In this episode:
There’s no pain like kid pain.
Stephen Kirby shares one of the most powerful testimonies you will ever hear. In this hard hitting conversation he shares how he and his wife Joy faced a tragedy that no parent should face and how through it they relied completely on the strength of God.
But God. Click To Tweet Stephen Kirby
All right. Welcome to the Lion Within Us, guys. So this is a special episode. I told you about it in the spiritual kickoff this week. And this is our first episode actually, where I’m having an in studio guest since we did the, uh, the redesign of the studio. So back when we first did the line with Dennis and started couple of my guests, Dylan and Ethan, you, you know, those two guys?
I do. They, uh, we, we did it in-house, but we had the green screen behind us. We were all like crammed up on top of each other. Uh, I think the first time we did it, we actually forgot to hit record or something. It was terrible. Like, but we ended up having a really good conversation with those guys. But I’m excited.
But I will tell you guys out there listening. This is, uh, this has been a, a, a lot of prayer leading into this conversation with my friends. So I got Steven Kirby here with me and, um, Guys, this is gonna not gonna be a easy, uh, story to tell, but it’s a meaningful, and, and we want to ultimately glorify God in this, in this time.
So I just pray that you guys listening, take your time with this one. This is not one you want to hit on. Two time speed. Go ahead and just go back to one time, just listen to this in, in the, in the real time speed and just let this story sink in and, uh, and just know it’s not easy to tell. Uh, but it’s some, it’s, it’s something that we pray that, uh, glorifies God.
So, Stephen, man, welcome. It’s, uh, thank you. It’s good to see you, buddy.
01:21 Stephen Kirby
It’s been a, been a long time coming several months, maybe over a year and making, and uh, yeah, we’ll see where we go with it.
01:28 Chris Grainger
Yeah. And for you guys don’t know, so Steve and I, we go to church. He sits at the front row of our, uh, Sunday school class cuz he likes the abuse.
So, uh, ,
01:38 Stephen Kirby
I don’t like the abuse. I can’t see and I can’t hear, and I play with the worship team, so I have to sneak out early sometimes. There you go, there you
01:46 Chris Grainger
go. But no, I always have a fun time whenever I’m teaching Steven’s up front. Uh, he’s just such an encouraging guy. He’s, he’s a, he, he can shred the drums too.
We’re gonna talk about that at some point. Uh, but it’s just a great, great man of God. His wife, joy, I just love her to death. Uh, just a wonderful family. So I think you guys can really enjoy this. And, and the ultimate goal of this is we’re gonna honor, you know, Matthew too, throughout all this conversation is, is what we’re gonna get to.
So, uh, man, maybe before we get into the serious stuff, always I’m trying to start conversations like this on a little bit lighter note. Maybe think of something, a funny story. Do you have a funny story when you start thinking back through Matthew that, uh, just always makes you smile that you wouldn’t mind
02:27 Stephen Kirby
I actually do. Um, okay. After. Everything happened with the lockdowns and he got into, uh, working on cars and trucks. Okay. And he built this thing that held speakers like a box or something? Well, it was, it was a door panel on the inside of his truck. Okay. And he put six or seven speakers inside the one door panel, and it had a matching door panel on the driver’s side.
And he recorded a video, uh, in our driveway with the volume cranked all the way up, and Joy. And I found that video after he left us. And every single time I see that video of him dancing in the driveway, it just makes me smile. That’s awesome. And Joy, joy was actually working from home that day, and she was upstairs looking down as he’s recording this thing.
Yeah. And it’s just, it’s just Matthew to a t.
03:24 Chris Grainger
Yeah. That’s awesome, man. I, I’ve gotta see that video, ma’am. You’ve gotta show me that one. So if you were describe him, you got one word to describe him. What’s the one word, man? Love. Okay,
03:39 Stephen Kirby
love. Now you need to gimme more than one word, but if I’m gonna, if I’m gonna take wine, it’s love.
I’m with you.
03:44 Chris Grainger
I’m with you. So, I mean, definitely I, I totally get that here. Just feel the love that you have for him. So that, why don’t you just, at this point I’m gonna back away just let you tell some of the story, uh, of what happened and, and, and, you know, if you start as early back as you want for, from, for, for whatever points you’d like to start.
I just want to give you the chance here just to tell the story and then we’ll unpack it together as we go.
04:09 Stephen Kirby
Well, I’ll do my best not to fall apart, so we’ll see. Um, Matthew was an only child. He was an only child by design. Uh, my wife and I didn’t have the greatest of childhood separately. Mm-hmm. . Our parents loved us and always provided for us, but.
There were just circumstances that it, it was just not ideal. Okay. And, uh, she was not an only child. I was an only child and my dad started his own company in the early eighties and was not around very much. And you can imagine good, hardworking man trying to build a company, he just wasn’t there. Mm-hmm.
Um, my mom was always there. My mom made sure that I was in church. My mom made sure that I knew who Jesus was and that he had died for my sins. Mm-hmm. . And, uh, what kind of business
05:07 Chris Grainger
was, did your dad
05:07 Stephen Kirby
start? My, my dad was a steel fabricator. Okay. And he was into, into that before we moved to Creedmore when I was six.
But he started his company in the early eighties and was just not around very much. As you would imagine, because he’s just trying to build a business. Mm-hmm. , he’s always there. He’s working a lot out of our eight hours. So whatever activities I was involved with, he just wasn’t able to come. Mm-hmm. as much as, as I would’ve liked or as he would’ve liked, or as my mom would’ve liked.
So basically compensating for that. Fast forward when Matthew comes along, I wanted to make sure that I was there for everything. Mm-hmm. , I wanted to give him what I didn’t have growing up as far as parental involvement, uh, with my dad. Mm-hmm. , um, joy was of the same mind as far as having one child. We wanted to pour everything we could into that child.
We wanted to make sure that child had a private Christian education That was very important for us. Uh, nothing against the public schools, but sometimes the public schools are lacking in certain aspects. Absolutely. And we wanted him to have a private Christian education to grow up in a Christian environment mm-hmm.
to make sure that whatever happened later in his life, his soul was taken care of. Right. So that’s what we did. Uh, we got married in 97 and we decided not to have any children or have a child until we were far enough in our careers that we could provide for that private Christian education. Right. And make sure that we didn’t have to take time away from him and not be involved in whatever activities he was involved with.
06:56 Chris Grainger
So you’re coming up on 30 years here pretty soon, Steven? I
06:59 Stephen Kirby
am. We are. Yeah. We are, uh, 30 years with my company and 20 some odd. Can’t do the math in my head that fast with, with my, my beautiful bride. She, uh, she and I have known each other since I was 12 and she was 14. That’s awesome. She, uh, She was my bodyguard on the bus.
I got picked on quite a bit and she made sure that I didn’t get, uh, getting ass too much. Yeah. And we were friends, uh, best friends all the way through school, high school, and did not start dating until we were, I was a freshman in college and she was a, a junior. Okay. And that was pretty much it. Yeah.
We’ve been together ever since. Yeah. That’s cool, man. She’s, she’s my beautiful bride. And my better half, that’s, uh, when, when people hear me talk about her, those are the first two things that come outta my mouth. That’s right. That’s right.
07:55 Chris Grainger
You definitely did a good job there. I must admit. Well,
07:58 Stephen Kirby
I married up
Uh, she married down. I married up, so I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna argue with that at all. She, she is out punted the coverage. Right. I did. We, we, we talk a lot about, uh, man and woman shall join and be one flesh. Right. That’s us. There you go. That’s us.
08:15 Chris Grainger
08:16 Stephen Kirby
So Matthew was our whole world. Uh, we made sure that he grew up in a Christian home.
We made sure he grew up in a, uh, in a Christ Center church. Yeah. Biblically, uh, bi bible teaching Christ Center Church because he was
08:34 Chris Grainger
born in November 8th, right?
08:35 Stephen Kirby
He was November 8th, 2003. Oh oh three. Okay. And he, he came along about six, six years after we got married. Okay. I
08:44 Chris Grainger
just remember the eighth, cuz that’s my dad’s birthday.
And Oh. And so. Well, that’s a good number. So yeah, November 8th is always a special year ever since I’ve been born. Right. So, so it’s always important for me every year with him. So don’t ever forget that day. That’s it. That’s it. So, oh, three November 8th. So, sorry, just wanted to clarify that
08:59 Stephen Kirby
No, I, I appreciate that. Um, he was, our whole world, uh, we made as many sacrifices as you could possibly imagine financially. Mm-hmm. , uh, time wise, uh, We live near you. Mm-hmm. , uh, out in the sticks. And, uh, we both commute one way about a half an hour to our work in Raleigh, North Carolina. Right. And we’ve done that for years.
And he, his, his, his school was in Raleigh, and so he was always in the car with us six o’clock in the morning. Yeah. And always coming home late with us. And he was involved with sports at a very, very young age. Um, he showed a lot of prowess in, in multiple sports early on. And everybody says, yeah, my kid’s the best.
Well, sometimes they are . Right, right. He, uh, he played soccer, he played football, he played baseball, he played basketball and showed aptitude at all of them. Mm-hmm. , even soccer, which we won’t talk about. Right. But, uh, baseball was, baseball was his favorite. Baseball was where he was home. And, uh, he made relationships and friends on the field that.
That lasted his entire life. Yeah. And have, have still lasted. Yeah. Um, so we made a lot of sacrifices to make sure that he could play whatever sports he wanted to. Um, And he, he, he, he was a left-handed, uh, pitcher in first baseman. And I was getting
10:29 Chris Grainger
ready to bring up You have a special place in your heart for
10:31 Stephen Kirby
lefties, so Yeah, yeah.
I do. I do. In fact, uh, when you told me that, uh, that your, your baby boy is coming along, I made sure to let you know that he needs to be a left hand . Whatever he grabs with his right hand, you need to take it out and put it in his left hand and make sure he grows up. Well,
10:45 Chris Grainger
he hasn’t started at Hill. I will tell you, our, our lily, our 16 month old, how old is she now?
18 month old. Becca’s gonna get mad cause I don’t know exact age, but anyway, you know, she’s passed a year. She’s not quite the two years yet. So Right. She’s starting to show everything with her left hand. Mm-hmm. I was like, hmm. Cause my mom’s lefthanded and uh, so I gotta figure out how to get that out of her.
11:05 Stephen Kirby
No you don’t. No you don’t. you grow. You’re raising ’em, right? That’s right. That’s right. World needs more lefties. More lefties, uh, Baseball’s always had a huge part of my life. I grew up playing it. I loved it. Yeah, me too. It was something that he and I could absolutely share. Yeah. Now teaching left-handed kid how to play pitcher or how to pitch left-handed.
