In January, when Gram spent ten days saying goodbye to us in hospice, I was certain that it was the most broken my heart would feel for a very long time.
In August, when our baby had two weeks of hospitalizations, I was positive that I had never been so helpless.
In September, when all of my kids left for school - when it was clear that all of them were becoming independent, I was sure my life would never be the same.
But this . . . this one is breaking my soul.
I'm not sure which parts are the hardest: the big kids asking what exactly "brain damage" entails; Yoda praying every night that her daddy is home for Christmas; having to leave him alone in that bed, when he says, "you are the only thing that makes me feel safe"; sneaking downstairs at night just to sit in his office - just to feel him, to be in his space - to soak in every piece of him I can; to see his coffee pot empty in the morning; to hear him talk to me in words that don't quite make sense, and see the fear in his eyes when he says, "I didn't mean that - those aren't the right words, I'm just really . . . "
Really what - we don't know. Nobody knows.
The doctors tell us he is critical but stable as long as he is medicated and laying down. But he is not OK and nobody is telling us that he will be. But we are all in agreement that we should move him - that a new set of eyes, a new set of ears may find a glimmer of something - an "x-marks-the-spot" - a place to start digging.
God I love him.
If love were the elixir he'd be Hercules.
The fear in Yoda's eyes is familiar. They are my five-year-old eyes. When somebody tells you your parent is very sick, when you don't know if you'll get a bedtime story or who's house you'll be at for dinner, when you say, "It's OK, we will take our stockings and tree to the hospital at Christmas. As long as we can be with Daddy it will be OK," when those things happen, your world cracks just a little bit.
Our world is cracking a little bit. We are holding it together - we will be OK. I will be with him every minute I can be, I will advocate for him, bring him ginger lotion, goad him into eating just a bite or two more, never-ever leave him without kissing his lips and telling him he is the most beautiful part of my life. The kids will step up. Punk will finish behind-the-wheel and try to get his license, Kooka will do an extra load of laundry, Yoda will draw pictures for his room and read him stories by his bed. He will let go of things he can't control, he will let us love him.
But until he walks back in this house and says "Hey baby I'm home," none of us will be the same.