a few weeks ago, I was perusing my facebook page on my phone, as I often do, and came across a new message. I was ill-prepared for the flood of emotions I was about to feel, and I literally could scarcely read the message aloud to my wife as I wept through portions. I have asked Tara, the sender, for her permission to share, and she graciously obliged:
I'm not sure if you remember me from school. You were 2 years ahead of me. My dad was an English teacher as well.
I just wanted to say thank you. Now you are probably wondering why I am thanking you, but I know you will understand as you read on. Two years ago, I got very ill. The doctors here had given up on me and told my husband that he needed to start making arrangements for my funeral. I was in i.c.u. with a fever of 105, I had had a stroke, and they didn't know what was wrong. I knew that I couldn't give up, but I had no idea what I had in store for me. My last hope was Mayo. They diagnosed me with hypogammaglobilnenemia and common variable immune deficiency. My immune system had crashed and Due to all the steroids, my adrenal system crashed, my weight went through the roof, my hair fell out in clumps. I was given "maybe 2 years". I started treatment with immunoglobulin to give me a somewhat "normal" life. It has been anything but normal.
My soul died when they told me I was not going to be here for my family (I have 3 amazing step kids). I went into a deep depression. I withdrew from friends and family (what friends that had stayed through the uncertainty). I was lost. I was scared and I was angry. I didn't understand how I could be dying while so many bad people were healthy.
A friend asked if she could bring over some people from church to pray for me. At this point, I was so far in a hole that I figured it couldn't hurt. My family is not religious and I don't have any type of religious background. This was completely out of character for me.
That evening I had 6 people come to my house. They sat or laid on the bed with me and prayed. Prayer from the heart, prayers that cut deep into my being. I was broken and so close to letting go. They were with me for hours until my body and mind were so spent, that I fell asleep.
God came to me that night. He whispered in my ear that I am not alone. He has me in His hands always. He told me that He had great things for me. It was an amazing experience. One that has rocked me to the core.
My faith was being born, strengthened, renewed. It inspired me to keep fighting. During this time, my friends daughters gave me music to listen to while I am going through treatment or surgery. They included several of your songs. I joked with them that I went to school with a Mark Roach, never realizing that it was you until I looked at a picture. I can't begin to tell you how much the lyrics in your songs mean to me. The first song I heard was A Thousand Hallelujahs. The second was Steps of Faith. Wow.
So here is where the Thank You comes in. Thank you for praising God and holding my arms up when I don't have the strength.
I pray that your voice comes back stronger than ever Mark. And in the words of a young man we lost last year. When you can't stand; kneel.
Tara Jacquin Tisch