Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Not the summer we had hoped for

This is a bit of a personal post.
I like to avoid these whenever possible, especially when they are not filled with happy times.
I was not even sure if I would blog this at all, and as I'm typing this I don't know if I'll have the courage to hit the publish button.
But I'm going to press on because maybe it will bring me some peace.

We began our summer with the attitude that it was going to be the best summer ever.  The boys and I each created a summer journal to document the fun times we were going to have:

We made a list of the things we wanted to do: go out for ice cream, go to the waterslides, have a water balloon fight, make smores...

Yup, it was going to be all about the boys, making memories, having fun, and lots of play time:

And then life threw us a curve ball.  On July 4th, my brother suffered a severe subarachnoid hemorrhage.  He was rushed to the hospital where he spent 28 days, 26 of it in the ICU.  July 4th was like a horrific nightmare.  This kind of stuff didn't happen to us, to our family.  I prayed so hard: eyes-clenched, tears-streaming, lips-whispering, can't-catch-my-breath praying. Our Reverend came to pray with us while the doctors worked to save my brother's life.  I held onto her hand with all my might, as if she was a direct line to God, a lifeline to save my brother.  I don't consider myself an overly religious person, but in that moment all I had was my faith, and I found the smallest piece of comfort in that.

I won't go into all the details of that month, but it was exhausting, both emotionally and physically: daily visits to the hospital, late nights researching prognoses, treatment options and statistics, constant phone conversations to get the updates--how did he eat, what did he say, was he tired, what do the scans show, what meds is he on.  It was a roller coaster: a good day or two of alertness and funny conversations that made no sense followed by a plummeting hill downward to blank stares, cat scans and angioplasties to treat vasospasm.  We learned quickly to keep our hope guarded, that two steps forward almost always meant one step back (and sometimes two or three).

My brother was moved to a rehabilitation hospital last week.  I made the mistake of thinking that this move would equal steady progress and gain.  It hasn't.  Not yet.  I know improvement is coming, and I know it is going to take time.  And I try to be reassured by the phrase, "it's only been one month" on a timeline that could stretch out for a year or two or more.  I know it's going to be a "long road."  
But my heart is being impatient.

My mother started a journal for my brother, a place for visitors to record things he did or said while they visited.  That book contains some hilarious things because, evidently, my brother is incredibly funny when he has a brain injury.  I can't wait for the day when he reads that book, and says, "I really said that?!?" That day is coming . . . I know it is.


  1. Hello. I am a new reader and I appreciate you sharing such a personal moment in your life. I know how it feels to have a loved one in ICU and you're not sure what will come next. I think the journal is a great idea. Your family is in my prayers.

  2. As you, also on my blog I only want to write about good things. Despite your post is about an extremely difficult time in your life, for me it's more a testimony of the love you have for your brother.
    I wish and pray for a speedy recovery.

    SóniAS - Portugal

  3. You know, my brother and I had a problem that cost us 13 years where we didn't speak. Finally I sent him an olive branch and learned that the problem no longer existed. I am so grateful to have him back, and I can imagine what you have been going through. I am the oldest living member of my immediate family. I have buried everyone I love, and I wish you a lot of strength, deep faith, and a more hopeful, steadily improving future.

  4. I'm so sorry for what you are going through. I'm sending you hugs and prayers and if there is anything I can do, I'm here. You are brave and amazing for sharing. Love you.

  5. I hope you find all the courage and love you need to continue dealing with this terrible challenge.
    My prayers go out to you~

  6. Hoping for the best for you and your family! Love & hugs!

  7. Love the new blog and all of your beautiful projects!

  8. I catch all my lates in blogs reading, love your projects Michelle, and I am very touched by this comment about your brother.....
    I send you hugs and prayers.


Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I love that you are leaving a little note to let me know you were here!