One year ago, I was sitting in the hospital with my husband wondering. Wondering how we got there. Wondering HOW he had a stroke at age 50. Wondering what next? It was hard to think in the long term at the moment as we had to focus on what was happening then. So many tests to go, so many questions not answered. I knew it wasn’t all bad when he could keep his sense of humor and so could I. We joked that no longer could he say he didn’t have a brain or a heart. We saw them both! He was only in the hospital a couple days and then he went to rehab. He was there a few days more doing all kinds of therapies to get better-tests to see what was gone and what wasn’t. He got frustrated easily, many times focusing on the negative, on what he couldn’t do, not on what he could! He went on to outpatient therapy and even breezed through that. He made such great progress he even went back to work just 5 weeks after the stroke. The thing that was his goal, that was what he worked for? Getting back on this
As a matter of fact, today, one year later, he is on his way to Texas with a friend of ours for a week long trip on the bikes! They did this together a few years ago after each of them lost a parent. It was a memorial/clear your head trip. Today, I kind of think of it as a celebration. A year ago we weren’t even sure he would ever be able to ride a motorcycle again! He has done well!
My other thoughts: so many this week. It has been a rough couple of weeks around here. I never ever dreamed, that 4 of us sisters would be traveling to our brother’s funeral. I always intended to visit out there, just not like this. There were so many hugs, the kind where you hung on and didn’t want to let go. There were so many tears. Sometimes I wonder just where they keep coming from. I wonder how it is possible that they don’t dry up. They never do. They still haven’t. I imagine they will be close to the surface for a long time to come and I imagine they might spill at any time.
I sat in my brother’s house trying to imagine him sitting there, in his spot or at the kitchen counter. I only felt his absence. I watched his children and his grandchildren and thought, He did good. I said at the funeral that if the legacy of a man is the family he left behind, then he did an amazing job. Every one of them is an incredible human being. It hurt me greatly to see their pain and their hurt. I only wished somehow I could take some of it away.
I sat on his porch looking out onto the mountains you could see.
I wished he was sitting there with me.
I can’t believe how fast life can change. We always say to live so we don’t have regrets. It isn’t always easy, is it? I have regrets. I am sorry that there was a long time that my brother and I lost touch. I am sorry that I didn’t even get to know many of his grandchildren until he was gone. I am sorry that he won’t be making that spring trip back so that we could all hang out again and I could get to know my big brother just a bit more.
I have never been through anything that feels quite like this does. I can say I don’t like how it feels, either!
I plan on keeping in touch with this kids, his grandchildren. I plan on happy, with just a bit of sad in them, hugs.
I know that I will always always always miss my big brother!
I hope you ARE soaring with the eagles, John!