Sunday, August 7, 2011

What I've Learned

This is Jon, finishing up a relaxing weekend while Brenda and the kids enjoy themselves at a church swim party tonight. I've made a lot of progress, but don't think I'm quite ready for the pool yet!

We are about two and a half months into our adventure and I really still have no idea how long the recovery process will take, but we are certainly in it for the long-haul. I went back and re-read some of Brenda's posts and realized just how little I remember about the timing of some of those important milestones. Reading those posts was emotional for me, but it was also very educational. That got me thinking about the things I have learned so far, so please excuse my attempts at depth in this post.

I have learned that I am a little stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. I went back to work 53 days after suffering what the doctors tell me should have been at least a "devastating" stroke. I am proud of that fact and also proud of how much I have accomplished since May 20th. I have also learned that there are a lot of things you simply can not do by yourself. I can't imagine trying to get through this without the support of Brenda, Jacob, Brooke, my parents, Brenda's parents, our work friends, our church friends and the prayers of people we don't even know and I certainly can't name here. My recovery to this point has definitely been a team effort and I feel like there is a multitude of people counting on me and invested in my full recovery.

I have learned that my family has in some small way touched the lives of more people than I could have ever dreamed. We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the outpouring of response and honestly never realized just how many people cared about us. That is a wonderful feeling and is also tremendously humbling.

I have learned that my children are incredibly strong and remarkably resilient. They have handled so much with such grace this summer. I am extremely proud of them and consider it a compliment that they have turned out to be such fine people.

I have learned how much a kind word, a smile, a card, or a prayer can mean to someone. That support kept us going through so many difficult times and I hope we can provide that same lift and comfort to others.

I have learned that the human brain is a complicated and amazing organ. The fact that I've regained so much after such a significant injury to my brain has also helped me realize how rarely we really push ourselves the way we are capable.

I have also learned that there are some easy lifestyle changes to make that will hopefully pay off. I've eaten more salads in the past two months than in the previous 40 years combined and I am also exercising regularly now. Of course, my exercise comes in the form of therapy, but I'm counting it!!!

I've learned (and hopefully I can stick with it) that I need to make and spend more time for my family. I took Friday morning off so I could watch Jacob's final day of football camp and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Probably much more than Jacob did :)

In therapy, they keep stressing the fact that I have to relearn the way to do simple tasks and I've relearned a lot this summer. I've relearned how special my wife is and just how important she is to my life. Brenda has been my biggest cheerleader throughout this process, but she has also been so much more: my strength, my best friend, my shoulder to cry or lean on, my confidant, my kick in the pants when I needed it, my scheduler, my driver, my personal chef and my soulmate. I know I am leaving some things out, but hopefully you (and she) get the idea.

I have also relearned the importance of focusing on the little things I can do as opposed to the bigger things I can't do yet. I still need to work on re-learning how not to get frustrated by those things, but I'm working on it.

I have re-learned the power of prayer and the strength we can draw from it. I know that we can't pretend to understand God's plan for us. But I know there was a reason for this and I certainly hope to make the most of my second chance.

We get back to another busy week of work and therapy this week and I look forward to the chance to share more progress with you in the near future. Thank you for letting me ramble tonight and thanks again to everyone of you for your love, support and prayers!!!


  1. Dear Jon:

    You, indeed, are a very strong person. Who knows why we go through what we do. You and I share the fact that we almost didn't make it and because of it we are stronger than ever. I don't know why you or I have been given a second chance and maybe we never will...but that's okay. Someone told me that maybe God needed me to just be "me." I would like to think that maybe there is someone I can minister to. Perhaps you are needed to give someone encouragement, a kind word or a smile. God's plan is not something we can comprehend. We have to trust, and that's just what I am doing.

    I am so glad you are still with us. I give thanks to God for you and will continue to pray for you and your family.

    God bless you real good!


  2. Jon, you are a beacon for others who may experience difficulties of various kinds. You are blessed with a wonderful family who love and support you. Your friends are many and we continue to pray for steady progress. The expectant prayer accomplishes much and I think you are a testament to that fact. Fight on!