many of you have someone in your life you admire the most. a parent, a superhero, a celebrity.
mine just so happens to be my brother.
for a little bit of background information; my brother is 8 years older than me. he and i are identical; seriously. shave my curls off and i look like a younger richie buckner. we have identical personalities, and yes even identical smart-ass comments. we grew up fighting our battles together. anyone who knows us, knows we were always together. and honestly, i can only imagine how scary that sight must have been.
growing up, our parents dragged us into the church more than we got to spend time in our home. i cant lie, we dreaded it. but as we got older, we learned the importance of church and serving the Lord from their teachings and parenting. somewhere along the way of growing up, he got off the path; and wandered for a little ways. he and i began to have different viewpoints and beliefs about certain topics and sometimes wouldn't speak to one another for months over it; however, the love for each other remained.
those of you who knew richie well, knew he was always up to something. good and bad. he was always scheming, playing pranks, cutting up and honestly, probably being stubborn about something. he brought so much joy and laughter into everyone's lives. for me, he was the one who never left when everyone else did. the one who understood me the best. the one i could call on for anything. my best friend and hero. not a perfect human but the perfect role model in my eyes. the one to walk ahead and light the path for his younger sisters and to teach us mostly what NOT to do.
2021 changed our lives. he got sick. very sick. and we all felt it.
all i can remember was the nightly phone calls me and mom would exchange as we cried together 2.5 hours away from one another. i had school to complete and it was pure torture not being able to physically be there to hug my mom or hold my brothers hand as he laid in his hospital bed. i would text a million times a day for updates. i would hit my knees like so many others and call out to God for healing and help. he and i weren't speaking over a disagreement at the time. however, one afternoon he called and told me he loved me so i could receive some peace. on november 27, as we are standing in the roaring stands for the iron bowl, we received a call that he was being placed on a ventilator; and little did we know he would go into a coma and remain for about 8 days there.
this is when it got real.
a few days ago i got a facetime call from him; sitting up, breathing on his own, smiling, talking. he hadn't touched his phone in over a month, but picked it up, opened it and called me. the one who needed to hear his voice the most. many people who go into a coma see what may be heaven or even a lost loved one. so out of curiosity i asked him what he saw. God? tears began to stream down his face as he looked away from the camera and muttered "no, i saw something else". he saw demons. pointing at him, laughing at him, mocking him, daring him to quit breathing. he called out to God and heard a faint voice telling him not to give up. so he fought. he invited God to help fight his battle. and woke up. he didnt wake up because he was richie buckner; but because our God cannot be beat.
God is a god of miracles. the nurses in that hospital said they had only ever seen 2 people wake up from the state he was in; and he was one of them. although we grew up in a christian home with 2 parents that are faithful servants of the Lord; it is easy to get lost. to wander off. to prioritize other things, people, places, objects. but God does not give up on us. he showed him what his destiny could be, and allowed him the chance to save his relationship by waking him up. and i think we can all learn from richie's testimony. he was not some mystery patient, he was a miracle patient. one that got an extra chance to pick up his ticket for the pearly gates. and he did. and i think we should pick up our ticket before it is too late.
i know this journey hasn't been easy for any of you here. he was so loved, and sometimes maybe underappreciated. he changed my life and i know so many of you have stories of him that changed yours as well. he was a special boy. and will forever be in our hearts. i know the first thing he did was hug pawpaw and uncle rickey as they welcomed him into his forever home. he's honestly probably riding a horse right now up there, and i bet its the most beautiful ride.