I started this day last year at 2:00am by calling 911 when I realized that Brian was having a stroke. Every day since has been a struggle. Fighting for hope, pushing away fear, finding the patience to re-learn and the strength to keep showing up.
This milestone feels big.
We are grateful. The recovery Brian has had is nothing short of a miracle. He walks and talks and is still himself. He has all of his memories and his job and his smile. Things that on this day last year I would have given anything for.
We are also sad. So many of the things that bring Brian joy are still beyond his reach. Running, drawing, saying all that he wants, cutting a steak and putting up Christmas lights on the house. Things we still long for.
We are deeply thankful for how this year has gone. I could have just completed a year of life without Brian, I know that. But we still want more. We go back and forth between looking back and looking forward. We often talk about how things were before the stroke and just wish we could have our lives back.
These photos were taken just a week apart-
But we have a lot of life left (Lord willing). And while we need to look back over this year to remind ourselves of how far we’ve come, we are committed to moving forward. Brian is still going to therapy a couple times a week, he is pushing himself through the most frustrating Greek class ever and he is ready to get himself some cool things like a recumbent street bike and some zip on shoes.
I have to admit, I have been hesitant to embrace adaptive things because it feels like we are accepting these disabilities as permanent. But they can give him more freedom and we need that. Even if someday he is able to tie his own shoes and mountain bike the trails by our house- we need to face the realities of today and make the most of it.
We are currently throwing ourselves into the Christmas season. After spending last year in the hospital and the year before unemployed with a flooded house, we are determined to soak up all the sweetness we can.