By Vanesa Brashier, firstname.lastname@example.org
Payge Davie of Dayton is turning 18 on Jan. 18. It’s a milestone she was nearly denied after being struck by a car in November 2012 as she was attempting to catch a school bus.
With her birthday and then impending graduation this May, the Davie family has cause for celebration. Her mother, Nancy, is asking that members of the community help by sending Payge cards and notes of support.
“I want her to feel loved and accepted. I want her to feel special because she is,” said Nancy.
The last six years have been a struggle for Payge, her mom said.
“Her injuries were extensive. She had a massive brain injury and had a major stroke because of a blood clot,” she said. “She died twice on the way to the hospital. The doctors told us she wasn’t going to make it, that she would be a vegetable or wouldn’t walk or talk at best, but she has proven them wrong.”
After the accident, she spent three months in a rehabilitation center, where had to learn to eat, walk and talk again. Mobility on her left side is still pretty limited, which requires her to wear a brace and use a walker for her own safety when she is at school.
“She no longer takes meds or has seizures,” her mom said of her progress. “Her memory is still pretty bad. She knows who we are, of course, but she can’t remember any of her childhood. She can go to school and come home, and not remember what happened during the day.”
Music, which is preserved in a separate part of the brain from language, is one area she hasn’t lost, Nancy said.
“Anything related to movies and music, she can remember. So if we sing something to her, she will usually remember it,” she said. “The brain processes music differently, so we’ve had to learn tricks to work around it.”
Her plans after high school are still uncertain, but her mom expects her next endeavor will be related to art.
“If you ask her, she is going to be president and own her own art studio. I don’t think she will be able to work independently because she is a fall risk and there aren’t many programs around here for people with disabilities,” Nancy said. “It’s hard getting her to understand there are some things she just can’t do, like driving.”
Despite her experiences, Payge is the happiest person in the Davie family, Nancy said.
“She was very quiet and shy before her accident. Now she is wild and happy, and loves everyone. She is probably the most well-adjusted person in the household,” her mom said with a laugh. “We still grieve for the old Payge, the one before the accident, but I still have this Payge, and she’s wonderful. You just move on.”
Her peace and joy might be the result of having had a glimpse of heaven during the aftermath of the accident, her mother surmises.
“She said when she died, she went to Heaven and God told it wasn’t her time yet. She says it is really pretty and smells like citrus. There were animals and she saw family members who had passed away,” Nancy said. “God told her to come back and share her message with others.”
And that is what Nancy and Payge have done together. They collaborated on a book titled “Visions of Heaven,” which is available on Amazon.com.
“We did it as a journal of all the things she was going through,” Nancy said.
Cards in the card campaign for Payge have already started flowing in. She has received well-wishes from as far away as New Orleans. Most letters, however, are from residents of Dayton and Liberty.
When asked if she has a birthday wish, Payge said she only wants to be healthy and live to see another day.
“That’s my wish every day. This accident has only made me stronger,” she said. “I am taking things by storm. God heals and I am the testimony.”
Anyone wishing to send Payge a card can mail it to: Payge Davie, 37 CR 6052, Dayton, Texas 77535.
Editor’s note: If anyone wants to make Payge’s birthday extra-special, here are some things to know about her. Her favorite color is baby blue. She loves Hershey’s chocolate. Her favorite restaurant is McDonald’s and she enjoys watching movies with her family at Showbiz Cinema in Baytown.