Monday, November 5, 2012

1 Year Ago Today

Right now it is 4:30pm on November 5th  2012.  A year ago today, in about 2 hours, Ethan will call and ask to spend the night at a friend's house.  I will feel like saying no (because we're having lava cakes for dessert) but will say yes instead so he can hang out with his friends.   I can save him a cake after all.  At about 7pm tonight we will get a call from the police.   And so begins the evening that changed our lives.  Changed it. In negative and positive ways.  For about 2 weeks now this day has been lingering, coming closer, and bringing back lots of memories both good and bad.  I'm glad it's almost over and I'm hoping the general anxiety we have been feeling will pass with it.  After all, things are going great.  Ethan is doing great in school; he has good friends and is really enjoying his freshman year.   I think all the questions about why he wears a brace and how he got his scars have passed.  He has settled into school and things are pretty normal.  He is still in physical therapy but he has made outstanding progress.  He ran the mile in PE at least 3 times, although lately his leg is bothering  him when he does.  Today we went to the doctor and discussed his next surgery which is tentatively planned for July 2013.  The surgery will give him an artificial artery and even out the wound site.  I think he has pushed his collateral veins as far as they can go; he needs a real artery to get the blood flow to his leg so that he will be unlimited.  Unlimited is a perfect word because Ethan truly will have no limits.  He is alive today and can do anything he sets his mind to do.  And for that we are profoundly grateful.  But it was a long road.  And it left us all a little scarred.  I think we were pretty paranoid to start with, total helicopter parents, and now we really struggle to just let him be a kid.  I'm nauseous every time he gets on his skateboard.  I worry every time my 11 year old rides his bike to school, every time my daughter gets in her car to drive.   But then I take a breath and move forward.  My husband will calm me down or if it's his turn to freak out I try to do the same.  Life must go on and none of us really know how long we have.  The best lesson we learned from this incident was to cherish each day you have with your loved ones.  Everything else doesn't matter...and I mean everything.  I remember sitting in the hospital thinking I wouldn't care if my whole house burnt down, if every material possession was gone, as long as I had my family.  Ethan was unconscious at the time and every time he did wake up he wasn't really coherent. I was desperate for him to wake up and recognize me, to know I was there.  It was the simplest thing...just wanting to spend some more time with the person you love.  And we did get more time, so now our goal is not to waste it!  And to fight the fear that will cripple us if we let it.  To enjoy our children and family and friends.  Ethan fought hard this year.  He fought to live, to stand, to walk, and to run.  And even though we fought to be normal again we also have to fight not to forget the lessons we have learned.  And isn't that what life is all about?  To love, be grateful, and to learn and be the best we can be. 

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