Today begins a new phase.
Today my wife comes home, to our new house, for the first time.
I’ve spent the last few days trying to prepare for her return; making modifications, moving boxes, assembling furniture, and the like. It’s definitely not how I imagined things, but I’m realizing that sort of thinking can lead to a trap — a trap of mourning a life that won’t return. We can hope for an approximation, and I believe in her full recovery, but our old life is the one we had, this is the life that we have now.
Kristian often says the most poignant things in passing now, as if they’re easily obvious. It frequently catches me off guard. This morning, her last morning in the rehab hospital, we woke up and said that we loved each other (as we normally do). Then she told me that she was grateful for what she was learning from the accident. I asked what she meant, and she said that it showed her in real life how much I love her, since “nobody really knows until something hard happens if their person is going to be there for them, and now I know that you’ll always be there for me.” I remembered every night I spent at her bedside from her coma until now, and the difficult days ahead where I’ll still remain beside her, and I cried.
She’s right. It’s hard to imagine truly what depth of love you have for someone until life’s challenges bring it into sharp focus. In many ways, the life we have now, if not yet, has the potential to be so much better, more fulfilling, and more meaningful than the one we had. It’s a life that has seen both intense struggle and immense progress.
There’s something about looking into the mouth of destruction and despair that makes everything on the other side seem less threatening and intimidating. Two months ago, I feared daily for the health of my son and for the life of my wife.
Today, she is walking out of the rehabilitation hospital on her own, sans wheelchair, sans cane, and sans splint. I couldn’t possibly be more proud of her.
Things will continue to get better. I believe it.
- Jason Edwards