My dad came to visit for a week. The first time I’ve seen him since his stroke. So of course he had to recount the whole story to me. And reliving it again I was in awe. That he was there in my kitchen telling me the story with perfect clarity, the only evidence of the stroke an occasional inability to remember the word he needs… amazing.
He was swimming when it happened. He was completely paralyzed on his left side. And had no language ability at all. A Chinese woman he’d befriended was swimming next to him and noticed his distress and got some guys to pull him out. They got him to the hospital and despite his inability to process language he somehow managed to signal his consent for the drugs, without which the damage would have become permanent. Signaled clearly enough that the doctors treated him with very risky medication even though they hadn’t yet managed to reach my mom.
And three days later he was released from the hospital. He didn’t need any physical or occupational therapy. He’s just getting speech therapy, and even that he’ll probably stop sooner rather than later. I’m still astounded at his recovery. It’s such a beautiful, amazing gift. And more than that, the whole experience has been wonderfully healing for our whole family. Old wounds that seemed impossibly deep gently eased. Oh yes, God is so very good.
Dad delighted in showing me all his cool therapy apps on his new iPad mini and in letting the kids play along. Bella was very good at the analogies. My bright girl. Sophie, Ben, and Anthony just loved the excuse to play with a fun new toy.
Anyway, it was lovely to have him here, even if his stay was pretty short. Ben, who wouldn’t talk to him when he was here after Lucia was born, took to him right away this time. Even let Grandad make him breakfast and put on his shoes. That’s huge. Anthony and Lucia were both friendly too and of course the big girls love my dad. Everyone pestered him to read them books. Which he happily obliged, though Bella had to sometimes help him out when he couldn’t manage a word.
Dad accompanied us to All Saints Day Mass at the Pastoral Center, or as the kids call it, Daddy’s work. And Dom’s colleague George Martell, who is an amazing photographer, obliged us with a couple of beautiful pictures snapped right as we were leaving. I love the beautiful family portrait (even if I did forget to take off the backpack and Ben would do his usual non-cooperation thing). But that picture of my dad and Lucia is priceless. I think I need to print it off and frame it. I am just so very glad he was here to hold her, to enjoy her. What a gift. What grace.
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