When Katherine suffered a massive stroke, Jay never left her side. Listen to this remarkable story about love and disability.
Joni: Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I want you to meet my inspirational role model Katherine.
Katherine is the most beautiful woman. She married her husband Jay and they moved to Malibu where he pursued a career in law at Pepperdine University. And after she had her little son James Katherine suffered a massive brain stem stroke and all that beauty, all that physical appearance, all the acting and the modeling just crumbled.
Katherine you have some incredible stories to share, not the least of which is the way your husband supports you. I know my husband, Ken, with my disability is such a support. Tell us about what Jay means to you.
Katherine: It’s been phenomenal to have this picture of you and Ken’s relationship and to see there are many differences with many similarities in our situations and the core and the heart is the same. And its beautiful when you are living and walking with Jesus to be able to turn to him in a way that the world can’t seem to get to, to a commitment that is way beyond anything of this earth. Jay and I recently had the privilege of reading the Ken and Joni book. And it was so meaningful to us because as we are reading these beautiful words of commitment, just embodied, Jay is having to read it to me because I can’t see well enough to read books very much and my severe double vision prevents focusing on the letters. So my sweet husband is reading these words to me all about Ken and Joni’s story. It was very, very meaningful.
Joni: Wow! Jay, what was going through your heart and mind as you read?
Jay: Just to feel a connection with another couple – with another man who has been a caregiver for his wife. It’s so important for us as we journey to not feel alone and I think sometimes these most personal painful things are really the things that are most universal to the human experience.
Joni: Katherine you have a pretty special story about Jay.
Katherine: I do. I was still in the initial hospital setting and a social worker came to Jay’s father, Pastor Jay, and said you have to get your son out of here. Ninety percent of couples under age 30 will divorce when something like this happens—a TBI (traumatic brain injury). You’ve got to get your son out or he’s going to go! He can’t handle the stress. So “Big Jay” – Pastor Jay – came back to my Jay and said, ‘Son, let’s got to Yosemite. Let’s see some natural beauty, we’re in California, you just have to get outside, commune with nature – get away.”And my Jay said, “Well, Katherine doesn’t get to go to Yosemite; Katherine doesn’t get a break from this. I’ll wait and go on vacation and take a break with Katherine when she can go.”
Joni: Oh, I’m going to cry…
Katherine: I know, I’m going to cry too, it’s amazing. Pastor Jay told that social worker, ‘You know, something else is at work here. I think they are going to be okay after all.’ The subtext was: he authentically and radically walks with Jesus Christ and his commitment is not of this earth. But he just simply said: it’s a different situation. And the end of that story is that we went to Yosemite—a highly photographed trip—back in May with our son, James.
Joni: I am so glad you two took that vacation in Yosemite and we’re going to post a couple of photos of that vacation today on my radio page, so friend listening you just gotta see a photo of this remarkable couple. This beautiful woman whose speech is slurred, who is somewhat distorted; who walks with a cane – sometimes uses a wheelchair – and they have a remarkable ministry called “Hope Heals.” So go to my radio page today at joniandfriend.org, see these photographs and then link to their website and learn how hope can heal your heart as well. Thank you guys for being here.
Jay and Katherine: Thank you, Joni – you’re amazing.
Joni: God’s amazing!
Katherine: That’s right!
© Joni and Friends
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