“There are some truly touching stories that make it impossible for us to hold back our tears. This is one of those stories where, even though there is no happy ending with its traditional ‘they lived happily ever after,’ extraordinary things happen that make even the most skeptical of us begin to believe in miracles.
Sean was a model student both in college and in high school. He was the most popular boy; his physical attractiveness was the main attraction for all the young girls on campus. But Sean was much more than a pretty face, and he proved it every day in the classroom and in his academic results. However, it was clear to him that he would not end up working in any office or for any big company. Sean wanted to serve in the Army and be a decorated soldier. That was his greatest dream since he was eight years old and saw his father dressed as a soldier.
Heather, on the other hand, during her time as a student, was the opposite of what was then considered a popular girl. She was a great student but socially didn’t quite fit in with the girls of her generation. She loved to spend hours in the library reading classic literature books without any noise and company. Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet were her favorite works. Perhaps that’s why, when it came time to choose a career, she had no hesitation whatsoever and pursued a degree in classical literature, graduating with honors.
However, despite being seemingly very different, Heather and Sean connected from the first moment their eyes met. The couple met through a mutual friend who set them up on a blind date. He was finishing his training as a private in the Army, and she had just started working at the County Library. They were young, and although in their youth, they had been very different, when they met, they felt that there was no difference between them and that everything fit together.
Their first date was simple: dining at a small Italian restaurant that their friend had recommended for them. It was the best night of their lives, and from then on, they were inseparable. They could spend hours talking without tiring, and spending time apart was pure agony.
“I can’t be without you, Heather. I don’t know what you’ve done to me. I’ve always considered myself a rational man, but I’m crazy about you, and I want to be with you all the time,” Sean confessed to her in private.
“It’s the same for me. I’m ashamed to admit it, but if I could, I’d be with you all day long. You’ve even made the love books I always read seem boring. How much I love you, Sean, it hurts so much that you have to leave,” she would tell him sadly every time.
They didn’t want to wait to spend their whole life together. So just a year after meeting, they got engaged, and months later, they got married—an intimate wedding held on a beautiful summer day, in which the bride and groom kept showing each other how much they loved each other and how much they were looking forward to starting their new life together.
They bought a big house with a garden where they planned to create a big family. “I want to have many children. How many do you want, Sean?” Heather asked him during their first weeks of marriage.
“I don’t care how many children we have. I know you’ll be a great mom, and I can’t wait to see how we raise our kids. I’m sure you’ll do great. I won’t be able to do it alone; I’ll need you by my side, always. I will never leave your side, no matter what. I promise you that,” Sean replied.
However, all the happiness they felt at the beginning of their marriage diminished as the years went by. At first, they thought it was a matter of patience and kept trying naturally for at least two years, but to no avail. The couple began to despair and started making appointments with different fertility specialists to find answers.
However, while undergoing fertility tests, they received unexpected news that caused them to slow down. “Mrs. Heather, in recent tests, we have been able to detect that you have hypertension at your age. This is unusual, but we should monitor you and see if your inability to get pregnant is related to this condition.”
“But having hypertension is a common thing, isn’t it?” Heather asked alarmed when she heard the doctor’s words.
“Just because it is a globalized disease doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be treated properly. In the worst-case scenario, if you were to suffer a sudden surge in blood pressure, you could suffer a heart attack or stroke. In both cases, your survival would be compromised,” the doctor explained with concern.
Heather wanted to be a mother more than anything, but that discovery meant she had to take it all in stride.
The years went by, and the good news never seemed to come. Sean stayed by his wife’s side unconditionally, helping her to cope with her sadness and not getting pregnant, taking care of her so that her hypertension wouldn’t get out of control.
“Maybe parenthood is not in our destiny, honey. Marrying you was God’s greatest gift to me. Maybe I should learn to settle for it and stop insisting,” Heather said to her husband one random spring afternoon as they strolled through their garden.
“I can accept anything as long as you’re still by my side and well. You know your health is delicate, and you seem physically and emotionally exhausted,” Sean told her as he hugged her tightly to make her feel better.
After more than seven years of trying, they decided to take a break from fertility treatments and focused on their well-being and some travel. Since getting married, they had hardly traveled and went on vacation to Spain for a second honeymoon in Majorca and its beautiful beaches. They spent two months isolated from everything and were grateful to be able to be calm and spend time together in total intimacy.
It was after that wonderful vacation that their biggest dream came true. After seven years of failed attempts and heartache, Heather had become pregnant. The couple couldn’t believe it and burst into tears of joy when the doctor confirmed it. It was something they never thought would happen because the doctors used to tell them Heather was infertile.
But the happiness would not last long. While Heather was pregnant, Sean was deployed to Afghanistan, and at 35 weeks, he received a desperate email from Heather’s aunt warning him that something was very wrong, and he should get back to his wife as soon as possible.