Yeah. When I’m right-handed, I don’t know if I could do it. I learned how to, I learned how to do it backwards. So . Yeah, that’s right. I need one of those ambidextrous gloves. That’s right. But, uh, he just, he grew up with the biggest heart Yeah. Of any person I’ve ever seen. And everybody says, well, your kids, I mean, it’s your kid.
Of course you’re gonna say that. Yeah. He did it. Yeah. You know, he at our old church, which is not the church that we attend now. Right. Um, he was saved when he was six or seven. Uh, can’t remember off the top of my head. He’s, I think he was six and was just getting ready to turn seven. Right. And at the time our pastor said, well, I need to meet with him.
I need to make sure that this isn’t just something that he’s just doing because. It’s the cool thing to do right now. Right. And all of his friends are coming forward. Um, and he talked with him and he was convinced that Matthew’s heart was actually with Christ. Mm-hmm. , you know, hidden in Christ as we are promised.
Right. And that was just a spark in him. He, he was always an old soul. He always wanted to hang out with the old people. Yeah. He always wanted to hang out with the older adults. He always wanted to go and do whatever the older people were doing. If they were going to build a handicap ramp for somebody.
Yeah. He wanted to be with them. He didn’t wanna hang out with the young kids. He wanted to be with the older kids or, or the old people. And, and, and his heart was set on mission work. Uh, our church always went to Fge or mm-hmm. or whatever the flavor of the month of that is called these days. Uh, there’s different organizations, but he never went when it was just, when they were just doing funny games and stuff.
He always wanted to go when they were actually going on the mission trip. The missions Right. And I think the missions are every other year. Mm-hmm. , um, those were the ones that he wanted to go in. Yeah. Uh, our old church, one of the mission, uh, opportunities they had was to send a group of kids up to Virginia.
Uh, this was slightly before we joined our, the church you’re at. And to reroof house. And he just thought that was the greatest thing in the world. Yeah. And wanted to buy, he bought a hammer with his own money cuz he wanted to spend the roof or spend a week reroofing somebody’s house as hands and feet of Jesus.
Amen. So that became huge later on. Yeah. After the tragedy that befalls us. Right. Because we knew he’s saved. Right. He’s hidden with Christ. Right. There was no doubt about that. Right. Whatever happened in that moment, we knew that. We knew he was present with the Lord after he left this earth. Right. Right.
So he was heavily involved in baseball. Baseball was life. He played baseball year round. Mm-hmm. , he had some opportunities that people were looking at him to, to perhaps play college ball later on. And when he was 16, this was about a year before the lockdowns or, or maybe six months before the lockdowns mm-hmm.
uh, the late fall of 2019. Mm-hmm. , he came to us and said, mom, dad, I’m not getting anything out of church. I’m not getting, uh, mission opportunities that I’m happy with. I’m not getting the, the Bible teaching that I would prefer. Right. I want to try and find another church. And at the time I was actually a deacon.
Mm-hmm. and I was about, uh, another year and a half into my turn. Mm-hmm. . And I told him, I said, I can’t really just pick up and go somewhere, but you’ve got your driver’s license now. You can go mm-hmm. , if you want to go visit another church, feel free. Yeah. And, and he did that. But Joe and I decided, look, if he’s reaching out, we need to reach with him.
Yeah. And so we started visiting churches. Uh, even though I was a deacon at one church, I was still visiting and, and wasn’t attending that church every other week. Right. And we landed upon the church that, that you attend and, and it became home. Mm-hmm. . And we actually, uh, I, I spoke with my pastor and I spoke with the head of the deacons at the old church, and I said, look, I’m, I’m losing my son spiritually and I’m gonna put him first, and I’m not gonna put my position in my job in the church first.
I’m putting him first. Mm-hmm. . Now, I’m, I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do, but that’s the thing I’m going to do. Mm-hmm. . And so we made the decision to join. The church that we, uh, that we now attend, uh, a week before the lockdown. Okay, so,
16:11 Chris Grainger
well, that’s a, that’s a good point right here, guys.
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So Steven, we’ve kind of walked through, you know, a lot of stuff that’s just so we’re right up here waiting for a lockdown. You were the deacon there, which by the way, I didn’t realize you were deacon there, man. That’s, I was, that’s incredible. And so many times I’ve been listening to, uh, a lot of sermons lately and, and I think it’s so cool when people get the right understanding of a deacon.
Cuz so many times in the Southern Baptist we think of deacon as a position of power. It’s not, it’s not, it’s a leader. I mean, we should be the, the head feet washers right.
18:16 Stephen Kirby
And servers at our old church. The deacons, uh, really didn’t do much as far as running the business of the church. Good. Their job was, they had 12 to 14 families and they were supposed to, to, to be their, their pastor and right assistant pastor.
Uh, and, and come alongside our, our, our. Our, uh, our, our main pastor. That’s right. And the one thing I found out while I was a deacon was I w the one, the one thing that became crystal clear is I’m just not a very good deacon. Mm-hmm. , that’s just not really my spiritual gift. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . Um, I’m, I’m more introverted.
Uh, just, yeah. Coming alongside somebody and, and calling them two or three times a week or multiple times during the month is just, that’s just, I wasn’t very good at it. Yeah. I wasn’t a very good deacon. Well, you have different spiritual gifts, right? I do. You know, I actually do. Uh, and it took me a while to figure that out.
It took us about 35 years to figure out what, what one of my spiritual gifts are. And, and, uh, I, I volunteered to, to play drums with our worship team. And I’ve been playing drums for about 35 years. Uh, both rudimental March percussion and, uh, drum set. And, uh, so that’s, that’s where I serve best. And that’s kind of, My, my spiritual niche.
Well, it definitely
19:32 Chris Grainger
elevated my worship . I was just, I’ll just submit, bro. I mean, every week, and Becca will tell you when you’re up there, we have a great worship team. But, but when you’re there, just that extra element of just Yes. It’s just, it really, it was needed. And I just think there’s something to it.
You have such a gift and the way you’re using it, man, just, just, just, just wanna be encouragement
19:55 Stephen Kirby
to you. You’re very kind to say that. Um, our church is very blessed with many, many really good musicians. Oh, yeah. Uh, there is something at work, the Holy Spirit is using our church in mighty ways, and one of the ways is our, our music ministry.
Yeah. And we’ve got tons of great musicians and not only just me on drums. Yeah. We’ve got other drummers. We just kind of grow ’em up here.
20:20 Chris Grainger
Oh, I know, man. I know. And then now we have a violin player and what she’s playing is just blows me away. And the piano player, he’s part of my discipleship group and he’s just, It’s just unreal.
So, I mean, you guys are doing incredible work, so Amen to your gifts, brothers. We are mighty
20:34 Stephen Kirby
blessed. But it, like I said, it took me a while to figure out what my gift was. Yeah. And so that’s, uh, that’s where I serve most and best. And, uh, so that’s, uh, yeah, that’s what we do with church.
20:45 Chris Grainger
Amen. And me too, it took me a while.
Who, who would’ve thought a gift would be some how a microphone talking about Jesus and Emmy. I didn’t know this was my gift, but the Lord revealed it to me slowly and and you just lean into it and you just gotta give it to him. Right, right. I mean, that’s why we’re sitting here right now. And this will be listened to all over, I know.
All over this country and other countries. Cuz we get a, we got a lot of Canadian listeners, so, uh, I’m excited man, just to, to use the gift and ultimately just point all to him the way you do up there when you’re on those drums.
21:11 Stephen Kirby
Man. Every single time, uh, our assistant pastor asks me on a specific week if I want to play.
I, I always say yes, but the very first thing outta my, the very first thing I do is to, is to pray. Yeah. And I pray that God will gimme good parts to glorify Him and not me. Amen. Brother. And every single person that tells me I’m, I’m, I’m shredding it behind a kit like you said earlier, or somebody comes up from church and says, you really help my worship experience.
I always make sure that they give glory to God and not me. Amen. Because whatever skills and tools I may have, they didn’t come from me anyway. They’s came from him.
21:46 Chris Grainger
That’s right. So important to remember. So important. So let’s, let’s, let’s pick up our story. I, I know this is kind of getting to our difficult part, but, uh, so we were right here at the beginning of the lockdown.
21:59 Stephen Kirby
And Matthew was, uh, had made the local high school baseball team as a sophomore in the Christian school. No, actually, that’s a good point. We, he came to us at the end of his eighth grade year. Okay. Where as, yeah, no. Sorry. Time’s running together. He came to us after his eighth grade year and said, I would like to transfer to public school.
And Oh, okay. We did that with a couple of reasons in mind. One, he was showing aptitude. Yeah. In baseball circles, uh, the, the, uh, competition at the public school level is, is better. Mm-hmm. . And we wanted to make sure that he got to play against the best. Right. And our local high school baseball team has won state championships and is, is positioned year in and year out to do some, some good on the field.
Yeah. So that, that was a thing. But also he was getting ready to be a driver and, you know, commuting one way for a 16 year old in heavy city traffic. Oh yeah. Just scared the pants office actually. Sure, sure. Um, so we thought it made a lot of sense for our family to go ahead and let him transfer to. Public school.
Okay. And, uh, I actually said he made the team as a sophomore. He did not. He made it as a freshman. That was between his eighth grade and ninth grade year that he transferred to our local public high school. Yeah. And he spent the whole Fall, fall that we were church shopping, quote unquote Uhhuh . Um, he was getting ready to be on the field and getting ready and was transferring to the public schools and was really finding his stride with that, as far as that’s concerned.
Mm-hmm. . And he made the team as a freshman. Um, it wasn’t a starter. I’m not, I’m not saying that, but he did make the team as a freshman and, uh, uh, was the starter for the third game and got the wind. Well, no, I’m sorry. He was a reliever. That’s right. He was a reliever. He got the last four outs, got the wind, and the very next day was the lockdown.
Okay. And within a span of about 18 hours, he came to us and said, my arm’s hurting. Something wrong with it. And he lost school and he lost ability to be with his friends. Yeah. And the world shut down. Yeah. And we went and had his arm diagnosed and were originally told it was Tommy John. Okay. So he lost everything.
That was everything that was quote unquote important to him. He lost in the span of about 18 hours. Wow. And he did not handle it very well at all. Mm-hmm. , um, within the next 15 months, uh, he gained 90 pounds. Mm-hmm. and went from, he was a tall guy though
24:49 Chris Grainger
too, wasn’t he? He was six three, I’ve seen. He got six three.
