As most of my ten blog readers probably already know, my grandpa had a major stroke last September. Since becoming a so-called adult, this is my first real family emergency.
The only way I can think to describe the experience is devastating. Sitting in an emergency room with my grandma, parents, brother, and husband - listening to a physician tell us that my grandpa will probably never speak or walk again. I've never felt so desperate.
Desperate to talk to him, hear him say my name, swing on the porch, experience one more family vacation...
It rocked my family to the core.
We were at the hospital constantly. Someone always sitting in his bedside chair. Being a nurse myself, I know we were all a nightmare. Concerned about every bump, sneeze, alarm, and lab value. But we weren't giving up.
He was either all I wanted to talk about, or all I wanted to be distracted from.
It's been the most emotional ride of my life thus far. From the purest low to the high of seeing him move limbs that he wasn't supposed to move, feed himself, and finally learn again how to walk.
His speech is still his biggest obstacle, but we've moved him and my grandma into an independent living apartment. As he and my grandma walked me to their front door today after a visit, this feeling of normalcy overwhelmed me. Grandpa making fun of my bright sandals and sneaking a cookie behind grandma's back. Life for them is starting to again become normal.
A different normal. New normal.
And that's okay. We'll take what we can get. Embrace it and cherish every moment.