Today was a precious day to me as I think Lea smiled at me. At least, she smiled shortly after I said something that she might smile at if she were awake. It wasn’t that great big smile of hers that my brother David and I got to see a couple of weeks ago, but it was more of a comforting smile that she often shares. It was beautiful to see, nonetheless, and it makes me think again about our relationship.

She and I have always been very affectionate, and have shared some wonderfully intimate moments during our years together. I have always made it a point to let her know that I think she is beautiful, and tell her at least once a day that I love her. But, as she lays here on the hospital bed and I look at her beautiful features, now much like that of a sleeping child, I realize that I thought I was in love with her body. Now I know, that it is really the spirit inside her body, her soul, that I love so much!

That’s a pretty important point, and one that I now recall hearing about in many sermons, many popular songs, and read about in many contexts over the years. But, it just didn’t really become clear to me until just now. That’s why I find it so hard to keep talking to her, I think, to feel like I am doing anything to help her. I keep talking to her body, and not getting any response. I am not connecting with her spirit, which is what I really want to interact with.

Strange, isn’t it? You don’t really think about them as being two separate things . . . a body, and a spirit. They are all one thing in normal circumstances. You meet a person, and you like or dislike them, to various degrees, based on their personality. And, yet, when you stand at Lea’s bedside today, her beautiful body is here, sleeping, and you try to connect with her spirit, or personality to interact with it. But, but when you get no reaction, you realize that a person’s body is pretty useless without a spirit to operate it.

I see Lea laying here in critical condition, stomach pump, ventilator, circulation pumps on her legs, medications hanging all around feeding into her veins, and can get pretty depressed about her condition. But, we have to remember how far we have come; she’s been able to stay off dialysis; she has the respirator out of her mouth/throat; she is beginning to breathe on her own a few hours each day; and her cardiac system continues to be mostly strong.

Her lungs are sounding a little coarse, as though mucous is building up on the linings (pneumonia), and may contribute to her fatigue after breathing without ventilator assistance for a few hours. She can’t be given an expectorant to clear her lungs, because a cough would cause awful problems with the open incision in her stomach. She won’t be allowed to cough and clear her lungs for several weeks. A plan of action to attack this growing problem has not yet been decided.

She continues to do well . . . . in medical terms. She’s in good shape for the shape she’s in. She keeps making little baby steps of progress. There are many baby steps to be taken, and it will take several months to do it. She is definitely a fighter, and she has the will to recover from this. We have a long road, many small victories to achieve, and many weeks of struggle before we reach the recovery stage, which will be followed by extensive rehabilitation. She will have to learn to walk again, because her muscles are atrophied and worsening with each week. She will have pain in her stomach until the incised muscles heal completely. Her memory will be imperfect.

She will have to use an electronic device to talk with while she retrains her vocal cords. Her voice may not be the same as it was, because her vocal cords have been stretched way out of shape by the respirator tube. Recovery could take a year or more.

Things are going to be very different for us. We have our house on the market. I have sold her convertible, and will be putting her sedan on the market as well. She won’t be driving for quite a long time. We have given away our pets to friends to offered to take them in. My family, and friends, have gone through our home in our absence and lovingly packed and stored the things in the house we think she will want to reestablish her life when this is over.

It is truly going to be a new chapter in our lives. We have to put away all that has gone before and seek God’s will for our future. The life we had when we left on vacation is gone. The bed and breakfast. Evenings together on the wrap around porch. Our beautiful home. The lifestyle we shared. All the things we worked so many years for. Gone.

And, yet, I am so anxious to be with her again, full of life, flashing that smile and sharing her warm affection, that’s about all that has any importance for me right now. I am not looking forward to the day when I have to explain that the life she knew disappeared overnight (Or, so it will seem to her). But, I AM looking forward to being able to talk WITH her again, to ask what she would like to do with the rest of our lives, and to make plans for the next chapter of our life together. I just want to be able to give her a great big hug, and feel her hugging me back. I want to lie next to her at night and thank God for putting her in my life.

I pray for strength; for wisdom; for guidance, and His forgiveness for my shortcomings. I pray for Lea’s miraculous and complete recovery. And, that He will work within me to help Lea have a full and happy life in the years to come.

God bless,

Larry

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