24:53 Stephen Kirby
Um, he gained 90 pounds in 15 months. Mm-hmm. , uh, was dealing with arm injuries the entire time. Mm-hmm. , did it end up being Tommy John? No, that’s part of the story. Okay. Uh, after he, he, he, He went into a depression, we just could not get him out of mm-hmm. . We tried everything. We asked him to get help with professionals.
We asked him to see our pastor. We asked him to see other people. Uh, and you can’t make somebody get help if they don’t want to get help. Yeah. And if you do make them get help, it’s not gonna take mm-hmm. , it has to be something that they want. Right. And he did not handle the depression very well. It turns into anger, it turned into hurt, it turned into food.
And about 15 months into the lockdown, he came to my wife and I and said, I need some help. I need, I need a second opinion on my arm. Mm-hmm. , I, I, I can’t pick up five pounds. This was an athlete who played football. Yeah. Yeah. And he couldn’t pick up five pounds with his dominant hand. In the original diagnosis of Tommy John, we were told that he can live his life without the ligament.
That he would be able to function and live a normal life. He just wouldn’t be able to throw a baseball. So at during the lockdown, that was what he chose. He chose to give up the sport, which we had told him forever and ever. If he chooses to give up the sport and that’s it. Yeah. It wasn’t something we were making him to do.
It was, it was something that he wanted to do and we supported in any way we could. Yeah. So he asked for help and we began chasing a second opinion on his arm in spring of 2021. Okay. Early spring. Early spring. And we chased that for several months. I love my wife. She was the one doing most of the chasing with different doctors and different tests.
Right. And a friend of ours that used to coach with us when Matthew was playing travel ball early on is, uh, in with the medical community in our state and knew the best, uh, armed doctor in the state and got us turned onto him in his practice. Yeah. And he saw him and became more and more and more convinced that it wasn’t Tommy John, that it was an issue with his older nerves.
Huh. And so we went through months of tests, Mr. Multiple MRIs, multiple signal tests, you name it. He went through it and it, the, the doctors decided that the best course of action was a small procedure to relieve the UL nerve and to let it slide more inside of a slide that’s inside of your arm. Okay. And so we had the surgery for him, uh, the beginning or the end of June, 2021.
And overnight, overnight, it was a success. Really. He had the surgery early in the morning. Once the anesthesia wore off, he called my wife into his room about midnight, he came in and knocked on our door and, and said, mom, mom, come here. And she, she went in his room and I was still sleeping. I didn’t hear any of this till later.
And she said, he said, grab my hand. And she grabbed his left, left hand, his dominant hand, and he crushed her hand. All the strength was going, was there again. Wow. It was quote unquote a miracle. Yeah. And the light turned on in him, so he is back. Right. The light turned on in him. He started talking about getting, or, or he was always a gym rat.
Yeah. Uh, He, he, big time gym rat. Loved the gym, loved the grind. Mm-hmm. , which I’ve never quite understood. It’s just not the way I’m built. Right. I’m a, I’m a runner. I prefer to run, but you know, the gym is just not what I was, what I was built for. So he came to us and said, I wanna join the gym again. I want to get in shape.
Uh, at this time he was a junior. Um, he said, I want you to help me graduate high school earlier. Uh, he always had the, the, the dream to, uh, start his own car garage and work on cars and do tricked out cars. That was, that was the thing that he really wanted. Cars and trucks, but that was the thing that he wanted to do most of all.
And since my dad was a steel fabricator, former, uh, my dad was a steel fabricator, he, he passed away in 2020. Mm-hmm. , um, his former business partner had given my son, uh, Blank check. You come in, you come in our shop whenever you want to, and I’ll teach you how to weld. So Matthew wanted to graduate high school early.
He wanted to turn 18. And my dad’s former business partner told him, he said, once you have a high school diploma, once you or turn 18, you come to our shop and I’ll teach you how to weld. Right. So that became his motivating thing. He wanted to, he didn’t wanna go to school his senior year. He wanted to go ahead and graduate early.
Right. Wanted us to enroll him in an online school so he could make all that happen. Okay. Which we did. Well, my wife did. Right. My wife chased most of this stuff. So all of that was late June, beginning of July of 2021. Right. And about three weeks after the surgery, he caught the disease. Mm-hmm. that, uh, at the time was in its delta variant and was.
Extremely deadly for certain demographics of people. Right? Older, obese. Yeah. And so after burying my father a year before from the same disease mm-hmm. , my son now catches it. Okay. And he battled it for about a week. And on July 31st, 2021, he went into the hospital with it. Okay. Hey,
31:19 Chris Grainger
let’s, let’s take a quick break guys and come back and we’ll, we’ll pick it up from here.
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All right, Steven. So he’s got, he’s got the disease and this is, you said July, 2021? Correct. Okay. So he enters the
33:08 Stephen Kirby
hospital. Yeah. My wife had taken into the ER earlier in the week. Right. And the, he was seen, uh, and was severely dehydrated. Right. Part of that was he had a stomach virus the week before he caught the disease.
Oh, okay. Um, and so he was coming off of that. Yeah. Um, we know exactly how he caught it. A friend of his went on a trip, um, He, we, after my son got over his stomach bug, we allowed him to go over and see his friend. His friend had tested negative for the disease the day before. Um, Matthew had been home for a week and a half with a stomach virus, so he hadn’t had any contact with anybody.
Right. And so he went and saw his friend, didn’t go anywhere else, came straight home, and the very next day his friend tested, uh, for the disease mm-hmm. . And so we know exactly where he got it. Right. In the meantime, my wife also gets it. Hmm. And I’m the only guy that’s left standing, so I take him to the emergency room on, uh, July 31st.
Right. And we’re there and we’re in the yard waiting. And of course you can imagine at that time with the Delta wave going, yeah, it was, it was. It was slammed. Mm-hmm. . And we waited a couple hours for him to be seen by the, uh, the emergency room medical staff. And we stayed there for all day, actually. Um, they were monitoring him, his, his pulse oxs was dropping every time he got up.
He couldn’t, he couldn’t go anywhere. He couldn’t walk anywhere otherwise he, when he, when he got vertical, his pulse Oxs would drop and he, he had no lung capacity whatsoever. So the call was made late in the afternoon to, uh, admit him to the local pediatric hospital. Okay. And once that call was made, they said they were gonna transfer him by ambulance.
I said, when? And they said, well, it’ll be several hours because it’s backed up and we’re waiting. Right. So I. Broke many laws and ran home. . Right, right. And, uh, uh, grabbed a bag packed. Packed a bag. Yeah. Packed a bag for him, me, uh, figuring we’d be there three or four days, max tops. Right. And then ran back and I ran in the house, slammed the door, grabbed where I needed to go, and ran upstairs.
And my wife is in our bedroom laying on her bed and I just wave, wave at her and I give her a kiss and tell her I love her. Well, I didn’t give her a kiss. I blew her a kiss. Yep. Told her I loved her and left. And that would be the last time I saw her for 12 days until it was all over. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . So I got back to the hospital and he was asleep and they still had not transferred him yet.
And we got him transferred to the local pediatric hospital about 1:00 AM mm-hmm. on, uh, Sunday, August 1st. And we slept some, uh, we communicated as best we could. He, he had a lot of coffin fits. He obviously was in distress with his lungs. Mm-hmm. , there wasn’t, there wasn’t anything he could do physically.
He couldn’t get up and go to the bathroom on his own mm-hmm. , um, without help. Right. And, and that was my job, obviously. And I mean, it’s your son. Mm-hmm. , you know mm-hmm. and I was still healthy for all. Everybody knew I was still able to, to function mm-hmm. . And they told me, uh, you know, he was, he was just shy of his 18th birthday.
About four months. Yeah. Two months. And they said, you know, he’s a minor. He can, you can stay if he was at the time because of the stringent hospital. Things, uh, the, the rules and regulations at the time, if he’d have been three months older, he’d have had to endure all of this by himself. Mm-hmm. . And they said, they told me, he said, you’re welcome to stay.
You can stay the minute you walk out of this room, you cannot come back. Yeah. You’re not
37:39 Chris Grainger
allowed. So we face the same thing when, when we went to have faith in May, 2020, same thing. And I believe even with Lily and August of 2021. Yeah. I, I was told if I left no. Coming back, you know, you had to, had to be there.
37:58 Stephen Kirby
Everybody forgets. I mean, we’ve kind of moved on in our world, right? Mm-hmm. , you know, everybody’s going back to work and, and many people have gone back to school and, and things feel normal, but Right. A year and a half ago it was, yeah. It was nothing normal about what we were living through. Yeah. Not at all.
It was, it was horrible. Mm-hmm. for many, many reasons, and. Yeah. So the, the hospital staff said, you can stay, but if you leave, you can’t come back. Yeah. And nobody can replace you. Right? Yeah. So I, you know, I’m, I’m texting my wife mm-hmm. , literally in real time, every time something happens. Mm-hmm. , uh, thank god for tech, for, uh, cell phones, you know?
Mm-hmm. . I know, I know, brother. I, I don’t know how we would’ve done this without technology and me and you were old enough to remember where we wouldn’t have had this. Mm-hmm. , this blessing. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . So, uh, so that Sunday he starts to go downhill. Mm-hmm. and he’s still, Matthew, you know, he’s still joking and laughing and making me laugh.
And, you know, that night he had not had anything to eat since we’d been there. And he said, They, they brought me food because they brought, they bring parents of mm-hmm. , like a parent’s tray. And so I was, they were taking care of me and he said, I just, I don’t want any of this to eat. Can I get a grilled cheese sandwich?
And I said, we will get you a grilled cheese sandwich. Mm-hmm. , I will find out how to get you a grilled cheese sandwich. So we, we got him a grilled cheese sandwich and we laughed about that and he ate about half of it, and he gave me the other half. And, uh, we, we were still together. He was glad I was there.
Yeah. Um, we, we did everything normal father son would do. We watched TV together, you know. Right. Uh, but he was going downhill. Mm-hmm. and he didn’t have a whole lot of reserves left. So, you know, we were there for 12 days. Many, many things happened. Mm-hmm. , none of ’em good. Mm-hmm. , uh, I think on day three. Or on the, the second day he was there, second full day he was there, he was moved to the pediatric I C U and we were told, or I was told at the time that we’re just moving him over there because everything is just closer.
All the machines are there, everything that we need in case of an emergency is there and set up and ready. Because when he was AMI first admitted, it was just a normal, regular room, right? Right. Um, so he was transferred over there. After he was transferred, he continued to go downhill and the call was made that instead of just having him on pure oxygen with a canella on his nose, that um, they would put him on a BiPAP mask, which is basically a big glorified C P A P machine.
