Most of you know that 1 year ago yesterday, my little brother was in an ATV accident that left him fighting for his life after suffering a TBI. My mom and I were in Cancun. I took her for her 50th birthday, we'd anticipated this trip for almost a year. It was beautiful and perfect, we were even upgraded to another resort with a stunning ocean view. We got there Saturday afternoon, Monday morning as soon as we got up we got the call.
I remember it so well. The alarm went off at 8:30 am. Within a couple minutes Dustin was calling, via Facetime due to having wifi only. He started telling me that Christian had been in an accident. Once we heard that he'd been life-flighted to Tulsa, we knew it was very serious. I'll never forget watching my mom drop to her knees crying, screaming and praying in the room floor. Ft. Smith is a big town, so for them to have to send him to Tulsa was bad. We didn't know until we got back that it was because the Ft. Smith hospital didn't even expect him to live.
The next several hours were spent trying to get flights out of Mexico asap. The soonest we could get out was the following morning at 6 am. What the heck were we supposed to do for the rest of the day? How do you go on with your day after you get this news? We sat in the room for a while, crying and praying. Finally, we said we needed to just go sit outside at the beach. What good was it doing us sitting in the room? So, we went down and sat for a little bit and walked along the beach. A storm came, which forced us back inside for pretty much the rest of the day. Our flight left at 6 am the following morning, we made it back to Tulsa that afternoon.
I'll also never forget the feeling getting off the plane, driving to the hospital and walking into that room seeing my little brother hooked up pretty much on life support. My mom, dad and I cried and held each other and dad had to pretty much drag us in the room. Hardest thing ever. It continued to be hard to see him, so hard. Eventually though, it got better.
The next several days were spent watching his numbers, which weren't good. The number that was monitoring the pressure on his brain was only getting higher. A few days later (1 week after accident) after the number kept growing all day, the doctor said we had to make the choice whether we wanted an emergency surgery or not. A surgery to go in and remove 2 huge pieces of his skull. The pressure was only increasing and there was no more room. Of course we said yes, it was so scary. After this, it wasn't good. Things didn't look good when they went in to do the surgery. When the doctor spoke to us afterward, we were told to be thinking about what we wanted to do, he could die. This was the 2nd hardest moment. Watching my parents crying on the floor of the hospital hallway. I picked them up and told them it was time to practice that faith that they had taught me my entire life. We weren't accepting this or giving up on Christian.
Honestly, the next several months are a blur. Scary times, moments of what seemed like progress, then steps backwards. He opened his eyes for the first time on Sept 21, but that was it. His eyes would open, but nothing, he wasn't there. From Oct-Dec he went to a rehab facility in Bethany, OK. In December he went back to Tulsa to have the skull plates put back in. Another scary day, but he made it through surgery fine. He spent some more time in the hospital before going to a rehab center in Tulsa for a short time.
Also in the midst of all of this, our dad had a heart attack! So we had Christian on one floor and dad 2 floors below. That week was a major hardship. Our dad is actually very healthy and active, thank God. So after a minor surgery and a few days on that floor, he was back by Christians side. You'd never even known he had a heart attack. He did have to take it easy though obviously.
Finally in February, almost 6 months later, he started to wake up! Up to this point, there had still been nothing, blank stares and gazes only. The first sign of anything was as mom and grandma were leaving the room and telling him bye. He actually mouthed the word "bye" to them. HUGE! From here other things started to happen. He would hug occasionally if they laid their head on his chest. On Valentine's day mom got her first kiss from him! What a sweet day that was.
He's missed a lot this last year. He'd just started his first job, that he'd been trying to get for months and months. He's missed football games and practices. He's missed starting his senior year in high school. Our great uncle Bob passed away. Birthdays and holidays have gone by.
But my oh my has he made progress. He's talking up a storm, remembering names and songs, eating like a typical 17 year old boy and making us all laugh. Just last week he started moving his left arm for the first time. About a month ago he started moving his left leg. It's definitely hard to see him in the state he is in, but when we think back to where he was, he's a million steps ahead.
People always say they don't know how we can remain so positive, so full of faith. There are times in life when you can literally do absolutely nothing but trust in God, have faith and give it ALL to him. That is not a bad thing, it's more comforting than anything else could ever be. Of course we have bad days, we're only human. But we know He has a plan, He has our boy, and He will not let us down.
This was the last weekend I spent with Christian before the accident, the last photo I took of him-
If I could go back, I would just squeeze him a little bit tighter when I took him back to my mom on Sunday.
Right now, we're waiting to hear a final decision from the state of Oklahoma. There is an amazing rehab facility in Florida that has accepted him and wants to help him. We've only been turned downed by rehab facilities in Oklahoma and all over. This boy only deserves the best, so please be praying that he will receive just that.
I know this is long, I know it's all over the place. I thought about writing this post for over a month, I prayed about it before I started it. It's taken me well over a week to write this, it's been emotional and hard to relive some of these times. I just want to say thank you. Thank you for always loving and supporting our family throughout this last year. Thank you for all the news sites sharing his story, the fundraisers that are still being put on, the donations, the cards/letters/messages full of kind words and hope. Please continue to pray for all of us. He still has a long way to go, but praise God he is making progress, he's coming back! :)
If you have a Facebook, you can like the page here and continue to follow along with Christian and our family. If you'd like to, I'd love for you to share his photo, story, or even just the #prayformayberry. The more people praying for our boy, the better.