If you can't wait to see Neil's progress today, scroll down to the bottom of today's entry. If you can tolerate a mother's thoughts for a minute, read on:
How can you see your child go through something like this and feel like you are being blessed? I don't know how to explain it, but I've never felt the presence and love of my Heavenly Father more than I have this past almost-two weeks. He has not left us comfortless. He knows and loves us. We receive his tender mercies daily.
Here are a few of the many blessings we've experienced through this crisis:
A greater appreciation for our children. We've always loved them passionately, but we have spent a great deal of time lately thinking about the joy they bring to our lives. We ponder on Neil's compassionate heart, Alison's wise insights, and Eric's affectionate nature--just some of their valuable qualities. We've been given the chance to raise and nurture such amazing individuals.
The chance to say and hear "I love you." I have said it again and again to friends and family. What used to be a sometimes-awkward expression saved for special occasions falls effortlessly from my lips lately. One of the dearest messages of comfort on the first day after the accident came as a text message from my sister. It said simply, "I love you so much." My brief reply, "I know." And I do.
The opportunity to receive the charity from others. We have been so humbled as we have felt the concern and love of others. Prayers, calls, cards, visits, food, rides, hopeful thoughts from family, friends, and even strangers who aren't strangers any more. We know each person who shows kindness to another receives blessing in return. So we are providing the chance for others to be blessed by their filling our needs!
Visits from dearest loved ones. Scott's mother has been here faithfully since the Sunday after the accident taking care of us and and providing some stability for Eric. Aunt Shelly stayed for a week giving us strength and lifting our spirits. My mom comes today because I need her hugs and she needs to give them. I know any one of our family would be here in a heartbeat if we called. We love them all!
Connecting and reconnecting. We've always liked Neil's friends and they have proven to be loyal throughout this ordeal. We are grateful for their kind words and comments, their visits, and the love they've shown him and us. We count them as our friends, too. And we're finding there is a web of friendships and family that we've taken for granted. We've been the recipients of messages of support from loved ones we haven't connected with in years. Thank you, thank you!
Cherishing our marriage. As we've held vigil by Neil's bedside Scott and I have discussed, and tried to prepare ourselves, for all the possible outcomes of this situation. We have taken turns being "the strong one" and cried on each other's shoulders. We have been partners in a circumstance that we couldn't have imagined being able to endure before this. I love this man!
Okay, enough heart-sharing! Time to get down to the business of Neil:
Every day shows a little progress, but be warned, I really mean a little. At times he appears to be trying to open his eyes. In fact, his left eye opens about 1/3 of the way, but he doesn't focus or follow anything. He has a firm grip with his right hand, but he doesn't squeeze on command. In fact, so far he hasn't reacted to anything we ask or say, but we continue to talk to him. They've added another antibiotic to fight whatever infection may be causing his continued fever. I don't think I ever mentioned his neck brace. It's been on since we first saw him, just in case of unknown neck injuries. Results from yesterday's MRI showed no injuries, so they removed the brace today. Now we can see this boy's grown quite scruffy since Nurse Nancy shaved him last week! It's almost hard to recognize him with his fuzzy goatee, his half-shaved head, and his metal staples. A little too out-there even for our crazy Neil :-) I think he'd get a kick out of this make-over!