Over the past week several books I had placed interlibrary loan requests and holds on have come through to the library. This means I will be busy reading over the next weeks. One title, The Vow by Kim and Krickett Carpenter, I have been waiting several months for. Many of you probably know this story or you may have seen last winter's movie loosely based on their story. Well, if you have not read the book or don't know the actual details of their 1990's love and faith story, then I highly recommend it.
Thanksgiving Eve 1993, Kim and Krickett and a friend began a drive home to Krickett's parents for the holiday. Several hours later, they were involved in an accident with two trucks. Kim, who himself had serious injuries, could see that his wife, who was trapped in the vehicle, was bleeding to death and had serious head trauma. From the moment she was cut out of the car and transported to the nearest medical facility, everyone began to prepare Kim for the inevitable - that his wife of less than three months would die. When emergency room staff decide to medflight her to a larger facility, Kim himself refuses further care for his own wounds so that he can travel to see her "one more time,"
As family rallies around him, they pray first that the pressure on Krickett's brain go down and then that her blood pressure rise above the current dangerously low level. Miraculously both occur and doctors begin to prepare the family that although Krickett will live, she will probably never be the same woman she had been.
Physically, she does begin to heal, but once out of the coma, it is clear that her short term memory is permanently gone. In her case, she remembers nothing earlier than 18 months before the accident.
That means she not only does not remember that drive to her parents', she does not remember her husband or their marriage. See, Kim and Krickett had had a whirlwind romance and actually knew each other less than one year before they married. This is where the story takes on its greatest impact.
Kim could have easily walked away from this marriage. His wife would never again be the woman he had married. Her personality and temperment had changed. She didn't remember him and never would those memories. She looked at him with suspicion and resented his attempts to push her physical recovery. Plus, the aftermath of the accident had just about ruined his career and their finances. Krickett could have refused to have anything to do with this man who was a stranger, but both people knew they had made vows before God to be married for life, in good times and in bad. For Kim, he remembered saying those vows and remembered Krickett's glow as they had begun their wedded life. Krickett did not actually remember her own vows, but she knew what a Christian marriage meant, and she wanted to honor that commitment.
I began reading this book at about 8 oclock on Saturday night. I intended to read as I watched a movie with my hubby. I used to be able to do that quite well - read and watch tv. Not so much anymore, and quickly I lost all interest in the movie and soon I was 170 pages into the book, wishing I could finish it before I went to bed. Unfortunately, I was also nursing the beginnings of a sore throat and knew I needed sleep. Sunday, despite a full fledged cold, I raced to the end of this
inspiring story. The edition I read was published in 2000, but the book has been re-released with an additional chapter updating the family's path over the last decade, including the recent movie.
After finishing the book, I was still caught up in their story of faith and commitment, so I searched the internet for more news about them. I watched several recent videos of the couple and would recommend this GuidePost interview.
Having had a student once who experienced severe head trauma in an accident, I can remember some of the same recovery issues that Krickett dealt with -- a more volatile personality, a loss of the conventional "filter" that prevents us from speaking what we think, a sense of loss without understanding what one has lost. A major thread to this story is Krickett's continued relationship with God which sustains her when she can't relate to her husband or their future. She places her faith, not in the good man that Kim is (despite his faults); she places her faith in God and prays that God will change both herself and Kim into a couple that can love and live together. That they renew their vows in 1996 (?) and are still married today in 2012 shows that her prayers are being answered daily.
If you want a fair, concise version of their story and the saga of making the movie, I suggest you read this newspaper article