‘Daniel’s Journey’ shares Wesley’s inspiring story

Published 11:09 am Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A traumatic, life-threatening injury on the job. A pessimistic prognosis. A long road to recovery. And a future filled with promise.

All of this is part of “Daniel’s Journey: A Whole Lot of Pink-A Testimony of Faith, Hope and Determination,” an inspirational memoir that details  Daniel Wesley’s recovery after suffering a severe head injury at work on January 12, 2016. Author Meredith Locklar-Hatcher will be signing copies of her book at the Fort Dale Academy library Sunday, July 9 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Locklar-Hatcher based the book on the handwritten journal she maintained from the day of Wesley’s accident, detailing the almost overwhelming situation her fiance found himself in.

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“I stayed with him, praying over him, every day. Over the next week he would have two surgeries to remove pieces of his skull so that his brain could swell without creating significant pressure on his brain,” Locklar-Hatcher said.

Things seemed to go from bad to worse.

“Between the two surgeries, he suffered a stroke which affected his vision. We were told that he would be handicapped, possibly permanently blind, and might also experience terrible emotional highs and lows. Every day was a new mystery,” Locklar-Hatcher said.

After several weeks in critical care, Wesley spent over three months in rehab at Shepherd Center in Atlanta,  daily undergoing the often grueling process of a return to normalcy after a traumatic injury.

Faith, hope and determination paid off.

“When he returned to his neurosurgeon, Daniel walked in and showed them how good and powerful God is,” said Locklar-Hatcher.

Throughout the process, Locklar-Hatcher updated her status on Facebook several times each day so that all the supporters they called their prayer warriors knew specifically how to pray on Daniel’s behalf.

“Over time, I had several different people tell me that I should write a book because of the way I communicate. Considering I had kept a handwritten journal since the day of the accident, writing a book was the easy part,” she explained.

There are differences between Locklar-Hatcher’s original journal and the newly published book.

“The book ‘Daniel’s Journey’ is much smaller than my journal and leaves out the many tiny details, only presenting the big picture,” she said.

“The book also takes a different angle than my journal. The book presents God and His power to the reader. Once I decided to actually write the book, it took about four months to have the manuscript ready.”

Writing it was the relatively easy part. Finding a publisher? Not so easy.

“I had three publishers in mind and I researched them all. It was important to me to find a company with a Christian background,” she explained. “I narrowed my choices down to two, then prayed for specific guidance and direction.  Right away I got a response from WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan. After talking to someone there, I had such a peace about using that company. Every person on my team was extremely helpful and encouraging. Within four months of submitting my manuscript, I had the finished product. Not every project happens that quickly, but with prayer and specific directions and goals, mine did.”

And some eighteen months after his accident, Wesley himself is doing wonderfully, says Locklar-Hatcher. “He does almost anything he wants to do and does it with confidence.”

One thing continues to be an issue: his vision. While his left eye has improved tremendously, his right eye has a very small field of vision with no peripheral vision on that side. And curiously, he has lost his sense of smell.

Other than the slight risks that come with the limits to his vision, Locklar-Hatcher says Daniel is doing great, as is their relationship, which she describes as stronger than ever.

“We are both excited to see how God uses this book and how He lets us be a part of the lives of those who read it,” she said.

“Mr. David Brantley, FDA’s headmaster, had been very kind to allow us to do this book signing on July 9. I am excited to meet many of our prayer warriors, many of whom I only know by name,” Locklar-Hatcher said.