Marvin - Knocked Down but Not Out, Part II

If you haven't read Marvin, Part I from last week. Read it first as today I'm continuing the amazing, unbelievable story about his life outside the Amish.

A year after his near-death auto accident, Marvin returned to independent life, regained his strength, and found work building and delivering those cute, little outdoor sheds for yard equipment.

Then the second of life's hard knocks took him down.
Working on a large, industrial truck tire . . . the unthinkable happened. The tire exploded. In Marvin's face! The force blew him backward, scattered his teeth, mangled his jaw, and immediately disfigured his face. His blood-soaked body lie on the floor, semi-conscious, with arms flailing wildly.

He weakly coughed. Gagged. And spit up teeth. [Tweet That!]

All work ceased. A solemn silence settled as his co-workers looked down on the gruesome horror. Was Marvin going to live?

Rushed to the hospital, Marvin awoke to excruciating pain and disorientation. [Tweet That!]

A trach tube, IVs, and other medical interventions kept him alive. Hospital staff pondered the multiple - extensive - surgeries to his face, jaw, and mouth. More months in recovery and rehab. More scars.

Surgically placed metal plates held his jaw together . . . but ended his dream of joining the Air Guard.

Later surgeries involved cutting inside his mouth and stitching it up with grafts for dental implants.

I phoned, texted, and sent cards. And prayed! On my first call, I wondered, who is this? The voice was strange. Strained. Slurred. A weak Marvin struggled with his words amid sutures and bandages and wires. We kept all calls brief!

"Thanks for calling," he struggled.

My heart hurt for him. I used texts as I knew his pain in trying to talk. In one message, Marvin promised to come see me. "But," he explained, "I want to wait til I have my teeth."

Of course I didn't care about his appearance. "I just want to hug you," I assured. But, he was understandably inhibited about his looks.

Oodles of well-wishers visited Marvin. Co-workers. His boss. Friends. Former-Amish. Most, he later admitted, he couldn't remember. I knew "my boy" was lavished with attention, and didn't feel the urgency or necessity to stay with him.

Two weeks later, the surgeon released Marvin . . . with instructions, pain killers, therapy, and more scheduled surgeries. The traumatic head wound left him a bit confused and with spotty amnesia.

Following four weeks of bandages and home care, his friends began driving Marvin to his job. He craved part-time work but, had to pace himself and build energy. "I'm so bored," he occasionally shared. He anxiously awaited the surgeon's release to drive. He wanted independence.

"I'll come get you and you can spend the weekend with us," I offered. We made plans to be together. I was excited. About the time I was leaving our home, Marvin texted a change in his schedule. I wasn't surprised but deeply disappointed.

As he struggled to rebound from months of physical and emotional torture, some remarkable events happened! A girlfriend. An English family to "adopt" him. And a release to drive.

Then he earned his General Industrial Certificate and a motorcycle license. Bought a new car. Began looking forward to his future in a new church, with his English family, and close friends. Marvin told me he made a choice to withdraw from damaging, controlling relationships and build new, healthier ones.

Next he posted something on Facebook. A broad grin! He'd received his upper dentures. He no longer felt shy or self-conscious about a toothless grin.

His life was calming down. Back to normal. A new normal.

Then life's third hard knock took him down . . .

At work, Marvin was using a hand-held electric skill saw. Sitting high on a ladder, he was cutting a vent hole in a wall. To complete the hole, he held open the saw's metal safety shield. The electric cord fell out of the wall plug cutting off the power. While putting down the saw, its still-spinning blade sliced four inches down his thigh. Deep - near the bone! He looked at the gaping wound already spewing blood...

Back to the hospital's Emergency Room!

"No ligaments or arteries are severed," they said and quickly cleaned and sutured his wound closed. Although he was still awaiting his lower teeth implants from the previous accident, Marvin remained good-natured. In light of the other accidents, he was almost nonchalant about this event. He told me that this accident seemed nearly painless in comparison.

He lost the day of work but, no complications. No physical therapy. If it were me, I'd be emotionally weary from wounds, pain, dependence on others, and a chaotic life. I wouldn't want another doctor to poke me.

Last month, I opened our front door and welcomed Marvin with an immediate hug. I snapped a picture. He grinned. We chatted. My husband hugged Marvin and served BBQ. We ate - Marvin still awaiting lower dentures - relaxed, and laughed through a movie.

"Want to see my scar?" He hiked up his pant leg and proudly showed me his new - still pink - wound. And he grinned again. Such a boy!

Two weeks later, Marvin got his lower dentures. "Now I can eat better," he told me. "Maybe I'll put on some of the weight I lost from the last accident."

I hope Marvin is finished with accidents! This "mom" can't take much more drama and trauma. Life has knocked down this young man - emotionally and physically - but each time he got up. Smiling. Grateful. Polite.

I'm awed at his resilience and positive attitude. Honestly, I don't know if I'd be as emotionally strong three times within three years.

Marvin may have other "English parents" now but, I still consider him a part of our extended family. Happy 21st birthday "son." 

What do you think of this young man and his story?

Hey, live in NE Ohio? You're invited to come hear intimate details, more unbelievable stories, see my Power Power presentation & our son-in-law's childhood Amish clothes, Sunday, November 2 at Reed Public Library in Ravenna, Ohio.

(C)Copyright, 2014. Brenda Nixon.


  1. what a moving story! Marvin maybe just had a bad spell with accidents, hopefully now life is on the tight positive track for him. what a courageous young man! Best of life and happiness Marvin! thanks for sharing this amazing story Brenda, always look forward to reading your blog! God Bless Diane H

    1. Thank you Diane - appreciate the encouragement & interest! I, too, hope it was just a bad spell. He matured & learned through these disappointments without being "hardened" by them.

  2. Marvin had better get an office job before any more accidents can happen! Also, the idea of him riding a motorcycle sounds risky, considering his luck.

    Your story left me confused about one thing. Out of nowhere, you mentioned a girlfriend and English family, with no elaboration. I thought you were his English family.

    1. Good catch Erik. Yes, he has a girlfriend but I didn't take liberty to say much about her in a public forum - that's Marvin's privilege :-) And, when we first met, Marvin did say, "You're like a mom to the ex-Amish" - which I am to two other "sons" - but he later grew close to another family and they "adopted" him. That's why I closed with a statement about him having English parents but I still consider him a part of our extended family.

  3. The good Lord is certainly looking after that young man! A question: how does someone who goes from Amish group to English get ID & soc sec card for employment?

    1. Agreed. About the ID and SS# - it's usually a slow, laborious process. In fact, I posted about helping 17 y/o Monroe get his SS#. Look up that post and you'll see how frustrating it is for some Amish to get our English documents when he has nothing - no birth certificate, photo ID, etc.