[It has been quite a while since I last posted an update on Kris. This one brings us joy.]
Dearest friends and Loved Ones Everywhere!!!
When people ask me today how Kris is doing, I take a moment to reflect on the very latest information before giving an answer. Knowing that each and every day might possibly provide mere moments of increased productivity, adjustments, learning to speak or walk, or even to stand by herself, I smile and say, “For her, she is doing remarkably well. With what she’s been through, Kris is AWESOME!”
For the record, however, let me just reiterate what I told Kris when I was there just after Christmas. "This is 2013,” I said, “and, Honey, this is your year! It's the third year since your accident, and I have it on good authority...this is your breakthrough year! It may not be 100 percent, but it’s going to be a whole lot better!"
Kris smiled when I said that and shook her head yes. Maybe that’s what she’s contemplating in the attached photo: the year ahead! It must seem insurmountable at times to her, but let me just tell you how great she is doing!
Since our last update, I have learned that Kris is walking everyday to all her therapy sessions, not with the walker but with her DCS (direct care staff) person walking with her. Kris has walked from her room to the physical therapy room, which is about the length of a basketball court I would say. And, just yesterday, I learned she walks every day either with the walker or without it, and has walked TO and FROM that PT room now. The wheelchair is set aside until she has an outing or after therapy sessions are over for the day. Even then, she walks!
Kris may still be struggling a bit with typing out what she wants to say on her keyboard but, every now and then, she manages to blow me away by typing things like "Are you there?" when she Skypes if I am not at the computer. Of course, there are a few extra letters intermingled, but we can usually understand what she is typing. Emotions show in her face too, so much so that we can “read between the lines” if she’s not feeling well, or if she has that “gotcha” look when she has done something fantastic!
That would be something like her outing on Saturday, March 9, when she went with a group from CORE to a 5-K run!!! Yes, a “run!” Of course, she did it by walking some, but using her wheelchair, too. Her DCS said she kept asking Kris if she wanted to quit. It was drizzly, chilly, windy, and it started at 7:30 in the morning. Kris shook her head “no” and kept on going. They were the last to cross the line, but she was jubilant and cheers were everywhere. How I wish I could have been there! It was not about “winning” the race; it was about “finishing” the race at all! And she did it, and she KNEW she did it!
That’s her competitive spirit, her drive, even in those contemplative, worrisome times when even she may have a doubt. But the doubts don’t last very long; she’s too much of a fighter! She has more courage and determination than most people and she has been such an inspiration to so many. I truly don’t know where she gets it, but we praise God for that dynamic spirit in her.
Which leads me to another part of this update. Through these past years, having traveled this journey with Kris, folks say so often, “Carol, you should write a book.” Well, the truth is... I am. At last, and I must stress it was nothing short of Divine intervention that made it come together, I have the theme, the storyline, and a conclusion of sorts for Kris’s book. It deals with where she has been, and why there must be more places like CORE for our returning wounded veterans; both men and women.
In addition, the book will start in a three part feature series in our local newspaper here in Sebring, Florida. Part One will appear on March 22nd and, as soon as it is in print, I will have a link to send out for it. As a part-time feature writer now for The News Sun, other features and articles that I write will be published in that paper. But I have been given this “gift” of opportunity to begin writing her story in several parts, seeing it in print, and having the ability to move forward to finally put her story together. More to come!
As a closing prayer request, please continue to keep Kris in your hearts and in your prayers. She loves the cards and letters! I would ask, also, that you keep son John in your prayers now as well. He has undergone surgery to remove a lump from his lung, and biopsy results will be coming in about a week or so. Along with everything else, he is trying to put forth a good face and, bless him, he uses Kris as his inspiration. Finally, Diana, will have surgery again in April. She has such a wonderful family support group with her hubby and kids, and I was “lovingly” forbidden to come there to “help out,” but to go back to Texas instead.
Oh, yes... there are just a few other final requests! Kris’s son, Joshua, is now in the U.S. Air Force, training for para-rescue service. He will help save downed pilots, or provide other rescue work much like the Navy Seals. Grandson Tyler is now somewhere “over there” in the Middle East, and we get to meet up on Facebook now and then! Granddaughter Jessica is now a teacher and loves it, and granddaughter Cortney is an RN working at a brand new job and she sends the sweetest emails. How proud we are of all of them!
I cannot imagine sometimes how very broad are God’s shoulders to help us carry our burdens or share in our delights, but they are very broad and He is awesome. I am humbled at the strength He gives us when we need it most, and the joy He brings when we least expect it!!!
Blessings and much love,
Carol and George