Dad died for 8 minutes: The cycling accident that changed everything
Marcus Loke // July 8, 2021, 5:44 pm
Dad was a high-flyer.
Because he built Changi Airport Terminal 3, ours was the first family who actually walked into the terminal.
He was also the project director for many other buildings such as Raffles City, Takashimaya and Republic Plaza.
But everything changed when he got into an accident while cycling in 2009.
After that, my dad would never be the same again.
I remember I was at a Christmas celebration when I received the news. Immediately, I rushed to the hospital.
When we arrived, the doctors told us that dad was unable to see and unable to move – he was fully handicapped.
At one point, dad’s heart stopped for around eight minutes.
Dad died in those eight minutes.
Miraculously, the doctors managed to resuscitate him, but his brain activity remained low.
Medically, a person becomes brain dead due to a lack of oxygen when the heart stops for more than five minutes.
So, the doctors told my family that dad was going to be a vegetable.
Even in the slightest chance my dad could recover, they couldn’t guarantee the quality of his life anymore.
My dad would remain in a coma for nearly a year.
YEARS OF CHAOS
Back when all these things were happening, the house we were living in was put up for an en bloc sale.
We were forced to shift out and rent a place, so we had to settle all the things like moving house, going to the hospital after school to take care of dad and taking care of my mother.
It was just chaos. I don’t know how we survived.
If you ask me now, I still feel sad at times.
After all, I was only 18 or 19 when the accident happened. To lose your dad at such a young age…
And I do compare with other people.
I remember when I was due for enlistment, everybody had their parents and family with them but I had to go in alone.
It was quite a heart-wrenching moment for me at that time because enlistment is such a major milestone of my life.
And I had to explain to my fellow friends as to why my parents were not there.
And because I’m the only guy in the family, I had to step up and take care of the family’s needs. I felt that I had to go through a very accelerated path.
Why can’t I be in a normal family? These were my honest thoughts.
THANK YOUS AND MIRACLES
One Sunday, as I was strumming and playing with my guitar, there was a moment I felt that there were a few words that God wanted me to sing.
And the words were “Thank You Lord”.
Strum after strum, more words and melodies started to come so I quickly penned them down.
And as I wrote them, I started tearing. I knew that for that moment that it was the Holy Spirit speaking to me.
He was telling me that in every situation, there will always be a reason to thank God.
At that time when the song was written, dad was still in the hospital.
Often, we would see muscle spasms when my dad was in a coma. And each time he moved, we’d be like, “Hey, are you awake?”
However, the doctor told us that it’s just muscle spasms because his brain scans showed that his brain activity was still low.
But we slowly started to see less and less involuntary types of movement. When we asked dad “Can you move your arm?”, we could see his arm moving. When we held his hand and asked if he could squeeze it, he squeezed it.
That gave us the indication that he was responding.
One day, we felt that my dad was trying to communicate with us.
We recited the alphabet from A to Z. If it was the letter that he wanted to choose, we told him to squeeze our hand.
It took quite a while but the message that we managed to string together was this: “I saw Jesus”.
And tears rolled down the corner of dad’s eyes.
Dad used to hate Christianity.
When I was in secondary school, there were a few times when I was grounded at home for going to church. I remember I had to attend cell groups in secrecy under the pretext of meeting friends. It was quite tough.
When I grew older, my parents gave me more autonomy. But each time I asked dad to come to church or if I could have cell groups at our place, he would be closed off to the idea.
He would always make fun of my siblings and I, asking why we went to church and all that.
So when he said he met Jesus, it was a moment that made me think: “Are you serious?”
It was a 180 degree turn.
HOPE AND MERCY
It’s been 12 years since. Dad woke up from his coma and was discharged one year after the accident.
Today, dad can walk with assistance. That was the one thing that the doctors said he wouldn’t be able to do.
The doctors previously pronounced my dad a vegetable but now, despite a compromise in speaking functions, he is able to communicate with us.
So until God decides anything, no matter what man says, it’s not counted.
But the greatest miracle that we will always be thankful for is the miracle of salvation.
My dad made a conscious effort to say yes to Christ and to be water baptised when he was out of the hospital.
These days, we have cell groups at our house so that dad can sit in and listen.
When new friends come to say hi to him, he’s very happy!
If you ask me if this is the type of life I would love for my dad to have, of course my answer would be no.
Who would want their dad to be a handicap and not be able to do the usual things a father does?
But there was this moment when I was writing the song where I heard God ask me a question: “Was I the God of mercy? Was I present in the time of Job when he was going through all the suffering?”
At that moment, I couldn’t really answer.
But eventually, I came to a conclusion — the answer is yes.
God is the God of mercy and He was present for the simple fact that He intervened in Job’s life.
And in my dad’s life and my family, God intervened. And because of that simple fact, we know God was with us. That was the greatest assurance we had.
So whether you’re on a mountain or in a valley, know that God really works for the good of those who love Him.
I want anyone reading this story to recognise that in every season, there is always something to be thankful about.
And if you’re reading this, I hope that you can find 10,000 reasons or even more to thank the Lord for the simple fact that He loves you.
THINK + TALK
- What was the most impactful thing about this story?
- Is there an area in your life you could use a miracle for?
- Commit this area to God in prayer.