By COLlive reporter
Photos, Video: Sholem Srugo/COLlive
When Rabbi Yudi Dukes, who survived an 8-month long battle with COVID, was released from the hospital Thursday, the 38-year old father of 6 was photographed clutching a large colorful sign.
“We Did It!” the sign proclaims, in large handwritten block letters, colored in with markers.
A closer look at the sign reveals that the ‘We’ is not part of the original design, rather it has been pasted over the top of the poster.
His wife Sarah Dukes, who has never given up hope throughout her husband’s illness, and has been documenting his struggles on social media for the past 8 months, explained what the sign represents.
Yudi Dukes had been in critical condition for weeks, and “most of those days he was fighting for his life while being hit with one complication after the next. Some people thought I was being unrealistic by trying to stay positive and optimistic and believing that Yudi will be OK and get through this,” Sarah wrote.
Sarah Dukes explains that while she was constantly aware of the reality, she made a conscious effort to continue fighting, to continue living, and to continue to have faith that Yudi would make it through.
“I had to do whatever I could to fight just as hard as my husband was fighting, and I had to do it for him, for our kids, and for our family! I owed it to us,” she wrote.
And so, back in April, Sarah and her kids made a “You did it” sign for Yudi, which they hung in his hospital room so that he could see it as soon as he awakened from his coma.
Yudi had multiple room transfers during his lengthy journey (13 to be exact), but this sign followed him to every room he went.
”Months later, after Yudi awoke from his coma and was more conscious of what was going on and what had happened to him, I shared the significance behind the sign and everything that went into it,” Sarah wrote. “Yudi became very emotional. He was noticeably moved. After taking a bit of time to process the information, he looked at me and said, ‘That should be ‘WE’. I didn’t do this on my own. This only happened because of what everyone has done. We did this together.'”
And so, Sarah said, “a couple of weeks ago I brought in cardboard and markers so that Yudi could participate in this sign and color the “WE” himself.”
As Yudi Dukes arrived at his home in the Five Towns, NY, today, he was greeted by a cheering crowd of family and friends, and his father recited “shehecheyanu.” Yudi will continue his recovery at home, and still needs prayers to continue to regain his health and strength.
“Every breath that I have now is only because of the Davening, and all the Tzedaka, and everything that you have done for me, and all I can say is, thank you for bringing me to this day,” Yudi said to the emotional crowd.
Sarah noted once again that they are grateful for the efforts of so many around the world.
“Yudi and I want to make it clear that we all did it! We all played an instrumental role in Yudi’s miraculous recovery and in getting him to this point. We did it as a team – an army. Nothing could penetrate through us as a united front,” she wrote. “We have helped Yudi survive, and now we will help him thrive as he continues on his path to recovery and resilience.”
Please continue praying for Chaim Schneur Zalman Yehuda ben Hinda Yocheved.