-Written by Anna-
No one ever dreams of spending their Christmas in the neuro ICU and yet the reality that God is WITH US has never felt more real! This morning we had our first moment as a family at home while Jeannine Brabon (a stroke survivor herself) sat with Mom. We then took a small Christmas celebration in to Mom. She loved watching us open a couple of presents that she had bought and wrapped for us almost as much as we loved sharing this moment with her.
As I walked in and received a warm Merry Christmas hug from our nurse (Mom has quickly become one of the favorite patients which doesn’t surprise any of us!) I found myself so grateful for those who sacrifice their own Christmas to love and care for people like my Mom. I looked around to see so much suffering on this holy day and instead of feeling despair, it felt sacred! This is WHY He came! He willingly entered into the suffering of all mankind to redeem and bring hope! He walks with us through the hardest and darkest of days and nowhere do you sense that more than in a neuro ICU on Christmas Day!
The first Christmas was not one of good meals, family time, lights, decorations and presents. For Mary and Joseph it was one of pain, confusion and wondering why in the world God would chose to make His entrance in this way. He came in a stable as a baby and, as a precious friend who came on Christmas Eve to pray over Mom wrote, “Katy’s room became for me that ‘stable’ on Christmas Eve, for Christ was born in Katy and Stan’s lives, but I got to see that birth afresh this Christmas Eve.”
We are seeing new life as Mom is making a little progress each day. Her speech and memories continue to improve. And while she is never comfortable, the pain seems to be less. Her body is fighting and we are grateful for that. Continue to pray for healing and strength. Pray for encouragement and peace! Yesterday she realized her new realities in a whole new way and we grieved with her. But Jesus met her last night, she is still grieving but this morning she had chosen to be grateful and was sharing it with us. She expressed her gratitude for her nurse Debbie who brought her ice chips and told her Merry Christmas (best Christmas present for my Mom who still can’t eat or drink). She expressed her gratitude for Dalton another nurse who washed her hair this morning and made her feel more human! She was quick to tell us – and them – that while she never wanted to be here on Christmas those were her Christmas miracles!
She shared with us that if Jesus willingly entered suffering then why shouldn’t she? She never wants to forget this experience of being totally dependent and even the humiliation of it all as this is where we find Jesus!
Tonight as we wrap up a Christmas we will not soon forget we want to thank each one of you for your love and prayers as we have walked through these days. There are no words to adequately express what it has meant to our family! Don’t tell our Mom but we have not been able to keep up and have not sent one single thank you! But we are thankful! When we could not even express our needs, many of you listened to Jesus and provided, gave, showed up, called, etc. You have been the hands and feet of Jesus to us this Christmas! From providing hotel rooms so we could stay close, to meals at the hospital when we couldn’t even think about food, to showing up on Christmas morning to wish Mom a Merry Christmas, sharing prayers for and stories about my Mom, writing out Scriptures for us to read when we most needed them…we just want to say thank you and Merry Christmas!