“Say, ‘I love you.'”
Laura Browning Grant is prompting her husband, Jonathan Grant, to repeat the phrase. She’s filming at his bedside at the Shepherd Center, an Atlanta, Georgia, hospital where he’s recovering from a brain injury triggered by a car accident he was in nine months ago. After spending two months in a coma, he’s had to relearn basic tasks like how to feed himself (and swallow the food). He also speaks nonsensically about 95 percent of the time and remains unable to walk independently, according to Laura. His prognosis is still unknown.
Nonetheless, Jon looks up at Laura with wide eyes and mouths a response, holding his index finger, pinky, and thumb out to sign the words he can’t quite get out: “I love you” in sign language.
She prompts him again: “‘I love you.’ Say it louder.”
Jon’s eyes remain glued on his wife, his forehead tensed. “I love you…” he says — and this time, it’s audible. “More,” he adds.
Although Jon’s focused expression doesn’t change, Laura erupts with joy.
“Aw! I love you more!” she says.
“Yes, you do,” Jon responds, before the video clip cuts out.
This conversation between Jonathan (Jon), a 36-year-old Navy SEAL, and Laura, a 33-year-old Pilates instructor, was viewed more than 1 million times after Laura posted it on Instagram (@laurabpilates) in late November. It wasn’t her first or most widely viewed video: She’s been sharing updates on her husband’s progress, using the hashtag #StayStrongJonnyGrant, since his accident. In July, a clip, in which Jon stands to kiss Laura for the first time in months, went viral. Since then, several other videos Laura has posted — including a recent one in which Jon watches snow fall — have received more than 1 million views.