Stories of Grace
The Wounded Sparrow
Cymonne Pyles was a vibrant, and active, child who loved gymnastics, cheerleading and singing. Midway through her eighth year of life the headaches began. As they became a more regular occurrence her doctor thought they might be of the migraine variety or perhaps caused by stress. Her parents, Jeff and Debbie, wondered how stress could be a problem with a child who had invited Jesus into her heart as Lord and Savior at the age of seven and seemingly enjoyed life so completely.
The headaches got worse and one evening her father had to take her to the hospital emergency room. That night she and her family began a journey that would lead them to Children’s Hospital in Detroit, Michigan and eventually to St. Judes Hospital in Memphis Tennessee. The headaches were caused by a brain tumor with the medical name Glioblastoma Multiforme. It was a malady that children rarely survived.
Her first brain surgery procedure lasted for more that thirteen hours and the doctors said she probably should not have survived that experience. This was followed by numerous other surgeries, aggressive chemo and radiation therapies and massive doses of steroids. Through it all she had an “I’m all right” signal with her dad. He would hold her hand when she came through a procedure and as soon as she was able, she would give it a squeeze. That always let him know that she was ok.
Although her life became filled endless medical issues, Cymonne never lost her love of singing. In fact, on her way to surgery, with her shaved and marked circles on her scalp, she would sing her favorite song for her doctors and nurses. The favorite song was “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” and the words below will show you how appropriately they applied to her.
Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.
She knew that she was a wounded sparrow that God had His eye on and she trusted Him with her whole being. She had told one of her favorite nurses one time that she wasn’t afraid to die because she had Jesus in her heart, but she didn’t want her parents to think that she had given up on the fight she had waged so valiantly. Later on Debbie and Jeff would remember that conversation the nurse had related to them.
In March of 1998, shortly after her 10th birthday, she began a recovery that caused some to think that her condition might not be terminal, but by late April she was off to the emergency room with labored breathing. In triage her breathing returned to normal and her eyes opened with a look of astonishment, as if she was looking out into deep spaced and she said “Mom.” She then collapsed and stopped breathing. Medical personnel revived her and placed her on a ventilator in Intensive Care. She had to be heavily sedated to keep her from fighting against the intrusive machinery that was helping her breath. This left her in an effectively paralyzed condition.
The doctors told her parents that although she couldn’t move, she could still hear them. Their hearts told them that it was time for them to let her go. That was when her parents tearfully told her how proud they were of her and the way she had fought this enemy that had attached her body. They told her that if it was time for her to go, it was ok. At that moment a little hand squeezed her father’s hand for the last time, as she signaled to him, “I’m ok.” Within one minute of that squeeze, on April 28, 1998, a little wounded sparrow flew like an eagle, higher than ever before, all the way to Jesus. You see, He truly did have His eye on her all the time. If you know Him, He has His eye on you too. Isn’t God’s grace a wonderful thing?!
Roger Allen Cook
I love to write stories about God’s grace. If you have a story I should consider, please contact me at: Roger.Cook@SouthsideFamily.com.