak. He and his family are waiting for insurance and funds to come through for an accessible van so they can take him to go get the rehab he needs to not only walk and use his arms, but to at least be able to talk again. 

I can remember back to when I wasn’t able to verbalize my wants and needs following my own accident. It was far and away the hardest period of my injury. For me it only lasted a month or two, for a few reasons:
1) Every TBI is as unique as a fingerprint.
2) My trach was able to be removed the month after the accident with no issues. 
3) Michigan’s law requiring auto insurance to cover all the medical expenses of someone injured in an auto accident ensured I could receive all the treatment and therapy I needed (and still need).

A month of not being able to speak was nearly unbearable. For some, only a day without talking would be enough to drive them batty. For Josh it’s been eight months. What a horrific trial for Josh to go through, and for his family as they seek to care for his physical needs and come up with the funds constantly needed to ensure he gets the rehab, medical attention and equipment he needs. Emily and I often take for granted the tremendous blessing of Michigan auto no fault until we’re confronted with a story like Josh’s, where financial needs are exceedingly greater than our own. 

The Ziner family has a fundraiser page for their ongoing expenses. I know we’ve asked you all so many times for so many things, and honestly I get tired of asking. Not because you’re crummy givers or need to be nagged; on the contrary, I’m always staggered by the fact that God has provided for our every need since the accident through you all. The only reason I get tired of asking is because I’m (still) too proud to admit I need help. But I’m not asking you to help us this time. The Ziners need help. 

When I got to meet Josh, God made my heart hurt for him like he was my brother. I want him to have the opportunities I’ve had: the opportunities for rehab, for technology that enables me to use a computer and a phone, for communication. I stand with the Ziners in the confidence that God will do as He promises in His Word and provide for their every need (whether or not that includes the sweet gadgets I’ve been able to collect over the years). What God has promised, God will do. 

But I also know what a blessing it is to be a part of that provision. Check out his story on the fundraiser or on their Facebook group and see what you think, what you can do. I know they also have T-shirts you can buy and will be hosting an online auction soon. I don’t know details for the auction yet, but if you have Facebook you can join the group and find out when they start the auction. If you can help financially, sweet. Please do. But whether you can or can’t give, please pray. God works through the prayers of His saints – those who believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and their Savior. He makes this abundantly clear in His Word. Pray for Josh’s healing, yes. Pray for a full recovery, absolutely. But pray that Josh and his family would see Christ in a new light through this unexpected disability. 

Pray the same for us.

James 1:2-4 Consider it all joy, brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me [Paul], “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.