• Dedan K. Bruner

A Tribute to Marion Fowler


May 1, 2018, I nervously walked into my Mother’s hospital room and saw her. She had been viciously attacked by two Pit Bulls the night before and throughout the night, Chicago doctors worked valiantly to save her life.

My Mom is a single Mom and called me her shadow as a child. She loved, nurtured, supported me. She sacrificed for me to be able to have a life that she did not when she was raised. She was raised without a mother and it left a void in her. She never wanted me to experience that kind of pain, so she was always there. Almost losing her was something that I could not comprehend.


I spoke with the doctors while she was still unconscious and was told that we had a long road ahead of us and a full recovery was not likely. They did not know Marion Fowler.


Mom loves to walk, my whole life, she walked everywhere. If we drove to the grocery store she would say, “I will walk back home”. It drove me crazy. Doctors were speaking about possible amputation. I was worried to see how she would handle the news. She simply said, “ God is good." From her childhood, her love of Jesus has shone in her spirit and beautiful smile. Now, the two things that she loved so much would be what would save her life.


What started out as a visit to Chicago when she was attacked, ended in a four month stay in various Chicago hospitals. She literally had to relearn how to do EVERYTHING. We switched roles. She could not feed herself, brush her hair or teeth, use the restroom by herself. I became her caretaker and advocate. Every time the doctors had to take her back into surgery the prognosis would be dim. She came out of very surgery with results that could only be described as miraculous.


I am a grown woman. I went to college at 18 and never moved back home. I have lived thousands of miles away from my Mother for years, including, spending 3 in China. Now, we were together 24/7. As she grew stronger, we were able to celebrate milestones. I fought to get her the care that she needed and she fought to show the doctors that she deserved the level of care that we were demanding. When she was transferred to the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab she had a room that had a room length window with a view of Lake Michigan. She cried -she had not been or seen outside since she was admitted to the hospital 2 months before. She continued to thrive.


We continued to bond. Her attack was a blessing in disguise because we are closer than ever. Going outside for tacos and ice cream a month later at her 3rd facility was so special to us. We were able to go outside in her wheelchair and later walk together outside. I was so proud every time the therapists and doctors praised her. We took the train home to Tennessee, on July 30th. The entire trip I held my breath until the train whistle blew. I finally exhaled knowing that we had made it. She survived. She told the doctors and anyone who would listen that she walked into Chicago on her own 2 feet and would leave the same way. She did.


I moved to Tennessee. I could not be a plane away from her any longer. Today, I struggle to keep up with her. Her 1 year Anniversary of surviving her attack she joined my job on our Volunteer Day to help paint a Senior Citizen home. It is hard to believe what she went through looking at her today. She is the strongest most beautiful person in the world to me. I am blessed that God chose us for each other. She has been cleared to drive by the doctors. I am looking forward to helping her relearn to drive just like she taught me.

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