Wednesday, August 15, 2012

a few scrapbook pages

Thank you so much for the thoughts, prayers, notes and emails about my brother.  He is doing well and beginning to make progress in rehab.  It's going to be a long road.  My motto for this period in our lives has been this:

Don't look ahead at what might be, don't look back to what could've been.  Take care of this moment, right here and right now.

Creating has taken a back burner this summer.  There were times I wondered if I would ever feel like scrapbooking again.  I didn't sit at my desk for weeks.  The mess from the last days of June and the first of July was still sitting there in late July.  Just looking at my space made my stomach turn.  The only thing I could do was Pin.  It was a good distraction, a reminder that beauty existed and a hope that all the inspiration on my Pin boards would lead me back to creating.

One afternoon in late July, after a fantastic visit with my brother, I sat down to create.  I had to force it at first, and I struggled.  But then a page began to take shape, ideas started to flow, and I got lost in the process.  This first page using the July Elite Kit was the result:
I played with stamps that had been sitting dusty, did some misting, and a bit of doodling.  And it felt so good to be creating again.  Here's what else I made with this kit:
Using Vero's sketch:
More stamping with paint:
Using a die cut paper as title and journaling holder:

This week I tore into the August Petite kit to create a layout about my amazing dad:

And a simple one of nuggets of advice for Maddox.  I love this word paper from Christy Tomlinson's "She Art" collection.
This kit comes with a 6 x 12 clipboard.  At first I thought I would cut the board in half to make covers for a mini album, but then I lost my courage to use hubby's circular saw.  So I opted for a holder for Fat Mum Slim's photo-a-day challenge prompts.

There's that cool word paper again.  

Thanks so much for looking, and I hope that I will have more to share with you soon.

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.