‘I ran barefoot down the street. My little boy was lying in the road. He looked so precious, like he was sleeping. Then I saw the blood.’: 12-year-old suffers traumatic brain injury, ‘He’s our miracle’

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“‘I know God is real because He created the sun, the moon, the stars, the trees, cars, and blue jeans.’ That was the precious response my 12-year-old son, Elisha, gave to his older brother, Josh, who asked, ‘Mom, how do we know God is real?’ I looked at both of them and said, ‘God has to become real to you!’ I told the boys when they go through a situation neither of them ever expected and they see God show up in all of His glory, power, and might, that’s when God will become personal to each of them.

It was Sunday evening, August 5, 2012. It was our usual family night for us. Josh, our oldest, had made his ‘famous’ spaghetti for dinner and then Josh and Elisha went to ride their bikes to the playground right down the street. I sat down on the sofa to write down Old Testament Bible stories for family Pictionary.

10 minutes later, there was a knock at my door… Elisha, my little boy, had been hit by a car.

I remember being barefoot running down my street, hearing sirens, not sure what to expect but feeling the fear of what I would see once I got to the scene of the accident. I rounded the corner of the street Elisha had been hit on and every sound seemed muffled. I was breathing heavily from the run, adrenaline, fear, all of it. Nate had run ahead of me and was already squatting, looking down… Time seemed to move so slow in that moment. I saw Nate and I saw what he was looking at…

I could hear my heart beating in my ears like a bass drum… like it sounds when your head is completely submerged in water and all you can hear is your own heartbeat… thump… thump… thump…

Then… My heart stopped. Everything stopped.

Courtesy of Robin Foutz

I saw my little boy lying in the road on his right side. He looked so precious, like he was sleeping. His left leg was across his right one and his arms were both in front of him, crossed at the wrists, like anyone of us would have our own arms if we were curled up on the sofa taking an afternoon nap. I looked at his face and he looked a little pale but still so sweet.

Then I saw the blood… It puddled around him like a blanket. It started under his head, and I could see where it had flowed all the way down past his knee. I watched Elisha as I ran closer. I saw no one but Elisha. I heard no one. Then Nate’s movement, as he turned to face me, shattered the quiet. I looked at Nate, his own face pale and in shock. He raised his hand up to stop me and told me to not come closer. Nate knew me better than anyone. I trusted him and didn’t get too close to Elisha.

In retrospect, I wonder why I was able to restrain myself in that moment. I guess most mothers would run up to their child in a panic and do something more appropriate but I had no idea what I was doing and certainly wasn’t thinking about what I was ‘supposed’ to do. I walked right past Elisha and Nate. I was in a daze, I guess. Was I in shock? I don’t know. I felt hollow. Numb. My arms felt heavy. My feet felt like I was dragging 20 pounds with each step. Even that description seems to minimize what was going on inside of me. I mean, how should I have felt right after seeing my own child laying in his own blood?

I don’t know how far I walked or where I was going but all of a sudden, something took over my emotions. I couldn’t cry. I couldn’t be afraid. I started feeling a confidence rise up from deep down. I looked up to heaven, raised my hands, and said, ‘God, I know You! I know You are good! I know You! I know You are good!’ The more I said it, the louder I became. ‘God I know you! I know you are good! I know you are faithful! I know you!’

I remember I looked to the left and saw the young lady who was driving the car that hit Elisha. She was completely hysterical. It didn’t faze me. All I could think about was God. ‘God I know you! I know you are good!’ Those words kept falling from my lips.

I got into the passenger seat of one of the EMT’s cars. The radio was on so, without a thought, I reached over and turned the radio off and started praying again. The EMT finally got in the driver’s seat. I know we spoke but I can’t recall what the conversation was about. It was like my whole being remained in a state of prayer and faith. I kept telling my mind, will, and emotions, ‘I know God. He is good.’ I could feel those words shutting down any fear or doubt that started to rise.

Courtesy of Robin Foutz

When we got to the hospital, I was ushered into a small waiting room. I was there by myself and I began to pray. As I prayed, I shook from the inside… my body was quaking. I didn’t cry or break down at the hospital but I felt this confidence that was deep in me battling with the emotions that wanted to swallow me whole. As I kept praying, the confidence was just there inside of me, strengthening my resolve, keeping me centered on the Lord, and enveloping me with a supernatural faith I could not muster in the natural.

Nate, his family, and my mom came into the room. I still hadn’t seen Elisha. I asked Nate how my baby was doing. He told me Elisha had a bad injury to his head and had a compound fracture on his left leg but all of his other organs were stable. I know there are parents out there wondering why I didn’t go back to see Elisha, and I believe it was because the Lord was building my faith up, equipping me for what we were dealing with before I saw it with my eyes. I trusted Nate, the doctors, and the Lord to take care of our little man.

Courtesy of Robin Foutz

A nurse with a tender smile came into the room and said, ‘You are going to want to see Elisha before he gets on the helicopter.’ They were going to fly Elisha to the hospital at UVA because he was stable. At that point, I agreed. I ran out to the helipad. It was dark and hazy from the drizzle. It was almost movie-like with the weather the way it was. I saw the pilot, nurses, EMTs, and a stretcher with my little baby boy laying on it, completely still. His head and neck were secure with a neck brace and he had big straps wrapped around him holding him to the stretcher. I had wished those straps could have been my arms, holding my baby, soothing away the pain in his little body.

Courtesy of Robin Foutz

I stepped closer to the stretcher and I could see Elisha’s sweet little face. It should have been difficult to see him clearly because there wasn’t a lot of light but my tunnel vision kicked in again. I couldn’t hear anyone else around me, I just looked at Elisha. I could see his sweet little nose, the dimple in his chin, his precious eyes were shut. He had dried blood on the right side of his face but he looked peaceful. I didn’t know where to touch him without hurting him. I decided to lay my hand on his shoulder and told him, ‘Baby, you are going to be okay. I love you! Jesus is with you and He loves you so much!’ I kissed his cheek and walked away.

Courtesy of Robin Foutz

That was the beginning of the last 8 years. That day Elisha suffered a traumatic brain injury and a compound fracture of his left femur. He ended up being put into a medically induced coma. My little boy had brain swelling and multiple strokes. They put him on a ventilator and then they eventually put in a trachea.

We ended up leaving UVA after 30 days of being in a come and they flew Elisha to Levine’s Children’s hospital where we began therapy. 3 weeks into our stay they removed Elisha’s trach. He started to wake up but it was difficult, due to the fact they couldn’t regulate the medications. In-patient therapy lasted about 3 months.

Courtesy of Robin Foutz

When we finally brought him home, the week of Thanksgiving 2012, he was on 18 medications. It was our job to wean him off of those meds. To be honest, that’s when we started seeing Elisha make progress.

Emily Johnson Photo

Since then, Elisha has had more than 16 surgeries. He is in a wheelchair and is nonverbal. However, his life is changing the world. He has more joy and light in him than anyone I know. His smile lights up a room and he still has the same personality he had before his accident. He’s always been my sweet, sensitive, young man who is mindful of the feelings of others. Today, he is the exact same way. Elisha’s life is a testament to how important it is to find joy in the midst of the greatest struggles. He is our little miracle man who is inspiring people with his joy.

Emily Johnson Photo

Life is unfair and it’s hard at times, but you have a choice. You can choose to allow the struggles of life to defeat you or you can choose to find joy even in the middle of your pain. Joy is always there if you look!”

Emily Johnson Photo

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Robin Foutz from Appomattox, VA. You can follow their journey on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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