Today marks the second anniversary of Joanne's stroke. Can it really be two years? It doesn't feel like it. In a lot of ways it feels like it just happened. Starting this morning I have been having flashbacks. I looked at my watch at 8:45 and instantly realized that that is when Audrey called me in a panic that something was wrong with mom. 9:15 at the emergency room. 10:00 into radiology, and so on. I remember every detail of that day. It was probably the longest day of my life. The hours spent not knowing if she would live or die were the hardest, most surreal hours of my life. I remember thinking, "This isn't really happening." But it was.
I imagine this whole weekend will be a little difficult because in the immediate days after the stroke the family had to make the toughest decisions any of us are likely to have to make. We literally held Joanne's life in out hands and we had to make decisions for which no outcome was guaranteed. Dark days.
I also remember friends and family. Joanne's folk, my folks, Wade and Kristen and Jamie and Kristin. They were all there. I remember how comforting it was to have them around and how each helped me make it through.
One story I'm not sure I've told. If you know Kristin Franklin then you will get this. When Joanne got moved to ICU her phone and my phone were ringing off the hook and literally dozens of text messages were coming through as word spread through facebook and twitter about what had happened. Kristin said, "Give me those phones. You don't need to be worrying about this." So I turned over the phone and she took care of it. In coming days she would prove to be a great security guard, keeping people from wanderign back to Joanne's room--the ICU was pretty easy to access. She would grab people as they got off the elevator and would ask them, "Who are you here to see?" If they sai,"Joanne" she would kindly inform them that Joanne wasn't accepting visitors. Everyone else was allowed to pass. Kristin rocks!
And Jaime took me for a lot of walk through the hospital. He would sense the pressure and emotion building and would say, "Let's take a walk." And we would wander around the hospital. He would buy me a Diet Coke. We would chat about whatever and then he would return me to the waiting room or two Joanne's room with a little bit of sanity restored. I'll always appreciate that about those two. They have truly stuck with us.
Of course the family has been amazing too. As luck would have it, my computer died a couple of days after Joanne went into ICU. Wade hooked me up with a new MacBook, the one I am writing this post on. In fact I wrote perhaps the most important blog on this computer after Wade gifted it to me. It was one of the first posts about the stroke and over 60,000 people read that post. And since then we have had over 2.5 million visits to the blog. And it's all thanks to Wade taking care of my technological needs. Thanks again Wade!
And Kristen (Joanne's sister) was in charge of "mood." She brought in flowers and art and music to and sat holding Joanne's hand while Joanne was in a coma and couldn't really appreciate it all. But I appreciated it, and I know everyone else did too. It gave some tranquility and dignity to a place that is by its very nature short on both.
I guess you never really know how strong a bond is until it's tested and man, has Joanne's stroke tested bonds! But both our families have stepped up in major ways to help us make it through to this point. I am so thankful for thier love and support.
And to all of you who have read the blog and faithfully prayed for our family, I am so thankful for you. You are the reason I write these posts in the first place. I know that if I put something on line that it will get prayed for. That's more than enough reason to post. I thank god for the army of prayer warriors who have come along side us. There have been a number of you have have commented and let me know ou were praying, and countless others that I know are praying even though they don't comment. And then there is Shanna, who comes to the house to pray with Joanne every week. Yet another faithful friend who has stuck like glue to Joanne since her stroke.
So for the rest of the day and through this weekend I am going to try not to focus on how tough things are, how much hurt there is at all that has been lost, but I am going ot try to turn my thoughts to what I am thankful for. Maybe I'll post a list tomorrow or Sunday.
Do you remember where you were when you heard about Joanne's stroke?