Wednesday, June 20, 2007
LESS THAN PERFECT
Actress/comedienne Sherri Shepherd recently found herself guest-hosting “The View” on the day of the Rosie O’Donnell-Elisabeth Hasselbeck steel cage match. Uncomfortable as that incident was, it can’t compare to some of the other hardships she’s faced.
While Sherri has brought plenty of laughs to audiences via her performances as Robert’s patrol-car partner Judy on the television series “Everybody Loves Raymond” or as the tart-tongued Ramona on the sitcom “Less Than Perfect,” she recently endured an experience that led her to believe she would never be able to laugh again.
The Chicago native’s son Jeffrey was born to her and husband Jeff on Sherri’s birthday. That sounds like an ideal gift for a couple that had been struggling to have a child for some time. However, Sherri was only 25 weeks into her pregnancy. Jeffrey weighed 1 pound, 10 ounces at birth. Resulting problems included bleeding on both sides of his brain, a hole in his intestines, and a body that was turning septic. Doctors advised Sherri and Jeff that they might be better off disconnecting the baby from life support because he would likely suffer from severe cerebral palsy or mental retardation. In other words, his quality of life would make death the better option.
Sherri’s Christian faith led her to read Bible verses over her son and pray unceasingly for the wisdom to make the right decision. Taking the doctors’ recommendations to heart, Sherri finally decided that she didn’t want her child to suffer. She decided to remove Jeffrey from life support and allow him to “go home” to God. She also turned to God one more time asking for a miracle.
Right before disconnecting Jeffrey from life support, the doctor came into the room and said they’d run another ultrasound. The hole in Jeffrey’s intestines had completely healed. In an interview on the radio program “Personally Speaking with Monsignor Jim Lisante,” Sherri said she knew at that moment that God was saying, “You don’t get to decide when this child comes home (to me). I make that decision.”
Sherri is happy to report that Jeffrey is now a strong, active and healthy boy. None of the doctors’ dire predictions came to pass. The experience led to some major spiritual growth. She says, “(My) relationship with God has gone to such a different level of absolute faith in the unseen. The circumstances can dictate one thing but I’ve got to look to God for everything.”
Sherri’s story would have a happy ending if it finished here. But...
COMING SOON: HOW SHERRI HANDLED THE DISCOVERY THAT HER HUSBAND WAS CHEATING WHILE THEIR BABY WAS IN THE NEONATAL INTENSIVE CARE UNIT.