Doctors Tell Randy Travis’ Wife to Pull Plug after Stroke. Instead, She Fights Harder
Country music legend Randy Travis has celebrated life’s highest mountaintops and endured the pits of despair. Now, the seven-time Grammy Award winner is climbing out of the pit and finding his song again.
It was 2013 when severe cardiomyopathy left Randy in a coma, fighting for his life. He suffered a stroke so extreme, doctors predicted the famed singer wouldn’t make it.
Travis’ wife, Mary Davis Travis, had to decide whether or not to pull the plug. She was determined not to let Randy go without a fight, slim as his chances were.
“At this point, the one to two percent chance is 100 percent chance over zero,” Mary told USA Today in Feb. “I prayed hard, ‘God, please let me have him back, any way, shape or form.’”
Randy managed to pull through, and he and his wife dove headfirst into hour upon grueling hour of slow, frustrating rehab. It has now been four years, and Randy is finally returning to the public eye, admittedly a changed man.
While the stroke took away Randy’s ability to hold a conversation, the memory of music remains seemingly hardwired into his brain. Longtime friend and musician Dave Alexander started holding music therapy sessions in Randy’s living room, wondering if his friend would register those nostalgic tunes.
“I’ll be honest with ya, I didn’t know if he was gettin’ it,” Alexander told WFAA-TV, recalling those first few sessions with Randy. “And I couldn’t get any response to know if he was gettin’ it.”
But then, Randy did begin to react, displaying the ever-critical ear of a musician, completely dialed in and pointing out Alexander’s musical mistakes. Laughing, Alexander realized that yes, his friend definitely was getting it.
“He’s using his mind to connect pitch, rhythm, and the emphasis of the songs,” said Alexander. It wasn’t long before Randy was chiming in at the end of a tune with his all-familiar, rich-toned “Amen.”
Hearing that single word from Randy’s 2000 hit single “Forever And Ever, Amen,” perfectly describes the Randy’s family’s new life. “We’ve used that word a lot in these four and a half years,” Mary expressed.
While Randy is rediscovering his voice, his wife knows her husband is still frustrated. But she continues to encourage him, knowing he — and his longtime slew of fans — will benefit.
“There is a perfectionist in him that knows he’s not singing exactly like he used to that keeps him from enjoying it like I wish he would,” Mary explained. “I know the world, when they hear him, they can tell it’s Randy Travis, and the more he does it, the better it’s going to get.”
Alexander and Randy have big plans together, mainly focused on raising money for the Randy Travis Foundation. In addition to providing support for victims of strokes and cardiovascular diseases, the foundation aims at providing arts and music education to at-risk children.
On Nov. 18, the duo will perform the “Celebrating Randy Travis” concert in Gainesville, Texas. Randy, who has made several other public appearances this year, will be on stage backing up Alexander, flashing that all-too-familiar smile.
“I think it was one of the Oak Ridge Boys who said God’s not ready for you and the devil don’t want you,” Mary told Fox 4 News. “Fortunate to still be here and still fighting — hope we can give other people hope.”
The couple plans to “remain hopeful” and accept whatever God sends them in the coming years. Mary believes her husband still has more to give.
“We can still serve a purpose,” she declared. “We just sing a new and different song now.”