Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Take the Steps

Today was the day.
Nine years ago on Superbowl Sunday, I was contemplating my full load of classes, and the upcoming trip to Amsterdam during Spring Break. I had about a year and a half of recovery under my belt (literally!) and was enjoying what they call a "honeymoon period", where I was just racing from one thing to the next completely psyched that I finally had begun to find my voice. Life seemed to be going so slowly, and I strongly desired a fast forward button.

With the ring of the phone everything I saw as important ran through my fingers like sand. At ten o'clock I desperately wanted a rewind, or at least a pause. Throwing a sweatsuit and a black dress in my suitcase, I headed to the airport the next morning going to say goodbye to my sister, from what the doctors where predicting. Lord, please keep her alive until she is saved; I pleaded to my Savior all the way there.

She had been found earlier that day, on her bathroom floor in a coma, with a large gash in her head. There was no blood. Her head had landed on her hand, which had kept the wound from bleeding out during the 12 hours the doctors estimated that it had been since she had collapsed.

It was several days before we found out that an aneurysm had caused the bleed, which lead to the stroke, that landed my sister Robin on that floor. She was taken to another hospital for surgery where we were told that Robin had a 1 in 4 chance of surviving. Later, I found out that this surgeon was being gracious in his calculations. The actual chance of someone making it to the hospital in the condition Robin was in is actually around a 1 out of 10 chance. And out of that 10 percent, only 10 percent of those patients make it through surgery.
As the surgeons worked on Robin, I headed to the small hospital chapel, where I begged the Lord again to keep Robin around long enough to be saved.

She had been running around in circles looking for something for a while, and I was sure it was Him, even though she despised that I thought that. But I couldn't imagine Robin leaving this world without finding what she was truly looking for. He had to save her so she could see Him. Didn't He know that?!
I was doing what they call bargaining. Wanting to give God reasons to spare my sister. I knew I was grasping at straws, but I couldn't imagine her leaving before she found what she was looking for.
Six weeks later, Robin woke up... And after several weeks of speech therapy we found out that Robin did indeed find Him. Some people couldn't understand why God would allow something like this to happen to Robin, which shocked her. Her response shocked us. God saved me. She whispered in the little voice she had left.
She began to demonstrate this even further through out the months and years to come, as she learned to sit, talk, and even walk again.
Robin doesn't have any memory of the coma (or actually any events prior to her stroke), so she can't tell us what changed in those weeks. But I believe Jesus was not only with her in the darkness; I believe He let her see His face and feel His embrace through those weeks.
My sister still lives with a lot of limitations from that stroke. She has Parkinson like symptoms from the damage done by the two aneurysms that ruptured that day; including her shuffling walk.
She doesn't do stair very often, and when she does it takes everything she has to accomplish the task. She has the strength, but her brain doesn't tell each foot what it should be doing....or that she should shift her weight.....or move her hips. Things most of us do without even knowing it, she has to concentrate on immaculately.
But today she climbed those four steps, then descended four more, one leg slowly at a time, down into that pool of water. She had been very nervous about this day even though she talked about it often. She didn't want to fall, or embarrass herself....which she knew could happen, but she still really wanted to participate.
It took several people to help, and coax her through the obstacle, but Robin fared fairly well... Accomplishing the one task she has been planning on since the day she woke up; to be baptized.
After all that has happened in her life, Robin is still my superhero big sister, reminding me to face my fears and live my dreams: Even when there are steps involved.
Peace b with u,


lace1070 said...

Queli ~ What an amazing story ~ thanks for sharing such an intimate experience! God does work in mysterious ways ~ and praise God for your sister. I lost my big brother when a freak horse accident happened on a warm March afternoon ~ but he has passed his zeal for life and strength onto me and I am thankful for the short time we had together. Hugs to you ~ LACE