Dan: Still working out on therapy at 22 years Post Injury!
Today was the big mile marker of 22 years since Dan's accident. It is usually a somber day, in that we stop and pause for a moment and reflect on how his accident changed our lives forever. Today, however was a good day. We went to church and also had our family over for dinner... it is always good to have the grandchildren come over... they are such a joy.
As I think back on our lives, I have known Dan longer with his disabilities than before.... and I still love him. I first met Dan in my small, home town of Soda Springs, Idaho. He was the 'new boy' that moved to our town, and the first time I met him it was at a service project where we were raking the rocks out of a local park so that they could plant some grass. I was smitten at first site, and used my girlish charm to get him to ask me out. I was his very first date.... we were sixteen at the time.
We became good friends in high school, but it did not develop into a romantic relationship until after he came back from his mission to Peru (for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). I had written to him during the two years he was on his mission, and when he came home, he was ready to get serious! It was only twenty-seven days from the time I first saw him until he proposed to me! Crazy!
He still has the watch that he was wearing at the time he was hit by the car, up a snowy canyon road -- those many years ago. The crystal on the watch was broken in the accident. It was one of his favorite watches - he had earned it as a result of a sales promotion from Citizen, and it was a really nice Citizen watch that had both an analog and a digital display. (that was pretty cool stuff back in 1986!) Anyway -- I had the crystal fixed and got it all working again, and then engraved on the back of it -- "though battered and torn, and a little bit worn.... I still love you".
Years later, he bought me a really nice Citizen watch that has a solar face on it and it never needs a battery (it is great!). He engraved this on the back.. "Because you loved me, my world is a better place because of you". We really like that song - because you loved me... and have adopted it as our song... especially the 'you were my voice when I couldn't speak' part! Those who know us - know that I tend to translate a lot for Dan when his speech is unintelligible.
I guess I am a bit reflective tonight - on our journey together through the years. Yes, the accident was traumatic and changed the course of our lives... but it did not ruin our lives. We still have each other, we still have our family, and we still have our faith. Through all this, we have learned that happiness comes from our relationship with each other and with our children. We know that Dan will be fully normal in the next life, and that knowledge gives us much comfort. We also know that it is possible for him to be healed in this life -- and that technology will be advanced to be able to help him... and so we continue on.
I am so proud of Dan and all the therapy he is doing. We have not seen great improvements yet, but I know that if there are improvements to be made, that we are doing our part and we will see how far we can go with our first stem cell treatment. (I guess I should preface that comment with the fact that we HAVE SEEN measurable progress... and that is SUPER GREAT!!! The measurable progress has not made it to increased daily FUNCTIONAL progress - and that is what we continue to work toward.) We really do want to 'See Dan run..!' We want to see him have the balance to walk without fear of falling and to run! We know that we still have a long way to go to make this happen, but we are UP FOR THE JOURNEY! Just think what can happen in another 22 years...!
Thanks for all your love, your prayers and support. We couldn't do it without YOU!
Keep up the good work, Dan!!