Friday, March 14, 2014

Happy birthday, Lydia!

“So how is Lydia doing?” we are often asked.  We are humbled by the support and care that we continue to receive.  Thank you.  She is doing well, considering how extensive her injuries were, and how much recovery is needed.  She still has a great, heart  warming smile, and a readiness to share it with others.  She is continuing her studies in grade 9, with her support teacher, at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate, and doing well there.  In the past several months, her recovery has been more focused on the recovery and healing of many emotions.  She has hard days, and good days, and we are learning to stay in each day, and not jump ahead to the future.  “This too, shall pass” is an axiom that James and I have often shared with one another, in the various difficult stages of parenting that we have encountered over the years.  This expression reminds us of the temporal nature of things that seem long and hard.    Lately, I have been challenged to remind myself that it is not merely a matter of biding time in a hard situation, and waiting for it to pass, but rather, to acknowledge that God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, and He knows and holds each stage.  He knows the beginning, the middle and the end.  He will hold us and keep us in every stage.

We celebrated Lydia’s 15th birthday with a family trip to Ottawa.  We attended question period in Parliament, and afterwards enjoyed a wonderful visit with our MP for Kitchener Conestoga, Harold Albrecht.  In the House, he spoke of Lydia’s miraculous recovery, and reminded us how far she has come.  He reflected back on Lydia’s “when I am 14” list of things she hoped to be able to do by herself by the time she turned 14 year old – like eating soup!  He then wished her a happy birthday, and said  “we can only imagine the things you will be able to do when you are 15!” 
If you have a moment, enjoy this minute long update from our genuine and caring Member of Parliament. Harold works for and cheerleads many causes in our nation.  We are touched by his ongoing support and prayers for Lydia.  

Lydia, our determined warrior butterfly, has already begun her “ when I am 16 list” of goals she hopes to reach.  Her list sounds a lot like many other teenagers, “ I hope to drive….”.  We have cautioned her that it may be awhile before she is able to do that.  But who knows what a year will hold?  We can always hope.  

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you all.  May the light of Jesus shine upon you.

We hope that as 2013 draws to a close, that you are able to find yourself in a spot of gratitude and peace.  We have learned much of these two invaluable traits in the past year.  We live by moments, days, weeks, and now years, of trusting that God has plans for us that extend beyond our capacity to understand, and by resting in His care for us. 

This past year has been hard.  It has had highs, and many lows.  Living with someone with a brain injury is very challenging.  We have been adjusting to our new normal as a family.  Often, we are stretched to care for Lydia's many physical, and emotional needs.  She is currently at a spot in her recovery where she is grieving her losses.  Anger is a part of grief, and she struggles with how hard her life is.  And it is hard.  We wish it wasn't, but it truly is.   It is the testing ground of our faith:  Do we trust that God is taking care of us, even when we can't see his work, or understand his plans?   We call out to him regularly.  We seek his grace for each stage of Lydia's recovery.  We ask the Holy Spirit to counsel us, and to comfort us in our sorrowing. 
Thankfully, some days, there is an ease and peace at home that we are all thankful for.
Lydia can laugh at herself, and her smile is genuine and warm.   Good humour can abound!  Lighter days, allow us to catch our breath, and regain our perspective - always on the One who cares for us, and never leaves us. 
We are often asked, “How is Lydia doing?”  “She is doing well for someone who is recovering from a traumatic brain injury” is our standard response.  Or “She has come a long way, and we are so thankful, but she has a very long way to go, too.”  Both of these answers speak to the truth that is ever present in our lives:  we are on a very long journey of recovery with Lydia.  We are thankful for the progress she has made, and we face the future with hope for continued improvements.  We pray daily for more recovery, strength, and rest.  But this weary mother must confess that the journey is long and the path is not well marked.
We do not know what 2014 will hold.  Lydia will continue to work on her therapies and school.   She will keep trying to learn to run, and this winter will see her on the slopes at Chicopee, learning to ski again in Chicopee's assisted skiing program. She is a determined learner; our parental hearts cheer her on when we see the sheer effort she gives towards her recovery. She will keep working on her singing voice, and we will try to sing the journey together, one moment, or hour or day at a time.  May you do the same, whatever your journey may be.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  (Romans 15:13) 


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September, that back to school month, has flown by for us, as we have three children back to school, each in a different school.  Lydia is at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate, and loving it!  Her specialized educational needs are met in partnership with the school and her private rehabilitation team.  This means that she continues to receive Speech Language Therapy,  Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy, in addition to being enrolled in courses at Rockway.  Her daily attendance at Rockway is supported by a private Rehabilitative Certified Teacher or a Rehabilitation Support Worker.  This partnership has worked very well, with strong communication between the Rockway and Therapy teams.  We are so delighted for the progress that "back to school" means for Lydia.
Lydia has been very tired, with all of the cognitive strain that school puts on her.  She needs rest, and once again, night time rest is interrupted; her mind processes and won't shut down to allow her to rest.  She has two different capacities, and personalities: one that is positive, joyful and lively, when she is rested, and the other that is overwhelmed, despairing and challenged to do even small simple things, when she is tired.  Please pray for restorative rest each night.
We have acknowledged many times that this journey is bittersweet: joy and sorrow are intermingled.  We are in a season of sorrow that is sparked by Lydia's awareness of all that she has lost.  She knows what she used to be able to do, and grieves that her life is so hard now - a daily struggle to relearn, and learn anew. 
Her recovery and healing continued over the summer, but she still has difficulty with coordination and balance;  her gait is unsteady, and learning to run has proven to be very challenging.  Remarkable improvement is noticeable in her fine motor skills.  She is able to print and the tremor in her hand is considerably less.  Progress is being made, just at a slower pace than previously.

When someone dies, there are grieving rituals, and time given to mourn.  When someone suffers a significant loss, or disability, there is no time allotted to grieve.  Life continues. 

More than ever, Christ is the solid rock on which we stand.  All other ground is sinking sand.  We give to Him the weighty cares of this journey.  We ask Him to provide for us, and take care of us, day by day. 
James and I are feeling the strains of caregiving: the physical fatigue, and the emotional weightiness of this present journey.  And yet, we are grateful, that we can hold one another, and acknowledge the pain together.  We grieve and pray together.  We thank God that he has knit our hearts closely together. 
We hold to the promises of scripture, that He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it (Phil 1:6) and that He will strengthen us and help us and uphold us with His righteous right hand (Is 41:10).
Sometimes we recite Isaiah 43, inserting our names, and holding to the hope that scripture brings.
But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, (Lydia),
    he who formed you, (Lydia):
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

Your continued prayers and support are appreciated as we walk, upheld, in faith. 


Monday, July 22, 2013

100 Huntley

We have had many asking us for the link to our appearance on 100 Huntley Street, so here it is.  Our visit was memorable.  The folks there are so kind and genuine.  As the show is broadcast live, there is no opportunity for editing or second takes.  Lydia prepared for the show, but, understandably, she found herself quite nervous.  Thankfully, she enjoyed the opportunity.