Okay. It’s a big mask that fits over the entire face. and it’s a bit scary. It makes a lot of noise and a lot of racket. And it’s trying, it’s like trying to breeze with your head, hanging out of a car door window doing 70 miles an hour. Yeah. Just forcing the air. Yes. Yeah. Uh, huge positive pressure. Yeah.
Which they could dial out, dial back, and dial in. Uh, but that was made so that he, that, that he would have more oxygen in his lungs. Right. And he dealt with that like a champ. Mm-hmm. , you know, he, uh, it was scary, but he figured out how to master it. Mm-hmm. , he figured out how to breathe with it. A couple days later, things weren’t getting any better.
Um, the doctor comes in and starts talking to us and he says, I, I think you need to call your wife. And so we all jump on a conference call and, you know, with the mask on, he can’t talk. Yeah. So we do all our communicating with his notepad on his phone or, uh, via text. Yeah. And, you know, if he needed me at three o’clock in the morning, he would text me.
Yeah. And I’m, I’m in the room laying on a little four foot cot, four foot long cot, um, about seven or eight feet from him with all these machines in this room. Um, so he would text me if he needed something. And so we get on the conference call and he can’t talk, but he’s messaging me and we’re FaceTiming with my wife.
And all of a sudden a doctor says, we’re gonna intubate him. And a cast a thousand starts coming in his room. And I, joy tells him she loves him and he hears that and he stares straight ahead and he types on his little notepad. He said, I’m not scared it’s gonna be okay. Mm-hmm. . And he hears his mother tell him, I love you.
Mm-hmm. for the last time in a conscious state. Hmm. So I get off the phone with joy real fast cause I’m standing in the middle of the room and I have to get, kind of, get off to the side. But my cots over on the far side, near the window of this suite. We’re in a single suite all by ourselves. Yeah. Um, there’s a, there’s a bathroom that’s shut off from the rest of the suite, but it’s private bathroom.
It’s an ICU room, so obviously it’s, you know, one person per room. And the cast of thousands comes in and I hold his hand, tell ’em I love him, and they begin to do everything they need to do. Uhhuh to help him. Uhhuh , they intubated. They put a medical line inside of his artery in his neck. Uhhuh, . They put a chest tube inside one side of his chest.
The C P A P, I’m sure the c a p, I’m sorry. The BiPAP machine had been over pressurized and had leaked air inside of his lungs. So that was putting pressure from the outside onto his lungs, and it was making him even harder to breathe. So he had the disease inside of his lungs and he had pressure on the outside of his lungs because he had right spare air leaking on the inside.
So the chest tube was put in to take care of that, to relieve that. Right. And he had, uh, another line put in his wrist and his, in his artery and his wrist. Mm-hmm. . And all of this happens in a span of about an hour. And I’m sitting there off to the side watching all these people do all this stuff to my son.
Yeah. And my wife is texting me, you know, what’s happening, what’s happening? And I’m texting her back saying it’s, they’re not done yet. They’re not done. I promise. I’ll call you as soon as everything’s done. I promise. It’s okay. He’s okay. I’m looking at him. It’s okay. and after about an hour, me and the, the main, the main nurse at the time, our charge nurses are the only ones left in the room and it gets really quiet.
Mm-hmm. really quiet except for the home of the machines. Right. You know? Right. And he’s got this big three quarter inch pipe going down his throat and he’s got three or four different wires and leads all into the side of his neck and in his wrist. And it’s a scary thing to look at. Yeah. You know? Yeah.
And I felt peace. Mm-hmm.
it came from God. Mm-hmm. couldn’t have come from me. Mm-hmm. , I’m scared of outta my mind. I’m sitting there watching this. Mm-hmm. , so the nurse leaves and it’s just me and him. Mm-hmm. and I call Joy and I tell her, He’s okay. I ask how she’s doing cuz she’s battling the disease on her own as well. Mm-hmm.
Mm-hmm. and, you know, we, we talk to each other and, and look and cry and, and he’s there and, uh, you know, I’m stroking his hair and yeah. We, uh, I say goodbye to her and this is day five or six, I can’t remember. They all run together. Mm-hmm. , uh, I have a, a step-by-step timeline of everything because I texted my wife everything and texted many, many people who were reaching out to us that from church that were asking, how are things going?
My mom, her mom. And so I, I know everything that, everything that happened and what, and the way it happened at the time it happened. But yeah, it, you know, on the fly right now seems, seems run together. I’m, so, I get off the phone with her and now, After spending several days with him, tending everything he needed and helping him to get to the bathroom and helping him change his clothes and yeah.
Uh, helping him do things that he can’t do. My job has now changed. It’s completely different. Mm-hmm. , he’s sedated, he’s not moving. Mm-hmm. , he, there’s nothing there. I mean, he, it looks like he’s asleep with all these things on him. So my job now is to, is different. Um, I can see when he gets agitated is by the machines.
By the machine. He’s got this big monitor with this, you know, 20 inch by 20 inch TV screen hooked up to it with every number you could possibly imagine. Oh yeah. That he wanted to see. Yeah. Heart rate, pulse socks, everything. Mm-hmm. , it’s all there. Right. So I know in real time what’s going on and, and there’s a little handy red light on top of this thing.
It makes this nasty sound when things are bad, and I swear if I ever hear that sound again in my life, it’ll be too soon. Mm-hmm. . Um, so when he gets agitated, his heart rate goes up, I can see it. Um, his blood pressure goes up, I can see it. I, I go to his side. Um, our room is, is now squashed because there’s a whole lot more machines inside of it.
Oh, yeah. Yeah. So it’s kind of like trying to weed my way through a maze, trying to get to him. Mm-hmm. and, but I can get to the top of his bed where his head is and I, I can get to either side obviously, but I, I go to his, I spend a lot of time up by his head and I whisper into his ear. Yeah. I comb his hair, you know, I asked for a comb and they gave me a comb and.
He had a birthmark on his scalp right about here, Uhhuh . And from the moment he was born, uh, he came out blonde, uh, instead of brown haired like me and my wife. But, uh, as he got, as his, uh, brown hair came in, this was solid white. He had really, he had about that much of hair that was solid white. Yeah. Solid, brilliant.
Platinum white came coming outta that birthmark. And, and I always joked that that was his princess lock , you know? Right, right. You know, but, uh, I, I would text my wife and send her a picture of him with his hair combed and, and he had really long hair, you know, down to here. And he had, he had the flow.
That’s popular all. And I, I would tell wife, I tell my wife in Simba, you know. Yeah. . Right, right. Um, she, uh, she was a trooper. You know, I’m, I’m, I’m taking care of him. And she’s at home suffering. Right. Right. Her journey and her story are completely different from mine. Right. And in many ways, I think hers was way worse.
Mm-hmm. , I could see what was going on. Yeah. I could tell in real time this is what’s happening with him. She’s at home imagining worst. Yeah. And she’s battling it herself. And she’s scared. Right. And it’s her baby. Mm-hmm. , you know, 320 pounds, six foot three, it didn’t matter. That’s her baby. Mm-hmm. . And, uh, so I’m trying to take care of her and take care of him, and she, she starts to have a lot of trouble.
Mm-hmm. You know, she, she, she admits to me that she thinks she might have to go to the hospital mm-hmm. and, uh, she had several VI visits during that whole time to the, to the ER and to, to urgent care. And, uh, her mom actually, uh, called 9 1 1 and had the. The, the EMTs come and check on her and I, I’m, I’m feeling pulled, you know.
Oh yeah. My, my one flash, my wife is there suffering and my son is there too. Yeah. So, but I never felt scared. Mm-hmm. , I was never panicked. I had peace. I would go in the bathroom and they would serve me my meals. Mm-hmm. and I would take meals in the bathroom and, and during the whole time inside of our suite, it’s completely sealed up.
Right. Nobody comes in without what I call these moonsuits. Right. Yeah. These positive pressure PPEs that go over their head. They’re fully draped from head to toe in, in p p E. Right. It looks like, it looks like they’re going to war with a radioactive right. Kind of thing. Right. And it takes ’em forever to get in the room.
Mm-hmm. . So they would, they would bring me my meals, but I’m basically shut off buying myself for, for the most part. Right. And there’s a window right there. I can see the nurse’s station if I need somebody real fast. But I kept my mask on the entire time I slept with it on, I was with him. I had it on the whole time.
I would go in the, the bathroom and shut the door. And I know it’s the stupidest thing in the world, but you know, you’re inside a sealed up suite. And that was the only time I took my mask off. Yeah. Is I would, I would eat my meals in there and the nurses said, you know, that’s not really doing anything.
And I said, I understand that, but you know, for, for his benefit. For my benefit, for your benefit, I’m gonna do my best. Right. To stay healthy. Right. Even if, even if they’re not doing much. Yeah, I’m, I’ve gotta stay here as long as I can. I’ve got to be well right. And I’m still healthy. Right? Right. So after several days of that, we start getting good news, you know, he’s, he’s still intubated, but, uh, they start telling me, you know, we, we are finally starting to hear breath sounds on one side of his chest, which they had not heard.
Uh, his lungs were severely infected. He was in a bad, bad state, don’t get me wrong. But there was starting to be little by little good news, right? Um, the, the, the, the, the news started being more positive. Uh, one day she told, one of the nurses told me, you know, he, I can hear breath sounds on one side, and then the next day, you know, we, I can hear breath sounds on the other side.
Uh, and we see the x-rays and the x-rays that I’m told are a lagging indicator. The things that they’re really paying attention to with the blood work and everything else, because the last thing that shows improvement will be the x-ray. Okay. There’s, there’s a lot of other things that might happen that show positive improvement before that.
So, but even the x-rays start to look better. Right. I start to believe that after about a week, we can change, you know, it’s not, it may not be the end of the world. He may, yeah. He may improve. So after several days of being intubated, not having any contact with him whatsoever, they tell me, okay, we’re gonna start these awakening trials.
Mm-hmm. , what they do is he’s on paralytic drugs, several paralytic drugs, and they, they slowly dial those back and wake him. Mm-hmm. partially. So to teach him how to breathe with the machine mm-hmm. , um, and they tell me, Your job is to be there and to be a, a, uh, uh, a calming influence on him. Yeah. Cause he’s probably gonna be freaking out.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, can you imagine? Oh, yeah. I mean, I, I can’t imagine. Yeah. Uh, and I saw it and I can’t imagine. Yeah. So I, they make me memorize a script. Mm-hmm. , um, you’re safe, you’re calm, you’re in the hospital. I’m with you. You’re safe, you’re calm. I’m in the hospital or you’re in the hospital. I’m with you.
