He Should be DEAD…Twice!
Jason and Tausha Black*
Jason Black was a lead tenor opera singer on his way to the top. In an instant, a tragic car accident changed his life. He went from performing on the international stage to lying in a medical bed in a stroke-patient home. After fighting his way back to health and the world stage, Jason graduated, married his sweetheart Tausha, and moved to Los Angeles to pursue the dream of their life—only to battle with tragedy again as he was nearly decapitated in a second tragic accident.
Jason – As far as the world was concerned, things were working out well for me. Even before I had graduated, I was already working professionally as an international performer. I had placed in the Metropolitan opera competition, and they paid for me to come to Europe and perform. A lot of people thought that I was prideful, arrogant, and obnoxious. The irony of it: I was even proud of that!
On the night of the accident, it was probably almost two o’clock in the morning. It was so dark—there was no moon, no stars; it was just pitch black. I was coming down Highway 680 when we realized that somebody had left their Dodge Ram parked in the fast lane with no lights on. So, in the darkness, out of nowhere, came this huge truck! I swerved left to try to avoid it, when I saw people standing in the island. I swerved back right, and the truck and the engine came full force into my lap. It literally collapsed my left femur into itself like a telescope. It broke every bone in my left leg; it broke my left arm. It took 20 minutes for the Jaws of Life to cut me out. I miraculously survived death, but with huge brain trauma.
But my story isn’t my own. It’s really about my mom who coached my every breath for hours on end to avoid permanent brain damage. It’s about the girlfriend—now my wife and mother of my six children!—who I didn’t deserve, staying by my bedside night after night with her own broken bones to nurse me back to health. It’s about brave EMTs, long-suffering nurses, sure-handed doctors, generous donors, praying churches, and faithful friends.
Tausha – I loved Jason from the first time we met. I remember about six weeks after we met, I felt like the Lord was telling me this is going to be the man for your life—this is going to be the man you are going to marry. Our dream was to move to Los Angeles and some day have a house with a view and raise a family. We thought LA would be a great place to get started, and it was.
But then our lives came crashing down. We had one more thing to move: a six-foot glass table so heavy that Jason had to have someone help him carry it. It probably weighed about 100 pounds. As soon as they walked out the front door, the helper accidentally dropped his side of the table and it cracked. It cracked up the center and came straight down on Jason’s neck like a guillotine. It nearly cut his head off!
Jason was losing an immense amount of blood. There was so much blood on our floor that there were puddles around him. I said “I love you” as the medics were wheeling him out. I prayed, “God, I don’t care what the outcome is as long as he lives.”
In the hospital I could see my husband in pain, tubes all in him, not breathing on his own. And as a wife and someone who loves your spouse so much—not to be able to do anything—that’s the worst thing! The doctors didn’t think Jason was going to make it. I thought he was going to die. I was met by the doctor and she told me, “You’ve got to be strong, be strong for him, tell him that you love him and anything else you want to tell him.” Jason was awake, and he was able to whisper, “I love you” back to me.
Initially the doctors didn’t think it likely that Jason would live, but they decided to operate anyway. Before surgery, Jason whispered, “Please be careful. I’m an opera singer.” For the doctors, it wasn’t about saving his voice—it was about saving his life! Jason made it through surgery, but the doctors said he would never speak again. You could not hear Jason above a whisper. It seemed his singing career was over. The glass had severed both of his jugular veins, nicked his spine and his vocal cords, and his right arm was paralyzed. The gash extended from close to his earlobe down to his chest.
The average adult holds about 12 pints of blood. Jason had already lost over six. The doctors worried because the neck is an extremely difficult place to work. They clamped all the severed blood vessels, one by one, revealing injuries to his internal jugular veins. Then the surgeon turned his attention to Jason’s voice, saying, “Let’s see if this guy is going to sing again.” A small nerve runs just behind the carotid artery, and it innervates the vocal cords. Everything depended on the critical laryngeal nerve. If it was severed, Jason’s career was over. The surgeon saved Jason’s life, but survival was bittersweet for Jason.
Tausha – Jason faced many months of rehabilitation. Even if he recovered his speaking voice, no one knew if he would ever sing again. Jason spent a lot of time in his room, in his bed—silent. We developed a system of whistling. A whistle up meant yes, a whistle down meant no. To Jason, his voice was his life. Jason felt that if he couldn’t sing, life wasn’t worth living. It’s the core of who he is. The loss of his voice was almost like he had been taken away.
Jason – I woke up from surgery to be told by the best hospital in the world, “We’ve never seen anybody suffer anything to the extent that you have, much less survive. You should be dead!” I was told that I would never speak, sing, or even whisper again. I had been stripped of the only way I had to express myself. So when I was miraculously alive after this horrible incident, it was as if I was dead anyway. I was completely naked. All the skill sets that I had clothed myself in—all the trappings of self-sufficiency, of power, of talent—were stripped. I’m right-handed and God had taken my right arm, and He took my voice. God reminded me rather forcefully that the only two things I counted on the most in my life weren’t mine! They were His.
But in that place of silence—that place of darkness—I found a scripture that spoke to me: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
Tausha – Every day when we woke up, Jason and I would pray and have faith that something was going to change, but we didn’t know what. Fast forward six months and something did change! I remember waking up, and we were lying in bed. All of a sudden I heard, “Hello.” It was almost like a dream!
But financially, our lives were complicated. Jason did not have insurance when this accident happened, so we had racked up a half million or more dollars’ worth of medical bills. We thought we were going to have to file bankruptcy.
Jason – The accident I had had a few years earlier left me with brain trauma for a little while, but also with a stronger faith in God. So I gave everything to God. The Bible says a “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). After both accidents, I had countless prayer chains. Entire churches were behind me praying! Miracles happened because people prayed.
God wiped our medical bills away! The hospital forgave hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the rest was taken care of by churches, charities, and a Jason Black benefit concert. That’s the power my God has! When you’ve got everybody who’s anybody in medicine saying it can’t happen, and yet it still happens—that’s my God!
If I’m still here, it’s for a reason, and it’s a perfect reason—to make a difference and to show who He is. Many people stood with me to believe the impossible as I waited in my prison of silence. It is my honor now to help others—through my message and my music—to find fresh hope and love in Christ.
Jason and Tausha are dedicated to helping other people in the midst of their trials. Through his personal story and powerful music, Jason gives people hope and inspiration. His message: You can be at peace in your pain if you are looking for something greater than yourself. When you acknowledge that God has got you in His hands, He’ll take care of you. Anything you want to overcome, you can overcome through Christ.