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.