First off, last Thursday was Matt’s last therapy appointment with his physical therapist here in Des Moines, Amy. The three of us have talked a lot this summer about things, where Matt is at, and where he is going. We had cut back to just once a week, and the three of us agreed that the cut back really wasn’t having any negative impact on things. Matt is still working hard at Timber Creek twice a week, and continues to do more and more around the house as well. It was a little sad, saying good-bye to Amy…harder than I thought it might be. Even though I know we’ll stay in touch and see her from time to time, she has been such a big part of Matt’s recovery and it will be strange not to see her on a regular basis. When Matt was discharged from Younker last December, Amy was the first one to greet us at Penn Ave Medical…it is so hard to think that we have worked with her for so long. She was there with us from very early on.
She encouraged Matt to check out QLI in Omaha, she recommended Timber Creek to him, she attended his baptism this summer…in everything she has continued to show her support and genuine concern for him. I think back to those early days when Matt was so weak, uncertain, and really held himself back from getting to know people…and I see him now, chatting with her, laughing and teasing her…just being himself. It is so priceless to me, that transformation. That is the stuff that matters the most to me. No matter what physical limitations remain…Matt is continuing to open himself up more and more and truly revealing his Matt-ness. I know that Amy played a part in that recovery…both Matt and I have the utmost respect for her, and are so very grateful for the chance to know her. We are so thankful for the many amazing people who have touched our lives through this experience.
Another group of folks who have come to mean so much to us, are the therapists and workers out at Timber Creek. They are so caring, genuine, and FUN to be around. We always leave there with a smile on our faces…the atmosphere out there is just good all around. You can feel the positive energy, and how much it affects the patients out there. One of the great people we have gotten to know is a guy named Merv. He’s a big guy, with a rugged exterior, a booming voice…and a gentle spirit. He seems like your average Joe…just a regular guy. We knew that Merv played football for ISU, and that he went on to play in the NFL…but we never knew the details. Well, apparently, Merv was quite the player! He played for ISU, then the Bills for several years back in the 70’s, and this past Saturday night he was inducted into the ISU Hall of Fame…and we just happened to be there to witness it! We had planned to go to the game earlier in the week…just thinking that it would be fun to go. So we got our tickets and soon found out about Merv’s upcoming induction and that a big group of people from Timber Creek were going to the game to help celebrate. We were so excited to be there for Merv and to cheer him on. We stopped by their tailgating before the game and wished him well. It was so much fun to see him in all his ISU gear, having so much fun and being honored by his college. The stadium was pretty packed that night, and we gave him a big old holler from our section when they introduced him at half time. It was just great to be there, and to support him.
The game itself…well, it stunk. UNI (another IA team) beat us (I’m sure Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Larry were thrilled). The seats we had were pretty bad too…the wheelchair seats at Jack Trice were a HUGE disappointment. Matt couldn’t really see much at all over the heads of the people standing in front of us. The next time the alumni association calls me, I’m going to give them an earful about it…all that money and the seats they ‘designate’ as accessible are ridiculous. But, it was a beautiful night, there was a nice cool breeze, and we tried to make the best of it. The highlight was definitely cheering on Merv at half time!
Sunday was Matt’s 32nd birthday!! We had family over for lunch, cake and ice cream (homemade, of course). Matt’s Aunt Bev, Uncle Rich, parents as well as Hope, Chad and the kids were here to celebrate. We spent the afternoon hanging out outside while the boys made the ice cream. It was another beautiful day out, and we had fun watching the kids play and just talking. Matt opened his gifts and had a good time just hanging out…he never likes to make a big fuss. It was a good day.
This week, we are approaching the two year anniversary of his hemorrhage. It’s amazing, crazy, and somewhat unreal that it has been nearly two years since that day. I find that some of the memories are getting fuzzier and fuzzier, and the pain is certainly duller than it was last year at this time. I can only hope that as more time goes by, September will return to one of my favorite months, instead of being flagged as the month our lives changed forever. In the meantime, we are just trying to continue living our lives the best way we can, making the most of things as they are, and hoping for the best. At the end of the day, I still try to close my eyes, take a deep breath, and know that we will be ok. Whatever comes our way, I know…I KNOW that we will be ok. God has taken us this far, and I know He will continue to keep us close as we head into the unknown. Matt and I are so blessed to have each other.