Year and a half. I can still remember it. Mm-hmm. . And they tell me, you know, during these trials, you need to be right there, right by his face. You know, he’s, he’s as blind as I am. He wears glasses and he can’t see, you know what I mean? Right. I don’t know how he pitched. I had no idea how he did what he did, because he can’t see either, you know?
Right. But so, , they start the awakening trials and they do this two or three times a day at first. And so I’m there and I’m by his face and his eyes open and I see his blue eyes. Mm-hmm.
for the first time in days,
and I just frat rip the mask off, you know? Mm-hmm. , I don’t give a, but I don’t give a crap about anything right now. Mm. He needs to see me at all of me. Mm-hmm. , and I see his eyes, and he’s only about maybe 50, 60% awake he can wear. But he knows me. He looks, I say something, he shakes his head. I ask him a question.
He cannot, he’s compliant. Right. The doctors ask him to do certain small tasks. He’s able to do ’em, raise his arm, raise your leg, rotate your body. He can do those things right. He’s in there hope. Mm-hmm. , looks like God has answered my prayer. Mm-hmm. and the trials continue for two or three days and they continue to get better.
And after about about three days of this, uh, they dial back his paralytic drugs one time and he has a trial and it goes really well. And they, they tell me, okay, I think, I think this might be the last one. Mm-hmm. , you know, maybe, maybe in, maybe in three or four days we can, we can extubate him. Mm-hmm. , this is great news, you know.
It doesn’t mean that he’s gonna go home, but I’ve been out of work for, you know, a week and change. I’m worried about work, I’m worried about my wife, I’m worried about the world outside this little suite. I’m worried about my son. I’m worried about everything that a dad would be worried about. Right. And, uh, so this is good news, you know?
Mm-hmm. , uh, maybe after he’s extubated, maybe I can, maybe I can leave, maybe. Mm-hmm. , maybe we can figure out something with the staff of the hospital and maybe I can, maybe we can get somebody else to come back. Right. Maybe a lot of maybes. Sure. Well, so his last trial, they dial the paralytic drugs back on, and so he’s, he’s back in his unconscious state and his eyes pop open and he’s there with the drugs running full blast.
And, , you know, I, I go back through the script. I, I do everything I’m supposed to do. And he’s disoriented and he’s, he’s, he’s scared. Yeah. And he looks at me and tears roll down his eyes, down his face. Mm-hmm. and he’s crying and, you know, he, he gets a little disoriented and he ends up ripping the arterial line out of his wrist.
And, you know, the cast, a thousand starts coming in the, in the, in the room. And me and three other people, we have to hold him down cuz he’s just, he’s just, he’s confused and disoriented and scared. He’s Yeah. Strong and he’s big and, and there’s just, there’s not a lot any of us can do to, to keep him Right.
Steady. And so, uh, you know, they give him, Uh, uh, a, a bolus of some really heavy stuff. And, uh, he, he, he gets knocked out again. Mm-hmm. , and that stops having a whole lot of effect. Um, he won’t sleep anymore. His eyes are open the whole time. Uh, his fever starts to increase. It bounces back and forth between 1 0 3 and 1 0 1 all the time.
Uh, he doesn’t sleep. He’s always awake. So I do all I know to do to keep him calm. Right. And, you know, do what I can. And he’s, I mean, he’s still got the paralytics running full blast. He’s still intubated. He’s still got all these things in him. And he’s three 20. Right. And he’s six three. He’s not gonna be held down if he doesn’t wanna be held down.
Mm-hmm. , they put restraints on him. I’m told that the restraints can’t be completely hold him down completely. That that goes against policy, right? And, uh, he doesn’t sleep. I don’t sleep. I stay by his bed. Uh, he’s maxed out on Tylenol and ibuprofen or anything they can and give him to keep his temperature down.
So I am told, the only thing I know, the only thing the staff knows to do is to rotate ice packs all around his body, top of his head, his neck, under his arms in his groin everywhere, and rotate them right back and forth. So basically for 20, 22 hours a day, for the next two or three days, I’m rotating ice packs all over his body.
We’re not allowed to have a fan inside of his. A box fan or anything. Right. Air conditioner’s running at full blast. He, he made me keep it set on 65. You know, it, the ACS maxed out. Um, but he’s 101, 103. Yeah. They can’t get the infection down or they can’t get the, the temperature down. And during all this, I, I just, I pick up a pillowcase and I just start fanning him.
Yeah. With a pillowcase. 18 hours a day. Arms never got tired, right? Never.
1:00:27 Chris Grainger
Uh, yeah. Guys, we’re gonna take a quick break and get Steve in a second here and we’ll be right back.
Let me ask you a real personal question. Who are your five closest friends? Are they pulling you closer to God or further? I know some of many guys that said, man, I ain’t got five friends. You know? Okay, I get it, man. It’s hard. It’s hard to make those true connections. So what we did at the line with us is we started a community.
That community is where brotherhood happens. It’s where guys come together. So guys, if you, if you’re struggling right now, if you feel a little bit isolated or alone, you need to hop in the community. You’re gonna find brothers there that are gonna come alongside you, that want to help you. Wherever you’re at, wherever you’re at.
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1:02:27 Stephen Kirby
1:02:30 Chris Grainger
All right, guys, we’re back here with Steven and, uh, probably the hardest part of the story right here, but, uh, we want, again, honor, g we just wanna glorify God in this story and honor him. Honor Matthew. And so Steven, just feel free to keep going.
1:02:47 Stephen Kirby
So I’m doing all I can inside of our suite to mm-hmm. to, to keep his temperature down.
Um, the nurses, God bless them, they were rock stars. Mm-hmm. , I still remember all their names. Mm-hmm. , uh, Claudia, Caitlin, uh, you know, they, they come into our room and they’re all wearing the PPE and I can’t see their face. Right. So the only thing I can identify people by is basically their shoes. Okay. So I get pathological about noticing people’s shoes.
Yeah. And the charge nurse, uh, the last day was wearing Pink New Balances and he’s about a six foot one dude. And he was awesome. He was absolutely awesome. Yeah. His name was Corey, Caitlin Klor. Caitlin, Corey and Claudia. I still remember their names. Yeah. And, uh, so. They’re rock stars. And in fact, one of our nurses early on, I’m, I’m deviating backwards a little bit, but she found out that I paid attention to shoes and she would rotate five or six pairs of shoes every day to keep them fresh, you know?
Cause Yeah. You know, she, she rotated them. And when she found out I was identifying everybody by their shoes, she made sure to wear the same shoes every day. So I would know that was her. That was her. They were rock stars man. Yeah. The people that were there, maybe they were operating with one ti hand tie behind their back, but they did everything they could for him and for me.
And so we’re, we’re doing all we can to keep his temperature down. Right. And August 12th, Thursday, August 12th, I wake up with a little bit of a fever in err runny nose. And of course I automatically think, all right, this is. This is, yeah. This is what it is. Yeah. And so I tell the nursing staff, Hey, I might be unwell.
What’s the protocol? And they say, well, we don’t know. We’ve never had to go through this before. So they call the higher ups at the hospital and they, they try to get a ruling. And in the meantime, you know, that day my wife goes to urgent care cuz she’s suffering from vertigo and from uh, uh, not feeling very well.
And she goes to urgent care and she gets tested and she’s negative. Praise God. Yeah. She’s, she’s come through the worst part. She doesn’t feel great. She’s come through the worst part. Now I can just focus on him. Right. So she gets back home and they make the call even though his temperature is really, really high.
And his heart rate is between 180 and 200 all the time now. Like he’s running a marathon. Oh, gracious. All the time. Um, his heart rate is sky high and his blood pressure is way, way low, but they make the call to extubate him. Uh, his doctor at the time said, we need to strike while the iron is hot. So they pull, they pull the plug and they immediately put him, put him back on the BiPAP mask.
Right. Because it was gonna be, you know, we ramp up to intubation, we ramped down from intubation. Right. We put him on the BiPAP mask, then we move into the canella. Then we, you know, that, that was, you know, we ramp up, we ramp down mm-hmm. , so they put him back on the BiPAP mask and like I said, he’s not slept in two days.
Um, maybe cat naps here and there and, and I’m the same way, honestly. So his eyes are open the whole time now. Mm-hmm. and he’s his fever’s at 1 0 4 and his eyes are open and there’s just nothing there. Chris. Mm. , he’s just not there. Mm-hmm. later on, my wife and I believe that that was a mercy from God.
Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. that maybe he got to be present with the Lord just a couple of minutes early. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . I know that’s probably not biblical, but you take comfortable where you can get it. That’s right. That’s right. So, uh, about three in the afternoon, his fever’s still high. He’s extubated. I sit down in the chair, the, the little lean back chair that they have in the room, and I’m just staring at him and he’s looking up at the skeet ceiling with eyes that don’t see anything, and he’s got the mask on and he’s struggling.
He’s struggling. Mm-hmm. . And, you know, I’m, I’m still rotating the ice packs. I’m still fanning him with a, with a fan, with, with a pillowcase. Getting a little weary now because I’m fighting something and they, they tell me you probably haven’t. We can’t treat you. Mm-hmm. , we can’t get you Tylenol, ibuprofen.
We can’t treat you at all. We can’t treat you like a patient even though you’re in the hospital, but you can stay as long as you want to. You can stay as long as you can hang. Okay? And I said, well, I can hang, suck it up. BetterUp. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . That’s my son right there. Right? And so that, that comes down from on high.
And, and, and the day gets longer and his temperature keeps going up and his heart rate keeps going up and nothing seems to be getting better. My dinner shows up about five o’clock going to bathroom. I’m not feeling all that great. I just, what’s on the plate? I don’t really want to eat. I understand. I’ve ate everything.
That they’ve stuck in front of me in that hospital. Mm-hmm. , even steamed broccoli. I ate it. I ate steamed broccoli until it was coming outta my ears. Mm-hmm. , but I ate everything. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. And I told my wife, I said, I’ve gotta, I’ve gotta stay healthy. Main things. Strength. That’s right. I’ve gotta have main meaning.
That’s right. My strength. That’s right. So, you know, I I, this is like the first meal that I’m just, ah, just, I don’t know, man. I don’t know. So I open it up and there’s a couple of cookies there and, all right. That’s, that’s quick, fast, and a hurry. That’s sugar, that’s bad. Right. You know, that’s carbs. But you know, it’ll keep me going for half an hour, 30 minutes.
