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“I Was Ready to Die”

MARCH 17, 2020. . .

Dan Burke says, “I began to have a headache and feel a little bit weak.  And Stephanie, later that evening began to feel poorly as well.”

Stephanie adds, “We were praying we had a cold, and within three or four days we realized that we were not only sick, but we were very sick.”

Six days earlier, newscasts all over the world covered the World Health Organization’s announcement that COVID-19 had been officially declared a pandemic.


Stephanie explains, “The pain in my chest and the-the body aches were kinda out of this world for me.  And I was very concerned with Dan because he has chronic asthma.”

Dan says, “My lungs were already in bad shape, and I thought I was just having asthma issues or something.  But it turned out to be with the headache, which then turned into fever, we began to get a little nervous about what was going on.”


Dan remembers, “I began to use more and more of the emergency medication treatment to the point where I was using maximum dose every four hours.  More than I would normally get even in an ER.  And my ability to breathe was declining.”

Stephanie shares, “This is where things became a battle, because we knew if we went to the hospital Dan and I would be separated, and we also knew that because of his severe conditions that there was a very real possibility that he wouldn't make it.”  


Dan says, “I wrote out my will in the car because I, you know, I didn't – I had no rational expectation of survival.”

Stephanie remembers, “We were praying in the car on the way to the hospital, and I remember turning to Dan in my – in my sorrow and saying, ‘I need you to know, before we get there and we're separated, that you are the love of my life and I love everything about our life together and I just need you to know that.’  And we both cried.”  


Stephanie recalls, “I just started to drive home...loneliness and-and darkness came over me.  And I was sleeping about sixteen hours a day because I was so sick.  I had to self-isolate, self-quarantine, and we live alone so there was nobody at the house.  I heard within me ‘Three days, three days.’  We were in the middle of Lent and somehow there was a consolation with it, a sense that I had to wait three days.”


Stephanie shares, “When I received that news, I have to tell you that I was crushed, I was shaken to my core.”
Dan says, “What I entered into was a blackness that I'd never experienced before.  You're alone, feeling completely alone because when you enter into ICU with COVID-19, you know, you-you don't see anybody's faces.”

Stephanie explains, “I had great fear, but I never lost faith.  And I fought that fear, and I stayed in prayer, and I didn't let it overtake me.”

Dan remembers, “I wouldn't say I had a lack of peace, but I was in quite significant distress.  I was ready to die.”    

Stephanie says, “I poured my heart out in a post, in a letter, I sent it out far and wide and I said, ‘Please pray for my husband.  He's been put on a ventilator.  We need to send those prayers to heaven and pray specifically that his lungs would heal and that he would start to breathe on his own by the power of the Holy Spirit.’”


Stephanie says, “I received a call from the nurse, and she said, ‘Mrs. Burke, I need to let you know that your husband twisted through his restraints, and he's pulled the ventilator out, he pulled the tube out.’  And I said, "Is he okay?"  And she said, ‘Yes, not only is he okay, but he's breathing on his own.’  And that was the third day.”

Dan recalls, “That was a turning point.”


Stephanie remembers, “When I picked him up he was so weak he was using a walker.  I was shocked at the impact that it had on his body.”

Dan adds, “Probably a week after being at home before the darkness really completely lifted and I could smile again.”


Dan shares, “The battle was so overwhelming, like a little kid with a, with a tiny sword coming up against the-the prince of darkness.”
Stephanie says, “It's brought an urgency.  Not a moment of our life, of our breath, of our energy, of our resources could be taken for granted or wasted.  The time is now.  This battle is very deep and-and it's very dark and it's all over the world, and the Lord is calling us back to Himself.”


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