Sunday, June 28, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Update: Here's a link to a video.
Friday, June 12, 2009
This is my low-tech snapshot of a snapshot of Neil with his first girlfriend, Lauren. They were preschool buddies, and when Neil saw her at the park one day, he fell to his knees and started eating grass in an effort to impress her. He's always kind of been that way--he loves his friends and he'd do anything to make them laugh.
Of course, lately the laughs have been hard to come by since he's a little short in the humor department. But he still loves his friends and has really missed being with them at school each day. Dividing his time between hanging with Mom, and therapy sessions with the sweet elderly folks at Kessler is just not filling his social needs. He makes up the lack by texting. His thumb flies day and night, almost non-stop.
High-school students are busy this time of year. His peers are getting ready for finals, graduation, summer jobs, and college. As they become overwhelmed with Neil's messages, I think they are finding it harder to respond to each one. So he is looking for more people to correspond with. Enter, Facebook. Neil hadn't shown much interest in it as the screen is hard to see, and the website very busy and confusing. But when he finally gave it a try and realized he had 71 friend requests, he decided it might be worthwhile.
So now he has some new friends, too--friends that we don't know. I hope they are as kind-hearted as the ones who have been so loyal throughout his recovery. Some of these new kids don't know his circumstances. His abilities to pick up on social cues, to judge, and to understand subtleties aren't what they used to be, so I worry that he might get hurt.
On the other hand, as Neil continues to sharpen his mind and skills, these social interactions should be good for him. Communicating with others has got to get better with practice, right? He's reaching out--trying to emerge, and we'll see what beautiful creature develops.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Neil took a trip to school today to pick up his yearbook. He ate lunch in the cafeteria (two pieces of pizza) and sat with friends who came over to sign his book. It was great to see he was voted "Biggest Kid at Heart," and we found a picture of him in his infamous banana suit. If that doesn't bring a smile to a person's face, I don't know what will!
"They might not need me — yet they might —
I'll let my Heart be just in sight —
A smile so small as mine might be
Precisely their necessity —"
Monday, June 1, 2009
Once again, Neil will don cap and gown and join the processional with his classmates. According to school authorities, Neil is just one semester of Lit IV shy of officially graduating, so they are allowing him to participate in the ceremonies with the understanding that he will be finishing his class eventually.
Four months ago, I never would have guessed this would be possible. After spending long, long days in the ICU with our still and silent son, I would sometimes come home at night and sit in his room and cry. The sight of his backpack in the corner and textbooks on the shelf were painful, as were the letters that kept arriving from the school to all seniors about preparations for graduation.
As Neil began to "wake up" from his state of impaired consciousness, he slowly became aware of what was going on in the world without him. Visiting friends talked about senior games and activities. He knew he missed the prom. So we tentatively called the school district to ask if it would be possible for him to have at least this one positive memory from his last year of high school. School and district personnel were on Neil's side and took it through the appropriate channels to make it happen for which we will be ever grateful.
What happens after graduation is still up in the air. He dreams of attending college, so we're working toward that end. The school district can offer him some support and training for up to two more years, so we'll be taking advantage of what is available there. Evaluations this summer ought to get us going in the right direction.
Throughout our experiences of the last months, we have cried much, prayed often, and mourned for what we envisioned his life would have been like, but we never lost hope and we never will. Faith in a loving God, time, and lots of work by many individuals can make miracles happen.