Never Give Up On the People You Love

(c) –

A lot of years ago, while reading through a day’s FIDO message threads, I found the story shared below. It unfolded in 1992. I read it around that time. The story is over thirty years old. It has aged well.

I had searched for it often in my archives to share with you but only just recently found the original story on the Internet. I finally figured out the right search phrase. You’ll know why I like it as much as I do after you read it. Links to the story are included. Most of the article is included below. I know you will enjoy this.

A TRUE STORY — Author Unknown — courtesy of

Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling. They found out that the new baby was going to be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sang to his sister in Mommy’s tummy. He was building a bond of love with his little sister before he even met her.

The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen, an active member of the Creek United Methodist Church in Morristown, Tennessee. In time, the labor pains came. Soon it was every five minutes, every three, every minute. But serious complications arose during delivery and Karen found herself in hours of labor. Would a C-section be required?

Finally, after a long struggle, Michael’s little sister was born. But she was in very serious condition. With a siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushed the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital, Knoxville, Tennessee.

The days inched by. The little girl got worse. The pediatrician had to tell the parents there was very little hope. Be prepared for the worst. Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about a burial plot. They had fixed up a special room in their house for their new baby they found themselves having to plan for a funeral. Michael, however, kept begging his parents to let him see his sister.

“I want to sing to her,” he kept saying. Week two in intensive care looked as if a funeral would come before the week was over. Michael kept nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care. Karen decided to take Michael whether they liked it or not. If he didn’t see his sister right then, he may never see her alive. She dressed him in an oversized scrub suit and marched him into ICU. He looked like a walking laundry basket. The head nurse recognized him as a child and bellowed, ” Get that kid out of here now. No children are allowed.”

The mother rose up strong in Karen, and the usually mild-mannered lady glared steel-eyed right into the head nurse’s face, her lips a firm line. He is not leaving until he sings to his sister” she stated.

Then Karen towed Michael to his sister’s bedside. He gazed at the tiny infant losing the battle to live. After a moment, he began tossing. In the pure-hearted voice of a 3-year-old, Michael sang: “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray.” Instantly the baby girl seemed to respond. The pulse rate began to calm down and become steady.

“Keep on singing, Michael,” encouraged Karen with tears in her eyes. “You never know, dear, how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away. “As Michael sang to his sister, the baby’s ragged, strained breathing became as smooth as a kitten’s purr. “Keep on singing, sweetheart.”

“The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms”. Her brother’s song seemed to cause his little sister to relax as rest, healing rest, seemed to sweep over her. “Keep singing, Michael.” Tears had now conquered the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glowed.

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don’t take my sunshine away…”

The next, day… the very next day… the little girl was well enough to go home. Woman’s Day Magazine called it The Miracle of a Brother’s Song. The medical staff just called it a miracle. Karen called it a miracle of God’s love.


Everyone needs a story like this sometimes. Told. Retold. I’m sure there are countless stories like this in the world but sometimes things are so dark and bad they can drown out the light and good there also. Not always. Some stories are so uplifting and inspiring that they refuse to be overshadowed. The original story I read concluded with the lesson that:

“To the world, you are only one person. To one person, you might be the whole world.”

Country singer Brad Paisley released a great song in 2005/2006, “The World”, expressing that very thought. I remember wondering, on hearing it the first time, if he had been inspired by this very story. He does live in Tennessee.

I’m sure some will find a political cudgel in this story. Other lessons might come to mind as well…

“Suffer not the little children…”,
“Out of the mouths of babes…”

I believe children are more inclined to things like this. Hope where hope flickers. Belief amid despair. I’m no longer a parent of little ones, mine have all grown up, but I always try to point out that children see what we do. They hear what we say. They learn what we teach, spoken and otherwise. Fertile ground. See what wonderful harvest can come from the seeds we plant. Just as important, perhaps, is that there are also things we can learn from them.

Full disclosure: Some question this story. Love is something to strive for in any case. And who can’t use an uplifting story these days?