On Saturday morning, May 1, 2004, Barry Blaze was riding his motorcycle home from a family gathering. His wife Cynthia was in the van ahead of him. A storm was approaching and Barry hoped he could beat it home. A bridge lay straight ahead.
Cynthia sets the scene. “It just had started to sprinkle a little bit, and we were just kinda driving around home and right before we get onto this bridge it had started to really, really rain really hard and we were like, ‘This isn’t good you know. Barry shouldn’t be driving in this.’ But at that point we were already onto the bridge. It’s just a two lane road. There’s no real spot to stop and so my dad had pulled off after the bridge, and we were kinda praying that Barry didn’t get on the bridge.
Cynthia and her parents were praying and looked back to see if he made it across the bridge. “We turned back around the bridge and we went back and that’s when we saw a whole bunch of cars stopped. And we knew…”
The force of the wind and rain and the water on the road had sent Barry head first into the concrete barrier. “It was very bad,” Cynthia says. “His helmet was cracked in the front and all the way. The stuffing was coming out of it and his ears were bleeding.”
Paramedics rushed Barry to the closest trauma hospital where doctors gave him no chance of survival. Dr. James Green, a Neruo-otologist, tended to Barry. “He was really affected by severe head trauma. He had two detached retinas which meant that the nerves of his eyes had actually pulled away from the globe which takes a severe injury and in addition he had injuries to both ears which is an unusual situation and he was suffering from hearing loss and was not expected to survive.”
Barry remained in a coma as doctors did a CAT scan to check for skull fractures. They found none, but Barry was still unconscious.
Cynthia turned to prayer. “I was waiting in the waiting room and I called my sister-in-law and she just prayed with me. It was the best thing. What I needed at that moment.”
Barry made it through the night, much to the doctor’s amazement, but woke up the next day, and realized he was blind, and partially deaf.
Cynthia: You know it was difficult at times but I always knew, but he’s here. And I was just glad to have him for another day.
As Barry became more alert, he spent a lot of time praying. “I had this incredible sensation of the Holy Spirit coming over me and telling me everything was gonna be ok. And that God was with me and that He was now writing a new chapter in my life.”
Cynthia: “I knew that his senses would be different and I would be needing to take care of him for awhile. But God had given me a peace that it was gonna be ok.”
When Barry was discharged from the hospital he had to learn how to walk and balance himself again. Specialists performed multiple surgeries to repair his retinas and his inner ears. “I was looking in – trying to look in the mirror and I couldn’t see myself and I remember being so frightened and feeling vulnerable that I began shaking. In an instant my whole life had been almost taken away from me. And I had the most amount of fear and insecurity that was imaginable.”
Barry wondered about his career as a worship leader and a musician, and how he would support his family. “I just cried out to God and I said you know, ‘God if you will give me enough hearing back so that I can just hear pitch; if I can just hear that and sing to You again that would allow my heart to rejoice so much and that’s all I want.’ So God started to restore that from that day forward.”
Barry’s recovery was long and challenging. Cynthia remembers crossing the first big milestone.
“I remember the first day that he heard the coffee pot. It was just like some small little thing. But that meant a lot.”
Eventually, Barry was able to see clearly and can actually hear well enough with a hearing aid to return to the music career he loves. Dr. Green, his primary physician will tell you Barry Blaze is a walking miracle. “It really is miraculous the way he’s recovered from the severe head trauma. In my mind, God is the one that gets the credit for what happened.”
With limited hearing, Barry penned a new collection of songs for His Code of Ethics band. “The most significant moment for me in this whole healing process was the ability again to start recording. So as God gave those things back to me, it was just huge for me.
Through the whole ordeal, Barry has come to realize that no matter how difficult the struggle he faces, God is always there to strengthen him. “What all of this has taught me definitely faith and trust in knowing that God is there. And He’s with me and he’s gonna take my hand through the hardest times. And though I’m gonna have a lot of fear sometimes, I will know He is with me. And I’m held tight in His victorious right hand.”