...it was the worst of times...

There has been a lot going on for my family. My dad, age 53, had a serious stroke caused by bleeding in his brain due to high blood pressure. David and I drove to Florida as soon as we could, leaving two of our three children with friends and his family (who were already coming to visit). My mom needed us there as dad was on a ventilator, two homeschooled children in the last few weeks of school, and two brothers who had prom to prepare for (although they did feel a little guilty going).

Anyway, we ended up staying a week. It was the amount of time predicted by the doctors for getting off the ventilator and into a rehabilitation center. What a scary first few days, though. Full of moments that we will always remember and never wish anyone to live through. A part of my dad was lost. The independent, private, articulate, and strong man was replaced by someone who needed us, needed nurses, and health care professionals and therapists.

But there were good moments, too. And those moments are getting closer together. This sometimes tragic story is also one of hope, and healing that we get to experience. Dad is continually improving. He was practicing standing a couple days ago and has movement in his affected side. His speech, although still sloppy, is understandable.

The best thing that has come out of this so far is I have gotten reacquainted with my younger brothers and a sister. One brother I haven't seen in six years actually asked my advice on a personal matter. My other siblings now know me as a big sister again (although the youngest wasn't still sure of why I was so clingy and affectionate-he's 10 and we've never lived under the same roof). My husband was able to communicate in a positive way with the teenage boys. On my dad's side, I'd not met my step-grandpa as an adult, and had not seen my grandma since my wedding almost 10 years ago. This all changed because of a God-seen trial.

It was a trying time, during which I leaned heavily upon my faith, but there are moments that I'll cherish, too. The day before we left home I had a few hours alone with my dad. I pushed him around the "Center" in his wheelchair and really felt that God had given me a gift. A second chance to be a daughter and once again a vital part of my big, beautiful family.


Jeff Williams said...

Rita, thank you for sharing about this journey w/ your family. Jill and I can identify with the discomfort/grief of seeing a formerly strong, independent parent now dependent and in need. Humbling isn't it?

And, I chuckle to hear the 10 yr old expressing confusion/discomfort(?) about your affection? "Why are you hugging me so much.

Glad that your dad seems to be on the mend.


HennHouse said...

So beautifully written! And what an awesome testimony to see the blessings through the pain.

Anonymous said...

Rita, may God light your path and comfort you on this journey. Peace!