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Happy Thanksgiving, dear family and friends.

It is hard to fathom we are going into our second year, still trudging
down this long, hard road.  As in all struggles we have had our highs and
lows.. we have tasted every emotion.   We have gone through all the
stages of grief in dealing with a catastrophic event and a tragic loss.

We often talk about where we were a year ago.. back at Westside....

nursing aid woes, major bathing & shaving routines, catheters and
bowel programs, navigating by wheel chair, still drinking thru straws
& being spoon-fed (most meals brought in by family as food trays
were grave), battling UTIs and serious staff infections
one-after-another.  Sometimes it doesn't seem real, rather like a very
bad nightmare... we have come so far.  There are no words to describe
our gratitude and relief at the progress Chris has made.

But realistically that doesn't tell the whole story.  Now that the
horrors of our worst nightmare are over, we are still dealing with
difficult realities, at another level... I think that's only human.   
As we continue to inch forward, with each achievement there are new
goals...the bar is raised, the struggle continues as heartfelt and
difficult as ever.   There are inevitable low spots... patience wanes,
determination falters, spirits sag.  He is still plagued with monumental
everyday soreness, fatigue, and now huge blisters on both big toes,
which has put him back in the wheelchair.  He calls his an "aged" body
especially every morning, tight and stiff like nothing we've ever
known.  At age twenty-nine, I guess its only natural to mourn the able hunky
guy he once was.. his active life-style and his ability to "do anything"
is a close memory.  Along with the loss of function, more importantly,
is the loss of personal identity and loss of confidence in everything
you are and everything you wanted to be.

He is struggling with that right now.. he is comparing himself to friends. 

"Not only am I not where I thought I would be personally and career-wise..  now I feel so handicapped  on top of it all." 

It is a new low.   Dr Dale has said that it is all a part of the
journey.. and something that Chris will have to figure out and come to
terms with on his own.  He will do it... and be better for it all.  But the process is agonizing.. it will not be hurried or come easily.

 Mom has to come to terms with it too.. sometimes at any unexpected
time, it will wash over me again, the unfairness of it all.. the
sadness... the meaninglessness

... but then I remember vividly a time when I was dealing with a new and
weakened body after Chris' emergency birth.  I remember going to Target
with my mom and cousin Carol for my very first excursion and being
overwhelmed with fatigue, bright lights, and difficulty focusing with a
peculiar lessened eye-sight.  I took a break and went out of the store
to a park bench where I sat alone, sobbing, head buried in my hands. 
When I looked up, I saw through my tears a blind man waving a red-tipped
cane in front of him back and forth as he entered the store.  That was
IT for me... it was like a wake-up call or message from above.  I was
immediately up-lifted with a gratitude that dissolved all my self pity..
afterall I had a tiny, but beautifully healthy baby boy and  the eclampsia
that afflicted me had not damaged my mind and body.. I knew how very
fortunate I was.  Chris' loss today is definitely much greater, but I
hope the day comes soon when he too can feel more gratitude for what he
does have and less heartache for what he has lost.

We are trying to keep busy.  Chris is busy this time of year with
football, football, football.. a couple of fantasy teams and
conversations every day with other fantasy fanatics - thank goodness for
internet and cell phones.  He has also done some writing... good stuff
about his personal "story" and also starting up his blog spot again with
the Dolphins (check out his latest article: google, "Phin Phinatic"). 
Books & movies occupy much of our spare time - thank goodness for
DVDs and Salt Lake's Gateway Mall theater only 10 min away.  Last
weekend we visited a museum on the Brigham Young campus in Provo..and a
beautiful new $100M Natural History Museum on thirteen acres just opened
in Salt Lake City, showcasing the state's Native American story, the
rich archeological history of the state, as well as the making of it's
physical history and natural beauty.  After church last Sunday & a
football afternoon, we saw the Univ of Utah's production of "Hair"- it
was strange seeing the familiar hippies of "a few years ago" now
cultural icons of a historic period in time - lots of great sounds with a
rousing "Let the Sunshine In" finish that brought us to our feet.  I
also look forward to my weekly bridge class-&-play nite with a new
friend and am working on some crochet projects that I hope to finish
before Christmas.

One of our favorite happy pass-times is spent with our newest and
bestest friend, our very own Baxter-boy...  more commonly known to Chris
as "Buddy, Fuzzy-face, Baxterino" and to me as "Lover Boy," "Sweetie
"Baby Cakes", etc
- he is absolutely the most adorable little guy EVER and always puts a
smile on our face, our favorite souvenir from Salt Lake - we both luv
him to pieces & don't know what we did without him.  He has also
promoted a healthy routine to my day as we now take an extended (at
least a mile) morning walk EVERY day - first initiated by my brother
when he was here a few months ago - thanx bro.

And I have to say we LOVE Salt Lake City... love the mountain view we take in every day back-&-forth to Neuroworx (the massive Wasatch
peaks are familiar loyal friends, now once again showy & glistening
with covers of snow), love the excursions we take every week-end
exploring canyons & lofty city views here or in nearby Provo or Park
City.  It is such a gift that we are able to experience this
magnificent grandeur long-term & in depth.

We are ever-so-looking-forward to our Thanksgiving visit from Gene &
Allison.  We will be served a complete Thanksgiving dinner - with all
the trimmings - at one of our favorite dining spots, rustic Silver Fork
Lodge near Brighton Ski Resort and beautiful Silver Lake.  The drive
through Big Cottonwood Canyon and the Wasatch National Forest is top of my list of favorite places.

This Thanksgiving we want to wish you a special holiday, hopefully
gathered with family and loved ones... & many thanks for your
continued notes of love & support.  

I'll close with a verse that is stucking with me - from a stone in my
neighbor's garden.

                   Some people look for happiness everywhere.

                       Other's create it where-ever they are.