Some people cross the bridge from care-free to care-full slowly, one responsible vitamin at a time. Others get pushed off the bridge and inherit a pillbox and a bunch of ‘ologists overnight.
Our first week home has been a crash course in all things care-full – if you’ve ever seen a life vest, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, just think gun holster meets inspector gadget. It’s like wearing a bomb that will SAVE your life instead of end it, and it requires some quick-change action between showers.
Turns out a broken heart takes a long time to heal. There has GOT to be some amazing spiritual and emotional parallels as a physically attacked heart has to go through such intense recovery and rehab. So much I never would have known before, but it really is TIME that is needed most. Time, sleep, and quiet.
Oh the Quiet. No heart monitors. Birds instead of balloon pumps. Heck, even the occasional jet planes overhead have a soothing new rhythm because they remind me we are NOT IN A HOSPITAL.
I’ve never enjoyed silence like this. We sit. We read. We rest. We savor. It’s some sacred quiet. Slowly, bit by bit, we talk through all that has just been, and turn our attention to all that will be. (Because there is a will be!!!)
And slowly, the pace of “normal life” is creeping back in, too. Which is beautiful and also not at the same time. I don’t miss the hospital at all, but I do miss some of the single-focus-clarity that two weeks in a hospital forces, and I’d like to adopt some new filters as we readjust into our new normal.
One thing that’s ever-more-evident is just how different our two experiences are, and therefore our healing journeys will be. We knew that within the first 24 hours of him leaving ICU, of course – his journey involves sleeping through some of the most vibrant, haunting, and sacred hours of my life. His journey involves disorientation and shock on a whole different level. His journey involves wearing a life-vest. His journey went from a basketball court to a hospital bed in a blink of an eye. His journey involves the emotions inherent in heart-attack recovery … everything from “glad to be alive” to “damn this hurts” to “I’m not worth all this attention” to “when can I get back to work/school?”
We’ve decided that miracles are allowed to be grumpy.
And me, well, I’m still experiencing a layer of grace that I can’t take any credit for. I’m still being held up by a Mighty Right Hand (Psalm 63:8). That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of Deep Feels going on.
The tears – they come at surprising times. As I open a can of chicken. As we play cards. As he chokes on a cough and I feel the pain on his face.
The sighs come when the flashbacks zap me. When images flash in my mind of monitors, wide-open but un-seeing eyes, and the wail that defied words. Some say I was strong. I wasn’t strong. I was simply a girl in love with the guy on the ventilator. Some say I’m strong now. And still, I tell you, it’s love making me breathe “thank you” even as I echo “ouch” as I watch my man – my active, vibrant, strong, athletic, bold MAN – learn how to re-enter life one five-minute-walk at a time.
Hold out for that kind of love, ladies. It’s worth every high and low.
The deep thoughts come with classical music, haunting me with the ways it can say what my words and actions can not, just as it soothed both of us while it played in the ICU.
The chills come when I remember that I should be a widow, and I look up to receive comfort from the very man who has instead kept me a bride.
The smiles come when he reaches for my hand.
The goosebumps when each kiss becomes just a little bit longer.
The laughter when the right pun hits at the right moment, or when Mrs Chanandeler Bong is so much funnier than before. Or when I win at the card game.
Because miracles laugh, and cry, and shudder, and go silent, and get grumpy, and dream of the future. Because miracles get a future – we just enter it slowly.
7 thoughts on “We are living a miracle: on time, and life-vests, and all the first week home things”
You just stun me. Your story stuns me, God’s grace and mercy stuns me. But your ability to write it down and make me feel as if I were there truly stuns me beyond explanation.
You and your man have been given a gift and only God knows when and how you will unwrap it. But unwrap it you will and in the process so many lives will be challenged and changed. The amazingly beautiful gifts you are sharing now have blessed me beyond my telling. Thank God, thank you.
I cannot express my response better than Kathy Kendall did above… so eloquent and true and mirrors my thoughts. Though rocky, rough and untread previously, you are walking together with your resurrected husband because of a great, resurrected Lord. Bless you both.
That was very kind – thank you. How wonderful is the family of God that we feel a connection to, with people we’ve never met.
When I finally was granted the chance to go “fishing with the guys” on their annual Mammoth trip in August of 2013 I remember on day 2 the trek to a destination that I still don’t remember the name of. It was the journey that I do; We had to hike, climb and walk about 6 miles to the upper lake. Little did we know the year before that a rock slide and flooding would wipe out much of the simple walkable trail. This was a test like I have never pushed my fibromyalgia before. My Brother Thomas kept telling me that the top was “just around another bend”, but the “another bend” just seemed to multiple. I complained from the halfway point consistently and at the three quarters point stopped and realized I just might not be able to go forward or make it back without some kind of rescue. Jason was hanging back keeping an eye on me from about the halfway point encouraging me to press on. While learning against a rock at that 3/4 point, he said, “hey I have the food, do you want to share a P&J sandwich”. That seemed to take my mind off the situation. Then he said something that motivated me to continue, “I’m really proud of you making it this far, I thought for sure you weren’t going to make it”. Well we did make it and the view at the summit of the valley and the lake was awe inspiring. It was nice to take my shoes and socks off and soak my feet in that cool water. I’ll leave you with this thought, When life seems difficult, hard, you’re you don’t think you’ll make it; remember “Your destination is just around the bend”. I remember arriving at the Hospital that Friday night as the first one from Jason’s Blood side of the family. I had a deep peace that Jason wasn’t leaving us. God has a plan, we just don’t know when he is going to work it.
Kathy’s comment above is so spot on. Your writing amazes me. You and Jason have been challenging and changing me from the start – even though I am as stubborn as they come. Xoxo
But such a love able stubborn
Oh, Brooke… I love you… and I’m praying for you guys. I have been trying to read your posts for a long time but we had trouble with the internet in Tanzania. I just sat down and read all your posts out loud to my husband, having to pause in many places because I was choking up. My heart goes out to you and yet I feel so inspired from reading your raw and real heart as you share. There is something so powerful about sharing our honest struggles and triumphs. Anyway, I’m so thankful to God for the miracle He has done in Jason. I’m praying for you guys and we want to send you a donation. Hopefully we can all meet up one day in the future. That wonderful future.
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