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Steven’s Story

On 8/13/12 Steven & his brother Aaron were in an automobile accident. Aaron didn't survive the accident. Steven sustained a severe TBI. He was airlifted to CRMH where he was on a vent, underwent a craniectomy & medically induced coma.  On 9/7 he was transferred to Shepherd Ctr in Atlanta, GA for rehab until 10/6.  He began outpatient rehab at Pathways in Decatur, GA on 10/8.  Steven left VA not being able to sit up, he left GA walking unassisted! A MIRACLE! His recovery is one day at a time with God, Mom, Dad, Aaron, family & friends.  

Latest Journal Update

What's Next?

Hello our dear CaringBridge family!  It has been too long...I hope you are still with us!  I'm not sure what happened to March.  I truly think we only recovered from Constraint Induced Therapy in late March only to go right into a busy April which of course includes getting through another holiday.  We're told that it's supposed to get better.  I'm not sure how that's possible.  We always attempt to include celebrating Aaron's life in our holidays.  For Easter we took spring plants to the accident scene.  We were thankful to see a tulip getting ready to bloom and most importantly Aaron's Forget Me Not plant survived!  As we were finishing up we had the privilege of meeting a nice lady that knows Steven through work that he did on her house in his carpenter days.  It was so sweet of her to take time to stop, but then again no one wants to miss out on seeing our miracle guy!  We had lunch at the Swinging Bridge restaurant which has become one of Steven's favorites.  Upon arrival Carlan spotted the burger special "Aaron's Burger"... we found out that the burger was named after one of our Aaron's hunting buddies.  Our dear friend Mark Flippo taught me about God Winks....our Easter was full of them! 

Okay, back to March...the guys enjoyed attending their annual men's conference.  They returned home with many stories.  Some of which involved Aaron memories which I'm always eager to hear.  I'm thankful that Carlan takes time out to get away with Steven.  It not only allows for quality guy time, it also gives Mom some girl time.  I always end up counting down to when my guys return.  This year they returned with all smiles and a gift bag full of butterfly treasures.  I'm very thankful & blessed to have such loving & caring guys. 

Right after the guys get away we had the privilege of attending the Annual Brain Injury Conference.  We're thankful for scholarships that afforded us the opportunity to attend.  When I heard the Keynote Speaker was Rosemary Rawlins, I couldn't contain my excitement!  I have been following this amazing lady for several months on BrainLine.org.  Rosemary is an amazing caregiver to her husband who sustained a severe TBI and like Steven experienced a miraculous recovery.  I was determined to meet her before we left!  As we listened to Rosemary speak tears freely fell as we were immediately taken back to the knock on our door.  We could personally & painfully relate to every experience that she went through.  She was speaking the language that we selfishly wish we knew nothing about.  But, at the same time it was a reminder that there are others that have traveled the road that we have.  TBI survivors are true inspirations!  Rosemary's husband; Hugh has Steven's same spirit of spreading the message of "No matter what, you can't give upNo matter how long recovery takes, you can't quit!  I'm thankful that Rosemary attended the last session.  As soon as the session ended, without hesitation I went to her & gave her a big hug.  I introduced myself and my guys & thanked her for being an inspiration to me.  We had our pic taken together and promised to keep in touch.  I know without a doubt that meeting was no coincidence.  I look forward to our paths crossing again very soon! 

So here we are with Constraint Induced Therapy behind us, SO what's next?  As Steven becomes more independent, my role continues to change which leaves me asking what's next for Steven, what's next for Mom & Dad, what's next for us as a family?  This stage of our journey is both scary and exciting (my prayer is that I chose faith, not fear). 

Steven has returned to attending the Brain Injury support group meetings, both for young adult survivors and also the one for all ages.  I anticipate that he will become more and more involved.  He actually set up the speaker for April's meeting!  I'm doing better with his independence than I expected!  I just know without a doubt that Steven is going to live a happy and healthy life, all while bringing honor to Aaron's memory.  You might already know this, but in case you missed it...we are proud parents!

Steven has also been busy preparing for fall semester at Virginia Western. He has been meeting with a career coach to explore options.  He has some time to research his options before the fall semester begins.  We're thankful for the connections he is making.  He's exploring options with the Department of Rehabilitative Services for financial assistance for his next semester.  If anyone is deserved of getting assistance, it's Steven.  It's been a blessing observing Steven making his own appointments and for the most part going to appointments alone.  While a part of me wants to continue to say, "Hey, I can do that for you!" I know taking these all important steps makes Steven feel more independent and is a reminder to Carlan and I that he is going to be okay!

As we find ourselves asking what's next, it almost feels like we're kind of stuck in the middle.  In the beginning of this journey was the knock on the door, followed by Aaron's life celebration coupled with Steven's recovery & rehabilitation which brings us to where we are right now which is the middle because we are still traveling to the end of the story that God has written. For selfish reasons we would like to change our story, but we can't so we will continue trusting the author of our life.  As Steven becomes more independent I find myself often contemplating what's next for me personally.  I'm praying for God's guidance about some options I might want to explore.  I was recently studying & was blown away as I was reading a devotion about our plan vs His plan.  I must share a brief portion of what I feel had my name written all over:

If you’ve been traveling this world’s broken road for a while, you might feel stuck in the middle.

The middle can be where we call on God and wonder if He hears our cries.

The middle might be where doubts rage loud, and our Savior grows quiet.

The middle can feel like life doesn’t make sense, faith seems foolish and hope seems lost.

When sickness strikes, when a friend betrays, when a spouse disappoints or a child rebels, we can find ourselves hoping for a better ending to our story.

Maybe you’re there now, feet planted shakily at the edge of the tomb where your hopes and dreams are buried. If you are, I’m sorry, but listen to what Jesus told the disciples before raising Lazarus from the dead: “You’re about to be given new grounds for believing” (John 11:15).

*****The middle isn’t just a place of pain. It’s a place of possibility. That middle ground is fertile soil for flourishing faith.*****

The middle is where we decide what we believe about Jesus — regardless of our circumstances. Before Jesus performed a miracle, Martha made her decision: “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God” (John 11:27b, NLT).

*****We don’t survive the middle by rewriting the story; we survive it by anchoring our hope to the One who has already scripted the perfect ending.*****

There will come a day when no one will be stuck in the middle, with no more tears and no more pain (Revelation 21:3-5).

So, plant your feet firmly on the promises of Christ, dear friend. Because life on this side of Heaven is just the scene before the miracle. And if we believe in Jesus, we already know there’s a happy ending.



I don't know where you are in your story, but maybe you needed this reminder as much as I did!  Please continue to pray for us as we continue to adjust to this "never a dull moment" journey.  On the most overwhelming of days it's such a comfort to know that you are still there for us cheering us on.  It doesn't matter how far along we find ourselves since the knock on our door we will never forget the overwhelming amount of support we have been shown...we don't take your generosity for granted.  We thank God for you! 



1 Corinthians 1:7b-8, “All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus.” (MSG)

 





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2 Comments

Linda Kingery
By Linda Kingery
My daughter-in-law gave me the book "When God Winks at You" for Christmas. I have passed it onto several friends to read. It is exciting to see what God has planned for Steven and for you as well.
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Karen Hale
By Karen Hale
Our God is able!
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