Music can do some wonderful things for our lives. It can serve as a healing salve when we’re going through tough times. It can help bolster our spirits and keep us moving forward with a positive mindset. Dancing to fun tunes allows us to rid ourselves of the stresses of the day.
Multi-Grammy winner and country icon Randy Travis has experienced both the highs and lows of life. In 2013, severe cardiomyopathy put him in a coma. A massive stroke put his chances of survival near zero.
Randy’s wife, Mary Davis Travis, was faced with the agonizing decision to pull the plug or let Randy fight. Despite the grave outlook, Mary chose to let her husband keep pressing forward.
“At this point, the one to two percent chance is 100 percent chance over zero,” Mary told USA Today in February. “I prayed hard, ‘God, please let me have him back, any way, shape or form.’”
Miraculously, Randy managed to pull through. These past four years have seen the music icon endure hour after hour of grueling and frustrating rehab, but the hard work has paid off. Randy finally returned to the public eye this year.
While the stroke took away the singer’s ability to hold a conversation, music is hardwired into his brain.
Close friend and fellow musician Dave Alexander started holding music therapy sessions in Randy’s living room. He thought that perhaps his good friend would register the memories of old familiar tunes.
“I’ll be honest with ya, I didn’t know if he was gettin’ it,” Dave said, recalling those first few sessions with Randy. “And I couldn’t get any response to know if he was gettin’ it.”
But then, Randy began showing the critical ear of a musician, pointing out his friend’s mistakes.
“He’s using his mind to connect pitch, rhythm, and the emphasis of the songs,” Dave said.
It wasn’t long before Randy was chiming in at the end of a tune with his familiar “Amen.”
Mary said Randy is frustrated by his limitations, but she encourages him to keep working at it because she knows his legions of fans around the world will benefit from his persistence.
“There is a perfectionist in him that knows he’s not singing exactly like he used to that keeps him from enjoying it like I wish he would,” Mary explained. “I know the world when they hear him, they can tell it’s Randy Travis, and the more he does it, the better it’s going to get.”
Randy and Dave are working together to raise money for the Randy Travis Foundation which provides support to stroke victims and those with cardiovascular diseases as well as art and music education for at-risk children.
And that’s not all. Randy and Dave performed together at the “Celebrating Randy Travis” concert in Gainesville, Texas, on November 18. Randy sang backup for his pal.
Mary knows her husband has more to give. The couple has decided to accept whatever God has planned for them.
“I think it was one of the Oak Ridge Boys who said God’s not ready for you and the devil don’t want you,” Mary said. “Fortunate to still be here and still fighting — hope we can give other people hope.
“We can still serve a purpose,” she declared. “We just sing a new and different song now.”
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