Right. We’ll see how things go. I start hearing and I, the door shut and I’m in the bathroom and I’ll just start here In this tremendous commotion out in main suite. Just sounds like people were walking in with hammers and saw it, you know? I know that’s not what was going on. Yeah. But just. What’s going on?
You know, I, I eat the cookie and I opened the door and the cookie’s still in my hand. And the, my, my doctor or his doctor, the main doctor, the floor, the, the, the head of the department is standing there right in front of the door. He’s getting ready to knock on the door and get me. And he said, we have to intubate him right now.
And this is super dangerous. And I’m standing there with a cookie and I know it’s kind of funny. And, and my wife and I have joked about it the whole time. I look at ’em and said, all I did was eat a cookie, man. Yeah. You know, it’s, it’s shock, it’s fear, it’s everything hitting y’all at once. And the only thing you can think to say is the stupidest thing.
And Yeah. Yeah. So 13 people invade our suite mm-hmm. and start plugging him back up and rein intubate him. And, and, and I go off to the side to my little co. And I start watching them work on him all over again. Right. And I get on the phone with my wife now I, I, something’s going on. I need to call her. I’m not, texting’s, not gonna do.
Right. Right. So basically I, for the next six and a half hours, I relay everything in real time to my wife on the phone as 13 people and twice as many sitting outside of our suite. Try to keep my son alive. This blood pressure maxes out the machine at 200, or his heart rate, sorry, is fever spikes to 106.7.
They come to me and start talking all kinds of horrible things that they may have to do to him to keep him alive. Uh, they go, Multiple, uh, uh, what’s the, the cardiac drug? Mm-hmm. . Uh, they go through about 20 of those pens, you know, usually two or three, they go through 20. Um, they start putting fluid inside of him cuz fluid’s, the only thing they can do to, to keep his blood pressure up, to keep his heart rate down, to keep his fever under control.
They put, uh, six liters of fluid in him. Um, he becomes distended in his chest because of all the fluid inside of him. Mm-hmm. , uh, I’m not gonna go through every single detail because I bear it with the strength of God and I don’t want anybody else to have to bear it. Mm-hmm. , but I see those heroes Right.
Work on him for six and a half hours, and I stay on the phone with Joy the whole time. . There’s a, a patient services lady that, uh, helps in times like this. She comes in our suite, she’s not even wearing the ppe. She screw it, you know, and she sits on the little cop beside me and holds my hand, holds my right hand.
I’m on the phone with my wife in the left, and I’m, I’m relaying everything in real time. If I see or hear somebody say something, I repeat it. Yeah. It’s, it’s that old game of Simon says, right. You know, not Simon says, but, uh, I, I’m, I’m relaying everything in real time. Right. My wife needs to hear all of this, and, you know, is nothing’s getting better.
It’s getting worse. I see Corey, his charge nurse, the, the, the, the, the floor nurse to head in their nursing that night. I see him climb up on my son and start giving him C P R. And if you know anything about C P R, you can’t give it forever. Right. You know, you just, you wear out. Right. And he went through 20 solid minutes of giving my son c p r, um, he, uh, they try and relieve him and he says, no, he’s mine.
I’ve got him. Uh, they put, you know, the, you, you, we, we all know on tv. We the defibrillator. Yeah. You put the paddles on and you charge it. That’s not really what they were, what they do, uh, they do it in an emergency situation, but with him, they put leads on him front and back. Uhhuh. . And they hooked it up to a machine.
The machine is automated, so if, if a shock needs to happen, they can just, you know, clear and press a button and the, and there’s not paddles, there’s, it takes human error out of it. Right. Um, His heart rate was such that they, they couldn’t find anything to shock and he coded three separate times where his heart stopped.
Mm-hmm. and, uh,
they were heroes. Mm-hmm. , they did all they could. And after he coded the third time, after 30 plus minutes of C P R, they decided that he was gone.
So now my job has shifted again. Mm-hmm. , my wife is still on the phone. She’s sobbing. I hear her cries on the phone. Mm-hmm.
The doctor that’s in charge of the department is there and, uh, the, the head of the emergency department is also still there and he calls me from my little place
to my son. Mm-hmm.
and God takes over.
I’m not angry. Mm-hmm. , I’m crying, obviously. Mm-hmm. , it’s time to pray. It’s time to worship. And I lift every one of those people up before the throne of grace. I look each out of them in the eye and thank Christ for them. Mm-hmm. I tell them they didn’t save my son, but they’ll. So, mm-hmm. , they’ll save somebody else’s.
He’s there. I hear my wife, I tell her, honey, you need to get here. Come on. Yeah. And you know, at the time, uh, there were five arm checkpoints at the hospital manned by sheriff’s deputies from the local county. Mm-hmm. . And you couldn’t get to the emergency room if you wanted to. Mm-hmm. , uh, after I pray and lift all these wonderful people up, I look at the doctors and I said, my wife’s on the way.
Make it happen. Get her up here. Mm-hmm. , she needs to tell her son goodbye. Mm. So we, my wife and I talked for a few minutes and, uh, a good friend of ours, lovely, wonderful person that helped take care of her while my wife was home. She had already had the disease and had been over it, and she said, I’m, I’m, she volunteered to, to, to get joy and bring her mm-hmm.
and this is 1130 at night and the sweet empties out of the doctors and everybody except our three main nurses, Corey, Caitlin, and Claudia. And, uh, I put the word out to our pastor. Mm-hmm. , pastor David. And, uh, the man picked up the phone at 1130 at night on a Thursday, you know, ? Mm-hmm. , that’s, that says something for the kind of person he is.
Mm-hmm. . And I tell him what’s happened and he says, I’m coming. And I let the staff know that he’s coming too. And they ever said, you know, we’re, we’re gonna give you some time with him. You take as much time as you want. Mm-hmm. , uh, my wife is an hour out. It’ll take her that long to get there. So there’s time and they emptied out suite and all the machines are off and there’s debris all over the floor.
Mm-hmm. . And he’s laying there and he looks like he’s asleep. Mm-hmm. , you know, but he’s not. Mm-hmm. and I’m not gonna describe that. Right. But
I laid on his chest and I said a lot of things to him. Mm-hmm. , I told him I’m proud I was of him.
I. The definition of groanings too deep that we have taught in Romans. I know what that is now. Mm-hmm.
and I love on him and kiss him
and spend time with him. Mm-hmm. and, uh,
one of the nurses comes back in and says, uh, we, we would like to take some time and, and, and clean him before your wife gets here. We don’t want her to see him in this state right now. She’s been gone. She hasn’t seen him in 12 days. Yeah. Right. Last time she saw him, he walked out of the house. Right. So, uh, I take a few more minutes and then I step outside and mm-hmm.
several people come in and, and start to, to, to clean him and clean up the room and make it more presentable. And I, wait, I wait to see my, my bride. Mm-hmm.
and I see her coming up the hallway and our friend refused to just let her out. And she said, I’m, I’m not leaving your side until I see him, until I hand him. Hand you off to him. Mm-hmm.
And, uh, I see my wife for the first time in 12 days and just I fall into her arms. Hmm. And the doctor, our doctor, Dr. Mark stayed, it was past his time, but he stayed and he was still there and he wanted to see her. Mm-hmm. and he was a believer. He had come into the suite with me while I was messaging family and friends before I had my time with him and, and he prayed with me, prayed for him, and he’s still there.
And he loved on my wife. Mm-hmm. and told her what an amazing man I am. And what an amazing son we had. Mm-hmm.
God loved that man. He came to his funeral. Really? He came to his funeral. Mm-hmm. , one of the other nurses came to his funeral. Uh, so me and Joy go into the suite again, and she has her time with him. Mm-hmm. . And, uh,
it was one thing for me to do it, it’s another thing for me to step back and watch her do it Right. And that’s. That’s pain, you know? Yeah. Man, I can’t even imagine. So, you know, we take our time with him and all the things that you would think happened with the deceased body start to begin to happen and mm-hmm.
we say, you know, we, we don’t need to remember him like that. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . And we, she sits there and I gather up our belongings that we had, and, uh, we’d leave mm-hmm. and leave him there. And as we walk down the hallway of the pediatric I C U, all our doctors and all our nurses lying hallways on either side to see us off.
And I walk outta that hospital without my son, and it’s the first time I breathe there that’s not recycled in 12 days. Mm-hmm. and it was Dcom hot man. Mm-hmm. , I don’t ever remember it being that hot at night, but it was like 85 degrees. It was unbelievably hot. And there was a sky bridge that, that connected the, the hospital to the parking deck.
Mm-hmm. . And the minute I walked over the ho over that sky bridge, I felt the disease hit me. I felt it. Mm-hmm. , sore throat, headache. Mm-hmm. , fever, all of it. It hit me within a span of 20 steps. Right. And God kept me okay. Mm-hmm. till I didn’t have to be okay. Right, right. Joy and I get in the car and we drive home.
Mm-hmm. without him.
1:23:27 Chris Grainger
Guys, we wanna take a quick break right here.
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All right guys, we’re back. This has been a very difficult conversation, so, but we all, we, we know, um, At this point, you’re at home, you’re driving home with joy, and I’m just curious if we don’t have to keep going through the details. I, I would love to know for the guys that are listening that maybe, you know, there’s no pain, like kid pain, I say it all the time, there’s just, there’s no pain, like kid pain.
And so many times you see it drives such a wedge and marriages and, and a lot and a lot of marriages just can’t survive it. So I’m curious for you and joy standpoint, cuz she’s been the, the, the, the red thread throughout this entire story just coming, going back to her too. So what would you tell guys out there, or how did you enjoy, um, work together or, or lean on Christ?
I mean, well just, just give us an encouragement for, for the married men who may be, you know, walking this at some point. Well,
1:25:15 Stephen Kirby
I will tell you and I kind of have to keep going with the details just a little bit Sure. To answer that question. Sure. Absolutely. So. I get home, it’s about 2:00 AM Okay. I get us home only God knows how we got home.
Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . I, I don’t know how you drive at di at night after that and, and get home, but we got home. Yeah. And we just immediately just fell into bed. Mm-hmm. and I wake up the next morning, and of course I’m sick. Mm-hmm. and I wake up about nine and, and we have some, some tests and I test and I’m positive.
And so I look back and I think that was horrible. And I spend the next four days or so getting over it. My fever went up to like 1 0 3 0.72 to the point where Joy was like, if you don’t start getting better, I’m taking you somewhere. Mm-hmm. , excuse me. And. After she made that threat, my body, I guess God said, okay, I need to get him better now, cuz I’m not, I’m not going making him go through that again.
