Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Cardiac Extravaganza: One Year On - Inspiration Thursday

It is hard to fathom that we almost lost Ryan a year ago.
Thanksgiving 2016
I'm astonished that it has been a year already.  It is remarkable how easily we've slipped back into a relatively normal family life together--bowling, family dinners, football, Catan, dogs, brewing.  Ryan is doing really, really well.  Words cannot touch my gratitude about that.  I love him.  He's so dang funny and patiently teaches me about all sorts of stuff....like football and bowling and brewing beer.  ;)  I swear he wins at Catan pretty much every time....
Puzzle Table - Easter 2018
I'll never forget the look of bewildered terror in Ryan's eyes when he was making his first attempts to come back to us last May.  He looked so frightened and that was really hard since we couldn't do anything to make him understand what was happening.  I know it was especially hard on Matt who'd never seen his Big Brother look truly scared before.
Breaking Geodes - Easter 2018
This made Matt and I, talking about it later, stumble headlong into the fact that we lead a life so easy and filled with blessings it is astonishing.  Comfort and safety are the foundation of our lives.  We were each born into a good, safe place with a good, loving family.  We've experienced the gift of excellent health.  We've never wanted for anything important.  Imagine!!  What a gift of circumstance!  It is so easy to take this all for granted, like a fish not noticing the water it swims through.
Christmas 2017
So, today I am inspired by Ryan.  He fought hard when it mattered most.  He struggled and persevered when things were really rough (and painful and scary).  He took the unexpected in stride.  Through it all he has come out just as good-natured and generous and helpful as ever.  His wit and humor makes my life better.  He made me realize a lot of humbling things.  Important, game-changing things.  (And, I should add, that I am tremendously grateful he doesn't remember the ICU and those relatively terrifying first days and weeks.)
Ryan and Bek got me a Catan expansion for my recent birthday...which when I opened it Ryan told me was also sorta for him!  :)
I am also inspired by his wife, Bek.  If this experience was a world-shaker for me it goes without saying that it was all the more shattering for Bek.  She has been so critical in getting Ryan basically back to "normal" (or whatever you want to call it since Ryan was never normal even at the start).  It was a hard job with a lot of "homework" and I know it has been an especially challenging year for her.  She is stronger and more adaptable and capable than any of us ever knew.  I think even more than she knew herself.  It is highly laudable and I think we all hope we'll rise to the occasion like that....even as we hope we never have to do so.
My in-laws should be added to this list, too.  Parents aren't "supposed" to have to endure such heartache and uncertainty around their children.  The level of love, faith, and fortitude Roger and Sharon demonstrated throughout--from the ICU to the follow-up visits--is beyond admirable and well into inspiring.   They have always seemed supportive of their kids, but that really shone through in this situation.  When Ryan said "mom" that first time....oh, there are no words.  It has long been clear to me that he values his parents and the influence they have and continue to have on his life and the person he is.  Ryan knew them (and Bek) even when he didn't know anything else.  And it is easy for me to see why.  They're such a positive guiding force for all of us.
Family Beer Fest 2016
Lastly, I am overflowing with admiration for the inspiring band of individuals that comprise our personal community, our tribe.  The folks from Roger and Sharon's church, Bek's bellydance sisters, Ryan's workmates, all our friends and family who called, visited, sent flowers, hugged, and wrote in numbers and from distances beyond expectation were just, oh, well I cannot envision going through such a thing without that network to cushion us, to hold us up, to hold us together at some points.  Everyone was so open with their caring and their emotions.  They really manifested what love is, especially the love that extends beyond family lines, even if it was the first or only time I met some of them.  They gave me first-hand lessons in how to act when I am the one supporting others during times of trial or illness.  They poured upon us generosity and empathy and caring to a degree I'd never before experienced.  It was a very unexpected gift, for lack of a better term, love like that.
Shooting hoops and brewing beer with Ryan - November 2016
Deep sigh.  So.  It has been another year.  Another year.  Thank heavens.  Life!  What an inspiring thing!

6 comments:

  1. I'm glad he's doing so well!

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  2. What a lovely post! So good to hear of a community in action - to have support and love is such a precious thing in hard times.

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    1. It was an overwhelming experience. What love exists in this world!! It is an incredible thing.

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  3. ...family is so important...what a lovely tribute...

    ~Have a lovely day!

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