All three of us were excited for Saturday to finally be here. Lindsay and Florent were coming and Jackie did not have any therapies scheduled until Sunday. Jim and I took turns and quickly ran over to the hotel for showers. We are still shift sleeping through the nights and haven’t returned to our routine of sleeping at the hotel every other night. Jim came back from the hotel about half an hour before they arrived.
Once reunited we had some time to catch up before Jackie took his nap. We were trying to stay as close to Jackie’s routine as possible. I joked with Jackie and said that I was going to lay down beside him and nap with him. He immediately filled the empty space on his bed with his arm and knee. Then Lindsay asked if she could lay there and immediately he lowered his arm and leg so she could lay beside him. She held his hand and he almost instantly fell asleep. During his nap Lindsay said that his grip never stopped as she had made several attempts to move and let him sleep on his own. Ultimately he did not sleep as long as he normally does but it was better than nothing. We decided to order in some lunch. When it arrived we had moved Jackie out of bed and decided to sit on the second floor terrace and enjoy the beautiful day. We went through the gym as I wanted to pick up a drink for Jackie. When I left the kitchen area Jim said we were going out the back way. I walked by the conference room connected with the gym and heard the word ‘surprise’. I was completely and utterly taken back by what I saw. A total of 15 of our family members, including Lindsay and Florent, were waiting to see us in the decorated conference room. Jim had emailed some of the family a week or so ago when he thought of the idea to have a big gathering not only to celebrate my birthday but also so Jackie could spend time with some of the family.
So what was the double surprise? Since Jim’s birthday is in early October, the family turned it into a double birthday party for both of us. Needless to say it was an incredible day. Jim and I kept a keen eye on Jackie as this was the largest gathering he had attended since February. You could tell on his face that he was enjoying himself. Our families had brought back a piece of his life that had been missing. He took naps here and there but stayed strong and made it through the entire party. A huge and impressive accomplishment. PTL
We all went down to the lobby and said our goodbyes. Lindsay and Florent were able to stay a little longer. I think if they had to leave with everyone else Jackie would have shut down. Lindsay’s presence calms him. I can’t even begin to explain it. We headed to the second floor terrace for just a quick dose of fresh air. Florent opened presents since his birthday was early in September, Lindsay opened a birthday gift that arrived late in the mail and Jim and I opened gifts from Lindsay and Florent. Jackie enjoyed watching and listening. His birthday is not until January.
We headed back to the room and it was obvious Jackie was beyond exhaustion. We got him into bed right away and he immediately fell asleep. After a little while, Lindsay woke him to say goodbye. Even though he was sound asleep he woke quickly to her voice and said, “I love you.”
Blessed is the word that sums things up for today. Blessed that we still have Jackie, blessed that Lindsay and Jackie have a special bond, blessed that we have an incredible family and blessed that each day brings new hope for continued recovery. PTL
“Families are the compass that guide us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.”
— Brad Henry
“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”
— Desmond Tutu