We knew 2012 was going to be a tough year when we “celebrated” NYE on a couch in a Riley hospital room. Elena’s stay was short that time and we are thrilled it has been a year since we’ve spent time there. We’ve had a healthy year, but it hasn’t been easy. When I reflect about where we were January 1st, 2012, I’m so happy to know how far we’ve come.
Last January, Elena screamed and cried HOURS out of the day (and night). She ate mere drops of food from a eye dropper. She projectile vomited her g-tube feeds every day. She was rigid, stiff and could barely move. She didn’t smile. She didn’t laugh. She wouldn’t look at us. She couldn’t hold her head up for one second. Our house was a pharmacy of powerful medications. We were sad. Exhaused. Heartbroken. I cried and cried and cried, so much so, that I barely remember feeling happy at all. We were just trying to survive. I was so scared of what the year would bring.
Thankfully, it brought progress. It brought hope, smiles, laughter and happy tears. It hasn’t been easy. Every step of the way has been hard fought, each of us pushing ourselves to the brink of what we thought was possible to bear. But, it feels sooooooooo good to say we are a million gajillion times better off than where we were last year. My prayer is that I can say that every year for the rest of my life. I can’t possibly imagine a year harder than the last. We trust that God has a plan for us, for Elena. There will continue to be examples of God’s love and grace. We continue to cling to each other and to the unceasing support from our loving family and friends.
I’m grateful to not have to “hope” for God’s blessings this year. I know they’re coming. They may not always come with a giant bow on your doorstep, but when I look, when I reflect, I can see them lining our every step. I pray that this year, you will take a moment every day to see the wonderful gifts you have been bestowed. I pray you take time to be grateful not for the “stuff” in your life, but for the people, the relationships, your health, the things the actually matter. And if you find yourself in a dark time, I pray that you too will find a shining light to give you hope and know that you are never, ever alone in your struggles.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11