It was around 4 a.m. when Darryl Perry died.
The former football player at the University of Florida and now a financial adviser, Darryl Perry, had an experience like no other. One still hard for him to wrap his mind around.
After a normal day, Darryl and his wife, Nicky, settled in for the night at around 12 p.m. Darryl is a spiritual man, so after 16 hour work days, he still finds the time for his devotions. He also coaches his 8-year-old son's baseball team, along with being a dad to two other children and a loyal husband.
Darryl gets up at 4 a.m. every morning to read the Bible and pray for his family. Even though the 40-year-old's unexpected cardiac death was a surprise to his family and friends, Darryl knew it was coming.
Six Months Ago
Alone in a room and during Darryl's 4 a.m. prayer time, he felt a touch on his shoulder. Then a voice said, "Son, you're going to have to die on my behalf." His presence was undeniable. He knew it was God speaking to him.
Understandably spooked, Darryl asked, "Who's there? Is somebody in here?" Even though he knew it was God, he wasn't ready to face death. He had a wife, three kids, and a happy life. He pushed the moment from his mind and went on with his otherwise ordinary day.
One Wednesday morning while Darryl was dropping off his kids at school, he heard God speak again. "Son, it's time." He sat in his car for 30 minutes crying, not wanting to leave his wife and children.
But Darryl made it through the day, that night, and the rest of the week. Until one morning his wife woke up to an unusual noise coming from Darryl. He was gasping for air and foaming at the mouth until he stopped breathing.
"My spirit was in the air looking down on Nicky giving me mouth-to-mouth," Perry tells GuidePost. "I watched the whole thing."
Darryl doesn't recall the journey from his bedroom to Heaven, but the next thing he sees is a large, bright area full of warmth and colors. Then Darryl describes seeing an angel.
"An angel God sent to receive me was named Gabriel," Darryl said. "He was huge."
Darryl is 6'2" at 230 pounds — Gabriel towered over him. He continued to describe him with brown skin, a muscular built, and an impressive wingspan. They never spoke to one another, but Darryl felt peace. Gabriel pointed to his back and Darryl climbed on. As they flew through Heaven, Darryl was able to see his loved ones who had already passed away.
"I saw my uncle, my granddaddy, my wife’s grandmother," Darryl said. "And then I saw God. "God in Heaven is a bright light." He was unable to distinguish any features, but the presence of God was utter peace.
When he was standing in front of God he said, "I made it! I made it in!"
While back at the hospital where Darryl's body laid, he was hooked up to a life support device. The neurologist told his wife that there were no brain activity readings on the EEG machine. The only thing registering were seizures and dying brain cells.
The doctor told Nicky that after four to six minutes of the brain being without oxygen, irreparable brain damage and death can occur. It took the paramedics over seven minutes to get Darryl's heartbeat back.
Nicky was praying for a miracle.
During a meeting with the neurologist, the doctor suggested preparing herself to take Darryl off life support. She couldn't handle that, so she sought out Dr. Ira Goodman for a second opinion.
As Darryl is standing in front of God, he said he felt no fear, only peace. As Darryl was celebrating and worshiping, God spoke to him again.
"My people have forgotten my power. Son, go back," Darryl recalled God saying.
Darryl couldn't bear hearing those words: "Go back." He began refusing, he didn't want to go back. "No!" he said.
Darryl said that God pulled the veil back between Heaven and earth. He saw his family. He said they were frozen in time — smiling like a picture.
Darryl recalls feeling the same peace as he did when he reached Heaven. He accepted God's words, and he went back.
At this time, Darryl had been in a comatose state for 11 days. Dr. Goodman had been examining him for days, giving him commands, but nothing had been registering. His body wasn't moving or making any sounds. The family was losing hope.
One day, Dr. Goodman went into Darryl's room and told him to open his eyes. "Open your eyes," she commanded, hoping for a miracle.
That day, he opened his eyes.
Since it had been so long, Dr. Goodman warned Nicky and their family that even if he did wake up from his comatose state and regain consciousness, he would be critically impaired with likely no memory of his family or himself. The chances of him walking or talking again would be extremely slim.
When Darryl opened his eyes, a nurse named Missy rushed to his bed and ask him, "Can you hear me?" Darryl appeared to have nodded his head.
"I'm Missy. Can you say, Missy?" At the same time, Nicky rushed in from the hallway and stood next to his bed. Missy asked, "Who is that beautiful woman standing on the other side of you?"
Darryl turned and saw his wife and mouthed, "I love you.”
Still today, his doctors don't have any explanation for his recovery. They are now calling him "The Miracle Man." But for Darryl, it's not much of a mystery.
When in Heaven, God's words stuck with him. "My people have forgotten my power." When asked why he thinks God told him to go back, Darryl says, "Just to talk to you is why I'm here."
"The said I would never talk, never know my family," Darryl said 10 years later. "Well, I have proven them all wrong. I’m riding a bicycle. I walk every day and my memory is off the charts."
Today, Darry continues with physical therapy. After his death, he was diagnosed with cerebral hypoxia which is a chronic brain condition caused by the loss of oxygen to his brain. He understands that enduring this miracle doesn't mean complete healing or having difficulty-free days.
"I have accepted the fact that I am always under a spotlight. People are always watching me," he said. "It gets hard sometimes. It’s like I feel like I have to be perfect all the time."
Some days are harder than others. Some days he laughs. Some days he cries. Even though his life will never be what it was, Darryl has no anger against God's decision. He looks forward to seeing God again when He is ready to call him home.
Even though Darryl has a slurred speech, his message is as imperative as ever.
"I’m not a quitter. I will never quit," Darryl says. "As long as God gives me breath, I’m in the game."
What do you think about Darryl's story? Share if you believe in miracles! In other news, a woman's husband died in a car accident. Her son fell into a coma but when he woke up, he said this about his dad!