I was sitting at a Starbucks in New York last month going through all my old (physical) photos on the counter when Katt and I started to talk. She courageously shared her incredible story and I knew the world also needed to hear what she had to say and how her daughter’s butterfly story guided her to return to school and become an advocate for children with disabilities.
Without further do, here is this sumptuous story told from a deeply courageous heart.
November 23, 2015.
That date will forever be etched in my soul. I had always known that I believed in a higher power. I just didn’t know I would have to come face-to-face with my faith in such a tragic way.
On that day, I wrongly assumed it was yet another regular day in NYC. I was walking home with the reassuring thought that my little girl would be home to greet me at the door, and we would talk about our day as we cooked dinner together. Except that she wasn’t there when I rang the doorbell. I called her phone went directly to voicemail.
To spare you the trauma of the following, harrowing hours, I found myself standing in the middle of a hospital a few hours later, waiting for word if my child was one of two children involved in a serious car accident.
For six hours I paced back and forth in the hallways of the glacial hospital, not knowing if my child was hurt or even alive.
I was scared, confused, nothing made any sense at all. When I received word that indeed my baby was one of the two children involved in the car accident, I immediately felt faint.
I walked out of the hospital on to the sidewalk, got on my knees and said to God:
“I can deal with anything but please do not let her die”.
You see, I had asked for her life, but never knew how I would have to give her back to God. What that actually looked like.
I did not give details or instructions to God when I spoke to him. I just wanted my baby girl.
For thirty-one long days, she laid on that hospital bed relying on life support, and for every single one of those 31 days, God spoke to me.
He sent me signs to guide me on what to do in the midst of this nightmare, signs that he was right there with me, and that he was still in charge.
The first sign called for me to walk by faith, and not by sight. I did exactly as I was told. On Christmas day, the same doctor whom I had asked not to speak negatively about my daughter’s life called and said that he needed to speak to me.
As you can already gather, I was not too keen on speaking to him. I mean this is the same doctor who had no faith and kept telling me she was going to die!!!!
I had to tell him to shut up and do his job!
“You do your job and I’ll do mine I said to him. She is going to prove you wrong mister.”
He might have known medical science, but I knew the Lord. After which I told him he is never to speak negatively of my daughter’s life again. He respected my wishes, but I still could not understand how this man had no faith. These encounters caused me not to care for him and avoid any, if not all conversations at all.
Besides, I was walking by faith not by sight, so to me there was nothing to talk about.
But “mister Ye of little faith” wanted to talk to me, so I listened. He said this was the part of his job when he was so glad to be wrong in his diagnosis.
I didn’t know where he was going with this.
But then I looked in his eyes and saw he was tearing up.
“Do you remember what you said to me?”
I shook my head from side to side to indicate no.
He continued, “You put your finger in my face and you said ‘she is going to prove you wrong”.
At last, he said, “she is going to live! Your daughter is alive. She has been breathing on her own for 2 weeks we just could not tell you because we really thought she was going to die.”
That doctor hugged me so hard we both started crying.
He began to explain that the body and brain of my little Sha’de (my baby’s name) had suffered a lot of trauma and he didn’t know when she would wake up or what kind of life she would have.
My little girl was now at a facility that caters to children with disabilities and complex medical needs.
A world that was brand new to me. A universe that I was unfamiliar with, a world I had only seen on television. It didn’t seem real.
I began to see the beauty in all the little things and fell in love with a bunch of strangers. The children allowed me to love them and the staff let me know I was not alone.
The role of teacher/parent and child/learner had reversed.
Now Sha’de teaches that I cannot control what happens anymore and that I cannot plan out her future. She is the caterpillar that became a butterfly.
The moment I let go of who Sha’de used to be and embraced the butterfly she had become, I began to heal.
Don’t get me wrong, I miss my old life with Sha’de. I miss her voice, and I miss what would have been her future. But I have accepted what I cannot change. Now I stand before you trying to advocate and be a voice for children and families with disabilities.
And so, to honor my newly given purpose, I decided to go back to college to pursue a degree that will allow me to advocate and lobby for these beautiful children to have the funding and facilities they need to heal and blossom with their disabilities.
This is my life’s purpose.
How can I see the beauty in such tragedy? I just do. I will go on to share our story, which is a long one, paved of faith, courage, and strength.
I had thought I knew my purpose on this earth, that I knew what I was supposed to do, I had it all planned out. I wanted to be a great mom and a good provider for my two beautiful girls.
It was hard because I’m a single parent, but I thought I knew what God wanted from me. I did not break and I found my life’s purpose through my daughter. I found it through her tragedy and our pain.
My purpose is bigger than anything I had ever imagined. While sha’de had laid in a coma, hospital bed after hospital bed, I stood in faith and continued to pray. She had suffered a traumatic brain injury and I found myself in a whole new world, a world that was spinning out of control.
If you are reading this, you too can find beauty in tragedy, you too can heal. You are not alone.
People often ask me how I have faith in something I can’t see nor touch?
But I did see it alright, I did feel it. Faith is real, He is real.
I also hear “oh my god. how are you still standing? That would have killed me if that had been my child.” It hurt like Hell but you won’t die from it.
Everybody deals with tragedy and pain differently. Some people go to a very dark depressed place, but I’m here to tell that you don’t have too. You just need the right tools and the right amount of faith.
My hope is that by sharing our story it will help someone out there who needs it. No one should feel alone when they are going through something as tragic and painful. No one should suffer alone in silence.
Your healing journey starts with ‘YOU’. Do choose to live. Do choose to laugh. Do choose to love. I promise that you will laugh again when something is funny. You will find acceptance and embrace in the things you cannot change. And last but not least, you will see the beauty in all the little things. God does not abandon his children; he loves us all.
Katt Vargas is a mother and a writer from New York City. Currently a student at Monroe college, she passionate about her family and being a motivational speaker. Christine is currently an advocate for children and families with disabilities. You can follow Katt’s journey on Instagram @kattlives.