God’s Will

“We named him Will, after my father,” she says. “And, because it’d be God’s WILL if he lived.”

Some women are born to be mothers. Ami Jo is one of those women. She and her husband tried for a long time, but nothing happened. So, she took fertility treatment.

She got more than she bargained for. Triplets.

It was pure excitement. The baby showers. The tears. The back pain, the mood-swings. Eating for four.

At seventeen weeks, doctors found a heart defect in one of the triplets.

“I was devastated,” says Ami Jo. “They suggested we terminate the baby, so the others weren’t at risk.”

It was a blow. But Ami Jo didn’t even have to think on it.

“I wasn’t about to,” she goes on. “My husband and I agreed to put our faith in something greater.”

Thus, one summer day, at Jacksonville Baptist Hospital, she birthed three babies. Two healthy infants, and one miraculous William Walter Gibson—who screamed loudest.

“We named him Will, after my father,” she says. “And, because it’d be God’s WILL if he lived.”

At three pounds eleven ounces, he was ‘God’s Will.’ But he wasn’t well. He had his first open-heart surgery at nine-weeks. Then another.

And another.

Within five months of infancy, he endured four open-hearts. He practically lived at the hospital.

“Watching him go through this,” says Ami Jo. “Him nearly dying on several occasions, it’s just been…”

Yeah.

Ten years went by. The family adapted to Will’s routine. An operation here, a heart cath there.

He got older, started school. Will grew into a normal boy—with the boyish odors and dirty fingernails to go with it. He learned to play a mean drum-kit. Likes swimming.

Then.

Last August, during an outpatient procedure, Will’s heart stopped. It was unexpected. Doctors compressed his chest for six minutes. His heart started again. Then quit. Oxygen debt. Seizures. Flailing. More CPR.

“Next time I saw my baby, he was on a ventilator, medically paralyzed, maybe even brain dead.”

ICU was hell—living on prayers and text messages. But that was the easy part. Then came the hard news:

Doctors said Will would need a heart transplant. They put him on “the list.”

And now he waits.

Even so, Will is a locomotive. He powers ahead with big smiles. Sometimes, he’s so energetic that Ami Jo forgets he’s even sick. He is one tough sailor.

Will’s friends haven’t exactly been sitting on their hands, either. They have been drumming up more support than you can shake a cardiac catheter at.

A Tallahassee barbershop cuts hair for donations. Some friends hold a garage sale. A cattle company throws a shindig. Will’s cousin sets up a lemonade stand at the Bonifay rodeo parade. Heart problems aren’t cheap.

“Difficult as this journey’s been,” says Ami Jo. “We’re just living each twenty-four hours as it comes. Please pray for Will.”

Anyway, maybe you wonder why I’m telling you about Will today.

Because.

This is Good Friday. And the fella who started this holiday would want it this way.

14 comments

  1. Sandra Marrar - April 14, 2017 8:33 am

    Another precious story. My prayers for complete healing for Will.

    Reply
  2. Judy - April 14, 2017 11:53 am

    Yes. He would.

    Reply
  3. Marsha - April 14, 2017 12:43 pm

    Thank you Jesus, for today and Sean

    Reply
  4. Regina Peavy - April 14, 2017 2:08 pm

    My Daddy died on Good Friday, April 1, 1983, 34 years ago. Sending prayers for Will and all who love him. 💜

    Reply
  5. Millie Lill - April 14, 2017 2:16 pm

    Sean, today’s column touched my heart because my family went through something similar. My nephew Dennis was born with a defective heart. Doctors told his parents he might, might, live to be three. Meanwhile, new techniques were developed to treat hearts like his. At five, he had an experimental surgery that allowed him to breathe well enough to be able to walk. Later, more surgeries. A stroke. Partial deafness. Through it all, Dennis smiled and laughed and loved. Mostly loved. And was loved. He was such a blessing to our family. He lived to be 36 years old. When my husband died, he held my hand to comfort me. This child of whom you spoke today will be just such a blessing to his family. Sometimes God’s will doesn’t line up well with ours, but it can be even better than we hoped. Dennis enriched our lives in so many ways. I hope Will does the same. I know he will.

    Reply
  6. Sam Hunneman - April 14, 2017 2:52 pm

    Amen.

    Reply
  7. Shirley Strickland - April 14, 2017 4:03 pm

    What a story. I have watched this so many times since I have worked 40 plus years in education with special needs kids. I am always praying and expecting another miracle. May God touch this person, too.

    Reply
  8. Sandra Lee Van Dam - April 14, 2017 5:52 pm

    Praying for Will!

    Reply
  9. David Bonnell - April 14, 2017 6:52 pm

    Can you furnish a POC if we want to help? Another great read by the way.

    Reply
  10. Olivia Grizle - April 14, 2017 8:49 pm

    Another wonderful story. Prayers for Will.

    Reply
  11. Judy Riley - April 14, 2017 10:06 pm

    Wills story gave me chills…literally…praying for Will…

    Reply
  12. Winks Kelley - April 15, 2017 1:43 am

    Wish you were here. I’m at the Alabama medical association dinner. Inducting the new president. Jerry Harrison. He is from Haleyville. His history is so endearing. Wish I had your gift. You always make me happy to be from the south. So did Dr. Harrison tonight.

    Reply
  13. Jan - April 15, 2017 4:09 am

    Prayers lifted for Will and his family. Thank you Sean!

    Reply

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