So. Right. Um, we have to spend the next two weeks sequestered in our home. Mm-hmm. , just us. Oh, that’s cuz of quarantine. Because of the quarantine. Right, right. And I’m sick and she’s getting over it. And of course everything that comes with laying someone to rest, we have to deal with. Mm-hmm. , uh, we decide to have him cremated.
Mm-hmm. , um, there’s a memorial service to plan there. We, we didn’t have a niche or we didn’t have a, a plot, we had to detain something like that, or a local funeral home. Mm-hmm. , we have to go through all this together. Right. And I look back now and I think that two weeks with just me and her, you know, we laid in bed and watched movies and cried and looked at pictures of him and cried.
Mm-hmm. walked by his room and cried. Mm-hmm. . His laundry is still there in the hallway. Yeah. Uh, but it’s just us for two weeks. Yeah. And I look back and I, that, that was a blessing mm-hmm. because we’re there with each other mm-hmm. and we have to get each other through it. Mm-hmm. , and of course her pain is different from mine.
So I have to hear her stories of what she went through for the two weeks. She knew everything that I’d been through. Right. I had to, to, I mean, our water heater burst while I was in the hospital with Matthew. And, and of course she was sick and she didn’t know about it for about a day and a half. And it’s just all over the, all over the, the, the, the, the garage.
Yeah. So she has to deal with all that. So I have to hear her stories and I want to hear her stories of everything that she went through during that time. Yeah. And, and that brought us together. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. , he was our whole world. We. Made every decision based on him, made every decision based on what was good for him.
Uh, we scheduled our work around him. We scheduled meals around him. We wanted to give him the best and, and, and mentor him. Mm-hmm. and to as good a man as we could make mm-hmm. . And now he’s gone. So what are we mm-hmm. , you know, I, we talked early on and, and you know, we, we, we become new creations in Christ.
Mm-hmm. . Well, what is she, what am I, I’m no longer, I’m still his dad, but he’s not here. She’s still his mom, but he’s not here. Mm-hmm. . So what are we, and that, that’s been, it’ll be, it’ll be 18 months, two days from now. Mm-hmm. . So we plan his memorial and we read scripture and pray together. Mm-hmm. and hold each other.
Mm-hmm. . Being present with her in her pain. Mm-hmm. , her being present with me and mine. Mm-hmm. , that’s how you get through it. Mm-hmm. . So the day we emerged from quarantine is the day of his memorial service. Okay. And during that whole time, our church family, our church family mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. , they’re bringing meals to us.
They’re, you know, there we have a glass door on the front of our house. We open up the door and we leave the glass door shut and, and dozens of people just overflow our front porch. Mm-hmm. showing love being God’s hands and feet. Mm-hmm. , um, love God as you with all your heart’s soul, strength and mind and love.
Your neighbor is yourself. Mm-hmm. , as you know. Well, that’s what they were doing for us. Mm-hmm. and, and they were obedient. Our assistant pastor, our pastor, our pastor came and mowed our grass. Mm-hmm. , I didn’t even know he was doing it till he showed up. And I hear somebody mowing our grass at like eight o’clock in the morning, you know?
Mm-hmm. . I look outside and there’s Pastor David mowing our grass, you know, and the day we emerge is the, the day after that is memorial service. Mm-hmm. . And we had over 500 people come to the service and over 1200 people watched it online. Mm-hmm. . And we spent two hours afterward greeting everybody in our fellowship hall.
Mm-hmm. , everybody that wanted to say a word to us. And it was important to me to do that and to treat each person. Mm-hmm. like the child of God. They were right when we were in the hospital. I made sure that everybody that came into our suite and made sure everybody that left our suite knew. That I was grateful for what they did for him.
Mm-hmm. for me, I told them, you’re an amazing person and you’re doing God’s work right now. Mm-hmm. , you know, I made sure that they knew, I was intentional about telling them how much they meant to us, to him, to me, to my wife. I kept doing that. I still do that. Mm-hmm. , you know, you, you teach Sunday school.
Mm-hmm. , I always try and flag you at the end of it and tell you how great you did. I do that because I’m compelled to do that. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . I’ve, I’ve, I’ve told my wife Switch got flipped in me sometime. I was saved early. I walked the walk. I’m Christ believer, but there’s, there’s head knowledge and heart knowledge.
Mm-hmm. and I’ve always been standoffish and, and, and just not great with people and not good at showing emotions. . And my wife told me later on, she said, you used up all the strength you had in your life in those 12 days. Mm-hmm. . I said, yeah. I mean, I cried a drop of a hat now. Mm-hmm. , I, I never did that.
Mm-hmm. . Um, but so we we’re amazed at the loving and outpouring of people. Yeah. And we began a year of firsts. That was August 12th. His memorial was August 28th. His birthday was November 8th. So the, you know, two, a month and a half, two months after we lay him to rest, we have to celebrate his birthday. He would’ve been 18.
Right. He would’ve been starting his career. At least that was his plan. Mm-hmm. , uh, he would’ve been beginning his life, which was laid out in front of him. Yeah. Uh, we walked through that year first. Uh, his first birthday, his first Christmas, Thanksgiving. Without him, first Christmas without him. Mm-hmm. , uh, you know, our family is wonderful, but my definition, our joy’s definition of family has changed.
Now, family’s not necessarily blood. Mm-hmm. family is who is with you at 3:00 AM when you call mm-hmm. . Amen. And I’ve got a ton of people mm-hmm. now that I didn’t have then. Right. And
we start feeling God wants to do something with this, with us. Mm-hmm. , we we’re still here. We’re a new creation in Christ. That’s great. What is it? Mm-hmm. , what are you gonna do with it? Mm-hmm. and I started chasing. All the wrong things in all the wrong places. I started thinking, okay, I’ve gotta make sure that people know how to fight this disease better.
Mm-hmm. , the lessons that we learned in the hospital, things the nurses taught me, things that, that I found out and read on my own. I started believing that was my reason for everything. Mm-hmm. , that, that I, if I can save a life, man, that’s, that’s great. Mm-hmm. and God just kept shutting those doors, man. And he didn’t just shut ’em easy, he slammed a mm-hmm.
bang, bang, you’re looking in the wrong place too. Right. And it took me a while to figure out that, and I finally decided, okay, I’m gonna, I’m gonna let go . And that was about the time that you started the line with them? Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. in January of 2022. Mm-hmm. and. Right around the time I started listening to you and I was listening and unashamed and I was listening to all these different religious podcasts that, and I started, I could not get enough of God mm-hmm.
I could not get enough of him influencing my life. Right. And that’s important, right. Knowledge is important. Right. What you do with the knowledge is more important. Amen. So we decided, uh, about four months after he left us, that we were gonna do a mission trip. Mm-hmm. and our church sends, uh, a mission group out every December.
Mm-hmm. to West Virginia. Uh, the Coalfield ministry that was run by the, uh, the Baptist Organization, organization of our state. Mm-hmm.
buddy of mine, my best friend.
He keeps quoting a verse, or not a verse, but keeps quoting a, a line from a movie. Get busy living or get busy dying. Mm-hmm. . Well, if you’re living, what are you living for? Mm-hmm. and God started moving in me. Saving a life’s not what is important. Saving souls is what is important. Amen. If you can use his story to move somebody closer to God, one step at a time.
Mm-hmm. , that’s what’s important. Right. That gives his life and his death purpose and meaning. I’m not saying that he would save anybody. Only Jesus saves. Only God saves. Mm-hmm. , only God can, Jesus can forgive Sam. We know that. Mm-hmm. . But if his life and his death and the way he died moves somebody closer to Christ, that’s what I need to spend my time doing.
Amen. And I ain’t perfect at it. I ain’t perfect at it. Mm-hmm. , um, we got involved with, uh, uh, a Jeep organization. Mm-hmm. bought a secondhand Jeep. And one of my best friends from from high school that Joe and I both knew, I asked him, he runs his own shop and I asked him, can, can you, can you look this thing over and you know, just check it out and maybe change the oil and whatever.
He said, yeah, I’ll do that. And he kept it for six weeks. Mm-hmm. and brought in dozens of volunteers and souped it up from, from all the way from the top all the way down to the tires. Really built it into just this magnificent memorial of our sun, and we call it Phoenix. Yeah. And it’s got a big phoenix on the front of it.
And the point of that is we li we rise from his ashes, right. It’s got his baseball number on it. We start seeing encouragements that God starts sending to us. Mm-hmm. . , and I’m not gonna lie, some of ’em are su supernatural. Mm-hmm. . And you think, how can that be? They are, yeah. God is sovereign. God is in control.
God can do whatever he wants to do. If he wants to send supernatural images, he’s gonna do it. Gonna do it. And I’m not gonna describe those things. Mm-hmm. , those things are for me, joy. That’s right. They are encouragements from the creator of the universe. Mm-hmm. to keep going. Mm-hmm. to endure. You know, first Peter talks about that in, in one, I think it’s first Peter three.
And if I quote the chapter wrong, I’m sorry, but I think it’s first Peter three, he keeps saying, endure, endure, endure. Mm-hmm. , he says it three times. Mm-hmm. , you endure here and you endure for his glory. You endure the pain to become a new creation in Christ. Mm-hmm. And to save as many souls as you can or at least be involved in it.
Right. And I’ve, I’ve told you, and I’ve told many people, I’m, my job now here is to drag as many people to heaven with me as I possibly can see it. We, uh, we both entered biblical Christian counseling, which I cannot in, uh, if you go through tragedy, I cannot encourage you more to seek out a biblical counselor.
It’s one thing to seek out counseling. Mm-hmm. people with initials after their name. And, and, and our guy is a, a wonderful man and he’s got initials after his name. He is a biblical counselor, but he is also a licensed counselor. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . He can keep one foot in the secular world and one foot in the non-secure world.
That’s right. And he can do all of that. Um, and we both have been seeing him for a long time. . I started in April of 2022, about six or seven months after he left, and Joyce started this past summer. And one thing that we’ve been taught and we learn is there’s a little voice that’s gonna speak inside of you.
Mm-hmm. just depends on which one it is. Mm-hmm. , Satan is the accuser. If you hear that voice inside of you and he says, you should have done X, you should have done Y. Mm-hmm. . That’s not Holy Spirit. Mm-hmm. . That’s the accuser. Flush that. Mm-hmm. , holy Spirit will speak in short, small, quiet encouragements.
Mm-hmm. , endure, serve. Mm-hmm. last stand. You can do this with me. Mm-hmm. . And that’s what we do. We, uh, I’ve coached baseball for years. I’ve coached every, every level from t-ball to high school. And by the way, by the way, coaching high, high school is not all it’s cracked up to be. Yeah. Because they know everything.