“Sean, I am sorry to have to write to you under these circumstances, but Heather has suffered a brain aneurysm and is in a coma. The doctors have decided to perform an emergency caesarean section to protect the baby, but she was not woken up. You have to come back, Sean. Heather needs you, and your son too. It’s a boy, by the way. You’ve been a daddy to a beautiful baby boy,” Sean read the message three times to make sure it wasn’t a mistake or a hallucination brought on by fatigue in the heat.
He felt his heart stop, and his head hurt so much he felt like it was going to explode. He talked to his bosses and allowed him to leave the Army without a return date. In the end, it took him three days to reach the city, and a police escort took him to the hospital where he saw his son for the first time, and tears came to his eyes.
After meeting his son, he spoke to doctors and was informed about his wife’s health condition. “Your wife is stable, but nothing seems to indicate that she will wake up soon from the coma. The aneurysm was very serious, and it is truly a miracle that both she and the baby are alive. We’re sorry; we cannot give you more information, but right now, we can only hope and pray for your wife,” said the doctor treating his wife with great sadness.
Five weeks later, when Sean and his newborn son, John, were settled at home, he decided to make a trip to the hospital where Heather was still confined and in a coma. There had been no change in her health, and Sean was beginning to despair that there was nothing he could do to bring his beloved wife back.
Seeing him so affected, his mother suggested that he take the baby to Heather. She had been a doctor specializing in neurology, and sometimes patients who spent a long time in a coma were able to hear and feel what others were saying to them, even if they were unable to answer or open their eyes.
“Take her son to her, honey. It was her greatest wish, and he won’t always be a baby. I think it’ll do him a lot of good to feel his little boy’s heart beating close, and you too. And she will surely know that you are there, giving her all your love,” Sean decided to follow his mother’s wise advice and took his son to Heather to meet her.
When they arrived, everything was still the same, and Heather seemed to be in a deep, peaceful sleep. Then, he placed John next to his mother, and what happened next was a surprise. Heather opened her mouth and started crying. Sean noticed how hard Heather was trying to open her eyes to see her son for the first time, but she found it impossible. However, his touch was enough to make her react.
Sean couldn’t believe it and kept trying. He moved to her side and held her son to his chest. Automatically, Heather reacted to his touch and began to sob. They were faint, barely imperceptible cries, but Sean heard them quite clearly. Heather, my love, are you there? It’s our son John. It’s our baby, my darling. Please say something to me. But there was no response. Heather only seemed to react to the baby’s touch, but her reaction only lasted a few seconds.
He decided not to insist and enjoyed what had just happened. Sean placed his son back next to Heather. He took Heather’s finger and gently slipped it into his son’s little hand again. Heather began to cry and, for a few moments, held the baby’s hand. It was only a few seconds, but for Sean, it was more than enough. His wife was with them, he felt them, and he was happy to meet his beloved son. He didn’t need to know anything else to feel at peace.
Since that day in 2012, Heather had not woken up again. Sean searched the country for answers and interviewed top doctors to try to find a way to get his wife to wake up, but no one had answers for him, nor did they understand what had happened. Medicine sometimes has no answers for things like this.
“Mr. Brown, your wife is in a coma, and we know little about what she is capable of feeling or hearing while she is still in that state. It’s quite possible that she will be silent for a long time and then suddenly something will bring her back, but only for a few moments. I’m sorry I can’t tell you anything else, sir,” said the last doctor he spoke to before giving up and being content to continue waiting for a miracle to happen.
Time passed, and Heather was still unresponsive. In fact, two years after giving birth, one day, she was heard saying John’s name several times, but then she fell asleep again in complete silence. Sean resigned himself to waiting and struggled to move on despite the pain.
After the birth of his son, Sean quit his job in the military and started working two jobs close to home that allowed him to raise John and care for his wife. Heather was monitored 24 hours a day and had her nurse, something that allowed Sean to lead a quieter life. Eventually, with the help of a psychologist, he realized that he needed to share his experience with others.
Sean had always been a very social person, but since Heather’s coma, he had become quiet and avoided any kind of social interaction. Luckily, that gradually changed, and thanks to the joy of watching his son grow and the support of his friends, he took the courage to create a Facebook page where he told his story and reported on Heather’s health and the latest developments in her life.
He just wanted to meet new people and get things off his chest, but his story went viral, and he now has over 1.2 million followers who care about Heather’s condition and send him their support.
After seeing the success of his page, Sean also decided to take action in the field of medical research to improve the treatment of coma patients, creating a foundation. Thanks to donations from his followers and thousands of others who heard his story and were deeply moved, today Sean is a devoted husband who is still married to Heather and has not been open to dating others. Their beloved son John is now 10 years old and is the perfect combination of his mother and father. He is passionate about playing baseball and is a lover of reading, just as his mother was.
Heather never showed any signs of waking up again, but that hasn’t stopped her husband and son from taking care of her and making sure that others in the same situation have the opportunity to do so.
Their foundation is constantly gaining investors, and with it, they hope to be able to provide answers to hundreds of families like Sean’s — families whose hearts will always be torn between the power of miracles and the certainty of science.