Thursday, June 01, 2006

First Day at Home

Dear Jan, I am keep writing these lines with the hope that in one not too distant day you will be able to read them all by yourself and feel thankful. One day you will be able to see the countless ways in wich you touched people's lives and how their lives touched yours. It is a written memory of the 111 days you spent in hospitals, because your own memory was busy reconstructing broken links and neuropaths to be encumbered with other information.

These lines are a reflection of the liquid nature of time. The days flowed ceaselessly while you were asleep. But none of them was empty. There always was something unique, something that summed up deep feelings, spiritual experience, basic wisdom, basal hopes, or the incredible essence of life. I learned so much about the basic things in life just by visiting you day after day.

Visiting you in your frailty was an encounter with my own; witnessing your pain was an opportunity to reach out and touch my own; celebrating the strength of your faith was an encouragement to keep nourishing mine. You were the one in the hospital, the survivor of a tidal wave of blood in the centre of your words. You were the one washed away into the sea of unconsciousness and then tossed back onto the unknown beaches of broken words and right neglect. You were the patient body receiving medical care, we were the patient souls receiving hard and challenging questions about the meaning of life and its pain.

Your time has flowed swiftly and emptied itself in the same river where all of our times flow. You live to tell a story without words, a story about the resilience of your spirit and your faith, but most importantly, a story about grace. We join you to listen carefully and live in the awareness that nothing we have of real value we can claim as our own: our most precious relationships, our most cherished gifs, our carefully created plans, all are given to us on loan by the Highest; moreover, the only response we have is to echoe Job's: "He gives and he and takes away" we must hold His name high in our hearts. This is what our time together in the hospital revealed.

Jan, we all celebrate that now you are back home. You have improved so much: you walk without any mechanical help; you talk for longer periods with more clarity; you continue to expand your vocabulary; the wound in your head is healing well, your strength increases little by little. However. you still need to be with someone for your own safety. If the days in the hospital felt too long, these days may feel longer. I could hear you mentioning already the potential struggle with loneliness. It will be now when we may find the hardest lessons to learn. In all this, I admire your determination and I am honoured to receive your love.

Today, the nurse came to change the dressing in your head. You will be without any patches or staples on Monday. The long way to recover your words and find your R hand will continue. You are scheduled for an assessment for speech therapy on Wednesday.

Some of our dear friends ask us how can they help? Right now, help would be great by booking time to come to visit you so primary caregivers free some time. Scheduling the visit avoids having too many people at once, while at the same time maximizes the free time needed by primary caregivers to do things like grocery shopping, working, etc.

May God's mercy be with us.


1 comment:

orestn said...

Jan, I am glad you're finally home, and it was so nice to talk to you on the phone yesterday. You ended our brief chat with your signature "Luv yah!" - I was relieved to know that your memory of our friendship was intact.