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Though many may have been looking at the beginning of 2013 as a fresh start, not many were looking forward to it as much as Marlow residents Levi and Sissy Patterson after the loss of two children and a house fire, where Levi was severely burned.
Both Stephens County natives, Levi graduated from Marlow in 2010 and Sissy from Duncan in 2009. To say the young couple, who were married May 2011, had a tough past year would be an understatement and most would not be able to maintain the positive, upbeat attitude the Patterson’s exhibit.
Sissy gave birth to their first child, a little girl they named Daylee, Feb. 15, 2012, after a normal pregnancy and labor besides the c-section needed due to the baby being breech. Three days later, Daylee’s first day at home with her parents, Sissy laid her down for what should have been a normal infant nap.
“I went to lay her down and I noticed her color had faded, so I called 911 and we started CPR on her,” said Sissy. “The paramedics got there and took over and we weren’t allowed to go with her in the ambulance.”
Later that day, the Patterson’s were told the Daylee had not made it. An autopsy showed she had been a perfectly healthy baby and her death was labeled as the result of Sudden Death Infant Syndrome.
“The next few days, my body was just in shock,” Sissy said. “The autopsy dragged funeral plans out and I was scared to view her; it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.”
Despite the pain Daylee’s loss caused the couple, they still desperately wanted a child in their life, so they tried again. Sissy found out she was pregnant in September, but suffered a miscarriage the next month.
“We were still mourning Daylee but we were excited when we found out I was pregnant. It was going to be a fresh start,” she said. “Leaving the hospital two times in one year without a baby is devastating. Losing a child is the worse type of grief.”
The line of unfortunate events for the Patterson’s continued when only two weeks later, the pot of grease where they had been frying french fries caught fire. Levi grabbed it off the stove to take it outside but the fire leaped into his face and then he dumped the grease all over himself and in the living room floor.
“It engulfed the living room in flames, then I fell into it and she (Sissy) pulled me out,” said Levi. “It happened really fast.”
In the one hour they spent in the Duncan Regional Hospital emergency room, Sissy said she kept asking over and over if she was going to lose her husband. After losing two babies, the loss of Levi was her worse fear. She was assured he would live but had to be taken to a burn care center for treatment of 1st to 3rd degree burns.
Levi spent 24 days in the Integris Baptist Burn Center, where he had skin graphs done and still has to go regularly for wound care. With his being the only income, the time out from work, which he can’t return to until completely healed, bills racked up and they are temporarily living with Levi’s family. However, they keep a smile on their face and happiness in their heart while looking forward to having a better year.
“We’re in survival mode,” said Levi. “It could have been worse, I could have died.”
“We have our break downs but we’re looking at the little blessings,” Sissy added. “We have a strong belief in God and that is what brought us through everything.
That, and we have an amazing support system of family friends and church family.”
Already, things are looking up in the new year for the young couple after medical bills from the miscarriage were written off by DRH, Sissy got a job and they’re even planning for another child.
Another blessing is an upcoming benefit concert to help pay the bills for Levi’s care.
While free, offerings are going to be taken at the concert at 6 p.m. Saturday in the Marlow High School auditorium. Featured will be Victory Road, a gospel band founded by Levi and Sissy’s former pastors Rick and Julie Neathery, the Matt Bernard Family Ministry, a multi-talented local band, Trinity, a vocal group with members from Lone Grove and Fox ministries and Levi’s aunt Angela Harrison.
“It feels so good to have that support and I’m hoping this year it’s going to be better,” said Sissy. “I believe it will, I believe God will bless us.”