And this year, Thanksgiving comes a little early.
It's become easier and easier to thank God for things; small things even. First it was that Tony was alive at all, of course, but then it evolved into small gestures such as a wiggle of the toe, or a brief opening of his eyes. From there it was the fact that he was awake, and that he could take small sips of water. His moving from the ICU last week was huge and now, today, he will be transported from Atlanticare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City to JFK Acute Rehab Center in Edison (for those of you not from the Garden State, Edison is about a half hour from our house - certainly a lot closer than the 2 1/2 to 3 hours that we've been driving down to Atlantic City).
I cannot tell you how excited I am for the move. I'm excited to be able to see Tony far more often and for others to have the ability to go in and see him as well.
This past weekend, for the first time since he's been awake and alert, I was able to steal a few minutes with him alone. I want to be able to hug him, but that's a little difficult. So instead, I just told him to slide over in the bed a little bit so that I could just hop up there with him. We laid there and talked for about 20 minutes and I was glad to have the chance to ask him all the questions that have been brewing in my head the past week; how much does he remember before the accident? What is the first time he remembers waking up? What is scaring him the most right now? How gross is the food (ok, so I already know the answer to this question)?
I told him that we don't even know the exact number of people that have been praying for him, but we know it's quite a lot (upwards of 15,000) and we know that those prayers are coming from all over the world.
I read him some of the numerous (NUMEROUS) cards and postcards that he's received. He didn't care if he knew the people sending them or not, he didn't care if they were short or long - he only cared that people were telling him that they were praying for him. It made all the difference in the world to him.
He stared at the wall, listening for a long time and then interrupted me.
"I should be dead."
"Hmmm?" I knew what he was saying, but I wanted to hear his
"There's no reason I should be alive. I should be dead right now."
I nodded my head and started into the cliche comments that I've been trying to avoid the past few weeks.
"Yeah, but Tony, God knows what he's doing. He had everything perfectly in place that morning...".
He interrupted again (he's not much on manners these days), "No, it was an accident. Accidents happen all the time. God knew it was going to happen and he kept me safe. He kept me alive even though technically, I should be dead."
It was the first time since the accident that I was sure he was beginning to understand full gamut; the severity of his injuries, the variables that were 'just so' that morning, all the things that could have gone wrong - if not for a millimeter here or a shift in direction there, things would be far different today.
And so I have a confession to make: sometimes my faith falters. Every now and again, I have a lapse. There are times when I've felt completely static in my love and desire for God's role in my life. I've questioned every single facet of the belief system that I grew up with. I've questioned whether or not, at the end of the day, when my faith is under fire, if it would completely collapse. And there was a moment (a brief moment) when I wished it was me in that hospital bed. I wished that it was my life that was being shaken to the very brink - I wanted to know that I wouldn't buckle.
Friends, my faith has been under fire. A month ago, I received news that I found devastating. 'I'm not ready to lose a brother' is the thought that cycled through my hyper active brain over and over and over again. It wasn't until last week that I realized how under fire my faith had been, and that I hadn't buckled.
If I wasn't sure what I believed before, I am right now;
Miracles really do happen.
Faith can be strong enough to survive.
I ask that you continue praying for Tony. He's slightly discouraged, but the news of every miracle keeps him from staying that way.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the cards. Keep them coming! You've no idea how that simple act has helped to keep Tony encouraged! Some have asked, and the address that you can send postcards to is:
One Haver Place
Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889
additionally, his pictures (which will be updated really soon) can be viewed at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/moebe97 under Tony's album.
I Love you all madly and I'm so grateful for each and every one of you. Seriously. No joke.