15 September 2017
Kim Carpenter, a coach for a university baseball team, rang a California sportswear company to order some team jackets. He spoke to Krickett Papas, a sales rep. They had enjoyed talking on the phone and ended up spending about five hours a week talking to each other. The two found they had been professional sportspeople, both were devout Christians, but six months went by before they actually met. They were married on September 18, 1993.
Ten weeks later as they were driving to Krickett’s parents for Thanksgiving, their car swerved to avoid a slow truck, was hit by the ute travelling behind them and rolled onto its roof. Kim sustained a punctured lung, a bruised heart, a broken hand and concussion. But he refused treatment to sit beside his wife as she appeared to be dying. She had been upside down in the seat belt for 30 minutes before help arrived, and remained that way for an additional 40 minutes while they tried to disengage her from the car roof that had collapsed around her head.
Eventually she was transferred from the local hospital by helicopter to a bigger hospital in Alburquerque, but by that stage she had slipped into a coma. She was on life support for five days. Kim recalled that he went to the hospital chapel and just prayed that she would live, and be fine.
It was 21 days later before she finally awoke from the coma and was able to communicate. But the news was not good. While she knew the names of her parents, she had lost the previous 18 months memories of her life. It was devastating for her husband Kim to hear that she thought she was not married, saw him as a stranger, and in fact vigorously invited him to get out and go back to wherever he came from.
Kim realised this was not something that would be easy. While Krickett had no memory in her head or her heart about her marriage, Kim determined to stick by his marriage vows of ‘for better or for worse’. He eventually had to return to work to start paying well over $200,000 for Krickett’s hospital bills. He made the 700km flight each weekend to sit by his wife’s bedside and try to reawaken the memories.
While intellectually she came to understand Kim was her husband, they began dating again to build the relationship memories that she no longer had. On Valentine’s Day, 1996 he proposed again, and they were married again on May 25, 1996. As Krickett stated, “The last two and a half years have been based on a story I’m told, because I don’t remember any of it.”
Twenty years later, Krickett has still not regained the missing 18 months of her memory, but she says, “We have now built 20 years of good memories.” As Kim stated as he reflected back to that tragic event, “I honestly didn’t think our marriage would work, but I made a vow before God, until death do us part.” What a fantastic example of commitment and ‘stick-to-it-iveness’ for us to think about. So often today, people tend to find it easier to move away when problems arise. There can be real value in learning to work through issues and face our problems. It can be tough. It can even cause us some pain and hurt. But it does provide us a chance to then develop our character and learn some resilience.
It may not be as challenging as the situation Krickett and Kim faced. But to us it may be just as real and just as daunting. I would encourage you to strengthen your relationship with God because He has guaranteed never to leave us or forsake us. He shows what real ‘stick-to-it-iveness’ is about, even when it cost Him the life of His Son. That is the ultimate proof of God’s love. Do I reflect that in my relationships?
The challenge for us is to reflect on the legacy that we are making right now. What would people say about us? Do we cherish the memories and value our children right now? Do we make the most of the opportunities to connect with our loved ones? Do we envelop our children with our unconditional love so that they know absolutely that we love them as parents? Build those memories with your children. Cherish the memories and live for the hope of Jesus’ soon return. Even so, come Lord Jesus.
Dr David McClintock
Avondale School Principal