That’s right. And they will tell you that. That’s right. So I’ve kind of settled into a niche with, with middle school, and I’ve been coaching, uh, Matthew’s former religious school, uh, for seven years now. Mm-hmm. . And, uh, my coaching partner asked me, do you wanna coach again? Him and his wife, they, the, the three of us have handled the middle school team for six years.
Uh, do you wanna coach again? Mm-hmm. . And I said, man, I don’t know. I just don’t know. I don’t know if I can ever set foot on a baseball field ever again. Mm-hmm. because baseball was such a big part of his life and such a big part of mine. Sure. And I felt pull to do that. . And, you know, everybody says, well, I hear the voice of God saying, well, I don’t know if that’s true or not.
I, I, a lot of pastors would disagree with me about that. But what I do know is when the Holy Spirit is inside of you, it shows you where he wants you to go. You’re gonna go, you, you go. That’s right. And I felt the pull to, to get back on the field, to use it as a ministry, not just to enjoy the game, but to help raise young men.
Mm-hmm. . And I don’t want anybody getting a twist. We, if, if females wanted to play on our team, we would let them play. It’s just right now nobody wants, no, nobody , nobody wants to try out. We just, we’ve got all guys right now. Right. Uh, and that team last year brought us. Out of a hole. Mm-hmm. to see those beautiful smiling faces every day.
And I do everything with my life now. Mm-hmm. , I can’t be away from her. Mm-hmm. , we are one flesh. Mm-hmm. , I can’t go anywhere. I can’t do anything. She’s by my side the whole time. Mm-hmm. , and she’s my scorekeeper. Mm-hmm. , uh, she’s, she’s right there with me through all of it. Yeah. And, and I made sure that if I’m gonna coach, she has to be involved in this, this decision as well.
It goes back to what you asked me a few minutes ago. Mm-hmm. , what do you do to draw each other together? You are intentional about, if I’m gonna make this choice, I need to make sure that I recognize how it would deal with her. Mm-hmm. , if I’m gonna do this, I need to do this with her. Right. If she doesn’t want me to do it, I’m not gonna.
Right. So, uh, she, she’s my rockstar. She, she’s with, in fact, we got tryouts next week. She asked, can I come to tryouts? Absolutely. You can come to tryouts. There you go. You can abso I will put you to work. Well, I can’t do anything. Yeah, well, okay. You can, you can be another set of eyes. That’s right. You can te you can see what I can’t see, you know, the game as well as I do.
Right, right. So I’ve, I’ve been coaching with his former school, I’ve, I got a golden ticket to coach with his showcase organization. Yeah. Uh, the, one of the, one of the larger showcase organizations in the, in the, in the country. They said, you come coach with us anytime you want to. Yeah. And I said, fine, I’m gonna coach this fall, this past fall.
I want a 14 U team and I don’t want ’em to be very good. I wanna be able to help kids that aren’t at the highest level. Right. And they proceeded to give me two teams. One of ’em is a 17 U team and one of ’em is an 18 U team . So Trey, if you’re listening, I’m still carrying a grudge about that . Right, right, right.
And, and I get to pour into those kids. Yeah. I get to show them God’s mercy and grace. Mm-hmm. , I get to show them what I can do with God by my side and inside of me and my school team pulled together and said, you know what? You and joy need to go on vacation. And I spoke with our counselor about this. Joy spoke with our counselor about this, and he, he seemed to think that, you know what, this would be a good capstone for your time.
Mm-hmm. in this stage of your life. And this will be, you know, a line of demarcation. Right. What was and what will become. Right. And we’ve, we’ve toyed with, you know, we’ve, we’ve made fun when, you know, if we get old and gray, where are we gonna go? Well, let’s go to Wyoming. Mm-hmm. , I like the west. You like the west?
I like the west. So we’re gonna go to Wyoming. Well, that’s where we decided to go. And they paid for everything. God bless those people. Amen. We went out there and we felt, God, I mean, we’re a mile above sea level. We’re closer to God, that’s I’m here. That’s right. We felt him. Yeah. We felt our son near and it was alignment, the line of demarcation and what we are, or what we were, and what we’re gonna become now.
Hmm. And so many people have asked us so many times, time and time again, how on earth do you get up out of bed every day? How do you do this? How do you just not just lay there and cry the whole time? Mm-hmm. . And I’ve told you this. Yeah. I’ve told many people
1:45:31 Chris Grainger
this. I wanna make sure you get here. I want, we gotta go to this, I gotta get to
1:45:34 Stephen Kirby
There’s only one way that John and I can get up out of bed every single day and make a conscious decision to serve him daily. Mm-hmm. . And the only way we can do that is the two most important and powerful words in all of the Bible. Mm-hmm. , but God. But God, anything that comes after that is immaterial.
Mm-hmm. . God is there when you’re asleep. God is there when you’re awake. Mm-hmm. God will give you what you need today if you’re intentional about choosing to serve him.
1:46:13 Chris Grainger
Amen. Brother. This has been the most powerful story and, and just thank you for sharing this is there. I wanna make sure, have we covered everything that you wanted to, to.
The listeners out there, if there’s one thing that you want them to remember from this story, uh, from the, from your actual story, rather you enjoy, what would it be?
1:46:38 Stephen Kirby
I could give you a list of listens that we learned. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . But one thing I will be that, that I was always very intentional about spending time with my son.
Mm-hmm. goes back to the beginning of our conversation. Yeah. I made the choice to always be at every, and, and, and Joy was there with me. Yeah. She did the same thing. It wasn’t just me, it was her two. Right. I made the choice to, I’m gonna be there for every practice that I can get, possibly get to. I think I missed three games in 18 years.
Mm-hmm. , or not, not 18 years. Sorry. Yeah. 15 years. Right. I think I missed three games. Um, I didn’t miss many practices either. Right. I, I went into work early so I could be there for him. I could leave early. And I had flexibility with my job. You know, my, my bosses didn’t care as long as I got my work done.
And not everybody has that. Right. And I understand that. Right. But what you can be, you can be intentional about spending time with your children. Amen.
Spend time with them doing what they want to do, not necessarily what you want to do. Mm-hmm. , if they come in your room at 11 o’clock at night and show you some stupid thing that they found on the internet, open your eyes and look at it and give them your full attention, even at 11 o’clock at night. Amen.
One thing I have no regret, there’s two things I have no regrets about. I didn’t do everything right with him, especially in the time that he was facing his depression. Mm-hmm. , but I was always there. Mm-hmm. for everything that he needed or wanted. Mm-hmm. , all he had to do was. Right. I hadn’t had no regrets because I never missed anything.
Mm-hmm. . And I know my son is with Jesus and with God in the control room with the universe right now. Amen. I know that because I saw the fruit he bore. Yeah. Not everybody’s gonna bury a child. Right. I hope not. I don’t want anybody to deal with that. That is, that is, ain’t no pain, like kid pain. Mm-hmm.
like you keep saying mm-hmm. . But if you do need to know where they’re going. Amen. And I will never have a doubt that I was always there for him. And I know he’s in the control room of the universe right now. Amen. So if there’s one thing I can tell anybody that’s listening, be intentional about spending time with your children.
Mm-hmm. be intentional about drawing them closer. to the only one who can forgive their sins to the only one who can heal their body and wipe away every tear. Be intentional with that cuz there’s no greater calling than that. There is no higher calling. Everything you think is important. Mm-hmm. is not.
Mm-hmm. . It’s, it’s good and right for you to take care of your family, you need to, it is good and right for you as a, as a dad. And I know that, that some moms listen to this too, but this is the line within mm-hmm. and it’s primarily for, for men. You are the head of your household. Yeah. Take care of them.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. And there’s nothing wrong with working late. Don’t make it a habit. Right. Make time for your children. Don’t have any regrets if they left you tomorrow, can you say, my son, my child, my daughter is in heaven with Jesus right now. Mm-hmm. , can you say that? Mm-hmm. , if you can’t say that you’ve got time to do something about it.
That’s right. But if you can’t say that, That’s a you problem.
1:50:26 Chris Grainger
Amen. Too many parents are worried about where they’re going to school versus where they, where they’re spending eternity. Love how you said, how you covered that, brother. Loved it. Well, Steven, this has been powerful conversation. This is one that we both spent a lot of time in prayer over, and, uh, I think, you know, we definitely glorified guy.
I felt like the Holy Spirit was in this conversation. I feel like we honored your son and, uh, you know, I just pray that the guys and, and, and even the girls out there to listen to this, just have that encouragement. And I’m gonna do something line that we don’t normally do here. I just, I just wanna pray over you, uh, pray for our listeners out there, and then we’ll just, uh, we’ll just, we’ll just let the war, the Lord take us out
1:51:08 Stephen Kirby
of this conversation.
Prayer is the most important weapon on the face of the earth. Amen. I I absolutely would not mind you invoking it. Amen. Amen.
1:51:17 Chris Grainger
Well, father God, just thank you that we were able to come together today. And, uh, to hear this story that, that is such an impactful story, God. And it’s something that Father God, I just pray that the men and the women listening, uh, take something from this and, and maybe hug your babies a little bit tighter tonight.
Uh, be more intentional about telling their spouse I love you. And showing that out and walking that out and not just being, uh, just hears but actually doers of the word. Lord, I just pray you just lay it onto people’s heart that, that, that need to, to fix the relationships that, that are out there, that are broken.
Just I pray that they lean into that cuz we never know. We just never know we’re given today. That’s all we’re given. So I just pray, Lord, that, uh, again, that, that you were honor and glorified in this time. And I pray, Lord, that, that Matthew, uh, was honored as well. And I know many of his friends will listen to this and, and if, and, and I pray this is something they can go back to.
And not, not for, uh, the to, for bad memories, but for good memories of, of the, the man he was God. So just very thankful for, for you, Lord Jesus, for giving us this opportunity just to come and glorify you. Send your name, we pray. Amen. Amen. Thank you brother. Thank you.
When you lose a child it creates a hurt that leads some down dark paths. He shares how through it all he and his wife were able to trust in the sovereignty of God and how it has opened opportunities for them to advance the Kingdom. Stephen clung to two words that gives him strength to this day, “But God”.
Our challenge to you is simple, take the time to hear this testimony, shed the tears the need to be shed, say I love you to the ones that need to hear it and share this with someone who is hurting.
We thank Stephen for unpacking such a tragic area of his testimony and it is hope that we honored his son Matthew, their family and most importantly God in this. His desire is that their journey will point one more person to the saving grace that comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Is that you?
Stephen showed first-hand what it means for a man of God to unleash the Lion Within.
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