The standing frame arrived however; we have to wait for a technician to fit Corey. We waited this long, what’s another couple of days?
It’s been an emotional day for us. It’s hard to believe but this carepage started one year ago today. Quite frankly I had no idea what the original date was. Once I write the page, I don’t look back. One of the ICU nurses wrote us recalling her memories of our meeting this week last year. Just out of curiosity, for the first time in a year, I went back through the archives. Corey and I read them together.
So many feelings resurfaced as I reread the early pages. I vividly remember the phone call, the drive to the hospital, the “talk”, seeing Corey for the first time, the calls to John and the kids and the calls to our family. I can still remember the members of our ICU team; their names and their faces. As I read the posts to Corey, I’d share stories about these amazing men and woman that helped us start this journey. I remembered sleeping on the floor of the waiting room for 3 weeks, all of our friends and family coming to visit, we had so many visitors we commandeered one of the family waiting rooms. We talked about decorating her ICU room and the waiting room as well as her 18th birthday party at the hospital. I explained the process of how we waited each day for the test results of the comma recovery scale. Those early days were so dark; consumed with fear, worry, anxiety and exhaustion. The unknown answers were the most difficult to accept.
When we moved to the acute rehab Corey’s improvement was slow but she showed something new each week and then each day. We talked about the men and woman that helped care for both us at Bryn Mawr. The staff was incredible educating, counseling and caring for me as well as for Corey. We talked about the other families we met and became friends with over the 7 months we were there. We talked about moving home and how scared we were to take the leap of faith that we could work at home as well as we did at the rehab.
Corey smiled as I read to her. I think she understood her progress; I’m not so sure she understands the timeline. Now that we’re home, we celebrate each days accomplishments and the last year almost seems like a lifetime ago. When things are going well, we can’t help but feed off the excitement and focus on the future; forgetting the dark details of the past, as it should be.
Coincidentally, one of our rehab friends reached out to us this afternoon. Karissa is a year older than Corey. She was in a similar car accident and suffered a similar traumatic brain injury. She and Corey were roommates for a few months and as such our families felt a bond that people feel when they share in the same tragedy. Karissa’s progress was exciting to watch. She was moving along much faster than Corey but it was good for us to see what we were going to achieve at some point in the future. The girls are now home and Carla, Karissa’s mom, and I keep in touch excited to hear the new progress for each of our girls.
Today’s text was not about progress for Karissa. She is back in the ICU with bacterial meningitis. When Carla told me, I felt the grief in my heart and a virtual punch straight to the pit of my stomach. We have been so positive and excited about the daily achievements for both of our girls that it was a reality check that at any moment, all that can change…again. Not that we focus on those thoughts but it is ever present. Truthfully it is for all of us.
The news of Karissa in the hospital brought a spot light to life’s priorities. Despite the facts previously stated we cannot let it affect our “Living” today. Work is work. Small inconveniences should not be given the authority to be monumental. Are we focusing and appreciating what’s in front of us and is truly most important? My priority is this beautiful young woman that is smiling back at me. I am grateful for her tenacity and progress. I’m also grateful for JohnPaul and Caitlin. I am proud of who they are as people as well as their achievements. This past week was difficult, we expected it would be. But it is also why we intentionally didn’t mourn October 2nd but celebrated Corey’s year of achievements with friends and family at the Comedy night. Laughter is the key to living fully.
Corey and I decided to turn on the music and have fun together. The first song that came on was from Disney’s Tarzan; You’ll be in my Heart. The second I heard Phil Collins begin to sing, I began to cry. Corey smiled because she knows what a sap I am! I laughed at my self and told her how much I love her. She smiled, mouthed the lyrics and used her hand motions to assist her serenade. I listened to the words as if I heard them for the first time.
Ironically, Caitlin created a power point for my Christmas present in 2008 arranged to the same song. Corey and I watched the video again today. When it was over, I leaned into Corey and told her, “You are in my heart” ~ she vocalized her reply clearly, “Always” XOXO