Bride Loses Her Groom and Her Leg, But Found Peace and Courage in God

( [email protected] ) Dec 05, 2013 12:30 AM EST

Tasha Bradford kept her faith in the midst of tragic loss, including her newlywed husband Sylvester "Buck" Storey in a car accident; her injuries resulted in the removal of her right leg and the right side of her colon.

From her bed at Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital, where she spent most of November, Bradford gave an account of her experience in an interview with CNN. It began from Storey's two-years of relentless pursuit to get her to go on a date with him until the devastating crash, a day after their one week honeymoon as they headed back home.

Newlyweds Tragedy Tasha Bradford and Her Husband
Newlyweds Tasha Bradford and Sylvestor (Photo : GoFundMe/Newlywed Tragedy)

The Christian couple, who bonded over their mutual love of "Star Trek" movies, fried bologna sandwiches and God, had just got married on October 19 at High Praise Worship Center in Panama City, Florida. At their wedding reception, the newlyweds danced to "God Gave Me You" by Dave Barnes.

For their honeymoon, they drove to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Bradford said the time that she had together was the happiest of her life and she was anticipating for their new life together. 

On Sunday, October 27, the couple woke up before the sun rose to get a head start on the drive home so they would be back in Panama City for the evening church service.

Her husband encouraged her to sleep and so she lay down in the backseat as they continued southbound on the Interstate 85.

That was when tragedy struck.

She woke up to the SUV rolling down the median on I-85 near Lagrange, Georgia, between Atlanta and Columbus.

Tasha Bradford Newlyweds Suffer Tragedy
Their totaled car. (Photo : GoFundMe/Newlywed Tragedy)

She recalled looking down and seeing that her right leg was mangled, and then crying out for anyone she knew. By-passers came to her aid, but it wouldn't be until after she was airlifted to Grady hospital will she learn that Storey had died at the scene.

Three good Samaritans came to her aid. A lawyer who served in the Marines saw her lying on the ceiling and he cut her seat belt and pulled her out. Then, another woman, who was on her way to Atlanta for ministry school sang and prayed aloud to God to protect the 31-year-old Bradford. A second woman found Storey's cellphone and started calling everyone she could until she reached a member of their church.

Bradford called them her angels. "When they pulled me out of that car, I didn't know where they came from. All I knew was peace and comfort," she said. "It feels like God put them there."

When she arrived at Grady, the medical team were not clear if she was going to make it, surgeon Bryan Morse recalled.

An ultrasound showed she was bleeding internally from her belly, and the Morse's team worked to stop the bleeding. Because the blood supply to her colon had been cut, the right side of her colon was dead and was removed.

At the same time, a second surgical team was working on her mangled right leg, which was fractured in multiple places, and she had torn the main arteries, veins and nerves. Because her leg was damaged so badly, it couldn't be saved. She was moved to the intensive care unit and received a massive blood transfusion.

Two days later, they removed her leg.

While one would understand it if Bradford wakes up from her surgery with anger and frustrations and despair, she was said to be an inspiration and a miracle to everybody by Morse. "To see her recover from this and still maintain such a positive attitude has been refreshing."

Bradford's recovery wasn't easy. She struggled with bouts of nausea and vomiting during her stomach's healing process.

According to her mom's daily updates on Facebook, Bradford displayed "such strength when they're taking out her stitches and pulling out gauze in her open wound and poking her with needles to get blood and shots everyday this goes on. I'll see tears running down her little face, and I hate to see her go through this, but so thankful she is with us still."

Towards the end of November, Bradford was discharged from Grady to a hospital closer to her Florida home. Morse said she'll learn to use prosthesis and "move on with her life," according to CNN.

In time, he expects her to make "a pretty full recovery," the CNN reports.

So what gave her the strength to endure through the tragic losses and maintain such positive attitude?

As she lay in the emergency room of Grady hospital, the nurse who had held her hand in the helicopter airlift told her Storey didn't make it.

"I said 'Lord, Peace be still with him, and he's in a better place.' And I cried a little," Bradford said. "I knew God had his side because he was such a good, Christian man. I had no doubt where he was going to go."

While she was in the intensive care unit, she had a dream where her husband appeared at the spot where the accident happened.

"He said, 'I can't stay, but I just want to tell you goodbye, and I love you,'" she said. "God has a greater plan than I'll ever know. I know with time and healing, he'll send someone my way who will love me for me."

Tasha Bradford
Tasha Bradford and her late husband Sylvester (Photo : GoFundMe/Newlywed Tragedy)

Now, Bradford will be transferred to a rehabilitation hospital to learn how to do basic things like put on clothes, bathe and balance. Before her leg has healed enough for a prosthesis, she will get around with a walker and wheelchair.

On a table in her hospital room sits a book of painted, handprint flowers from the toddlers in her church's day-care program where she and Storey taught twice a month

"I think about having children ... it hurts. All these other people are having kids," Bradford said. "But God has a plan. I think of all the beautiful children in church I got to teach. That fills a void. It makes me want to strive even harder, to work my legs to where I can sit on the floor and play with them."

At the rehabilitation hospital, she told WMBB, local ABC News affiliate, with a smile, "I thank God everyday that even though something so dear was taken, I gained something, you know, with that strength and courage.

"I've had days, just a couple of days ago, where I just cried, and I was like I can't feel sorry for myself because there are worse off people in the world, and there are worse off things going on, and I say I'm not handicapped," said Bradford. "I said I want to be positive and stay upbeat."

She added she cannot wait to attend her church, go shopping at Old Navy for some new clothes, and learn to walk with a custom fit prosthesis in a couple of months, the WMBB reported.

A church friend has set up a crowd-funding campaign on GoFundMe to help the family with their financial burden.

According to the campaign description, Bradford has inadequate health insurance, which won't be enough to cover all the bills for medical, rehab and therapy. Storey had been a commercial fisherman for years and had recently switched jobs to be home more with Bradford. He had no benefits or life insurance. Bradford's mother has also had to take an extended leave of absence from her job. She and Tasha's grandmother haven been staying in a hotel near the hospital.

So far, about $30,000 has been raised. Donations can be made at the campaign website: Newlywed Tragedy.

Tags : Newlywed Tragedy, faith, hope, Suffering, Loss, Pain, Courage