Cordelia and Kevin’s Happy Ending: Living Their Vows Together
Cordelia Maxine was a young, in-love fiancé when she found herself in the heart of a burn injury - her partner Kevin suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 50% of his body. Any couple going through a burn injury will have many changes and challenges for a relationship to overcome. For Cordelia, she found that positivity, peer support, and love could get her relationship through good and bad.
Kevin was injured burning brush in 2017. When Kevin call Cordelia, he started begging for her to stay with him even after she saw his new appearance – but there was no doubt in Cordelia’s mind that she would ever leave. After being rushed to the hospital, Kevin’s doctor believed he had “a really good chance,” - words that Cordelia will never forget.
Photo courtesy Rich Schaub.
In the Hospital
During his hospital stay, Cordelia’s family and close friends helped run her young and flourishing business.
As a partner to a new burn survivor, Cordelia found that work and her mother (also her business partner) served as therapeutic outlets. Cordelia stresses the importance of taking care of herself and continuing to do the things that were important to her despite wanting to spend every second in the hospital with her fiancé.
“My mother constantly reminded me to be a pillar of strength, a beacon of light, but also let me vent about everything,” Cordelia said. “You need an outlet if you want to make it out sane.”
Cordelia also tried to stay positive throughout Kevin's hospital stay, a crucial coping mechanism she still lives by today. Refraining herself from thinking negatively, in her opinion, helped her to stay strong and remain hopeful for Kevin. While acknowledging that family members are undoubtedly impacted by the trauma surrounding a burn injury, Cordelia's advice for family members is to find ways to keep that hope alive.
“If you are spiritual, ground yourself in your faith and know you have a support system behind you every step of the way,” Cordelia said. “If you're not spiritual, the power of positivity is crucial to keeping your hopes up."
Cordelia describes awareness of how her own positivity could impact kevin during his healing. She urges loved ones to access resources to support their own healing-as doing so will benefit both themselves and their burn-injured loved ones.
After the Hospital
After enduring 12 surgeries, 90 days in the ICU, and time in inpatient rehabilitation, Kevin was able to return home. As a newly engaged couple, Kevin and Cordelia found themselves facing battles that many married couples never experience. After Kevin’s hospital stay, they had new challenges at home. When he first left the hospital, Kevin couldn’t stand, feed, or bathe on his own – with hard work and dedication, he is now back to his daily routine!
While Kevin’s physical healing was improving, the couple’s emotional and social healing was more difficult. Cordelia found hope after meeting with a Phoenix Society Peer Supporter and burn survivor. They discussed emotional healing, and she helped explain that Kevin and Cordelia have different journeys to navigate.
At Kevin and Cordelia’s wedding, a guest exclaimed that they had already lived their vows – in sickness and in health, in good times and bad, the couple knows they can make it through anything that life throws their way.
"Believe that there's light at the end of the tunnel. Believe that you might be that light for someone else." – Kobi Yamada
This quote holds a special meaning for Cordelia. After seeing the trauma a burn survivor and loved one endure, she acknowledges the importance of being there for one another.
For more resources, please visit Phoenix Society’s Resource Library.