The New Normal


P1000422The holidays are over and we are all going to try to get back into the routine of life after having some fabulous vacation time.  Yes, it is difficult to come back home to incredibly cold temperatures but today I am reminded of how blessed we are and how “normal” our lives are.  A visit with friends on Saturday made that crystal clear to me.

Our best man in our wedding 31 1/2 years ago was in a horrible car versus deer accident the day after Thanksgiving. George and his wife, Gordon, were coming home from spending time with her failing parents when their lives were forever changed by a scared deer who ran into their car as they were driving on an interstate in North Carolina.  To say that their lives will ever be “normal” again would be a lie.  Now they have a new normal to deal with.

After weeks in ICU with traumatic brain injury and broken vertabrae George was recently transferred to a rehabilitation facility a little closer to home about a week ago.  Gordon continues to heal from her injuries and weeks later still has double vision as well as other problems which plague any further progress with the vision issue.  Double vision = no driving so their son, a recent college graduate, is the sole caregiver at this point.  The stress on him has to be unimaginable.

George has always been in really good physical shape and in this case that means that his body is healing and that predicates a release from the facility most likely this week —-it is scary because Gordon does not know how they will manage.

Chris and I were able to visit with them for a short time this past Saturday and I am so very glad that we did.  George, the consummate gentleman, asked Gordon to get us Cokes when we arrived and offered us chairs to sit in. This man who has a plastic protector on his chest and back and a helmet on his head is offering US comfort.  Typical George behavior.  While it was so very difficult for us to see the physical and mental distress that they both are in it was good to be able to be with friends who have been very important parts of our lives.  The question remains how much progress he will be able to make in recovery of the traumatic brain injury.  He is walking and can read and write and has use of his hands so to me that is amazing after the injuries he sustained.  Some conversations made sense but most did not as he tired.  Deep philosophical issues are spinning around in his now mixed up brain and the question of the hour was the difference in an “s” in England or America or other countries. Yea—we couldn’t’ answer that for him.  🙂

Add to this fact that Gordon’s dad passed away on December 10th and she was unable to go to the funeral, her mom was moved into assisted living and she could not help and their beloved dog died a couple of weeks ago.  It is almost too much to bear.  Added worries about their business and financial matters are weighing heavily on Gordon while George is basically unaware of what is going on.

What do I take comfort in?  The fact that they are strong people of true and deep faith who know that there is a God that loves them without any reservations or conditions.

Life is not fair.

Things happen.

Deer run into cars and lives are thrown into tailspins and are never the same. Friends  come forward to share the pain and offer gentle hugs and compassion.  Tangible aid comes from unexpected places.  Therapy sessions are carried out to improve functioning in all areas.   Prayers are offered up by many who do not even know this family.

God is real. God was in that hospital room with us as Gordon recounted a prayer that George had said for them earlier that day—one that was clear and concise and in Gordon’s words on their CaringBridge website :

In the early afternoon, we asked him to give a prayer, and it was a five-minute delight as he made no missteps, and prayed for our healing, his brain healing, and Tal’s back healing (yes, Tal’s back was out yesterday).  It was such a life-affirming hope filled prayer, delivered with ease and on another level.  The power of prayer is real for our family these days…..

Yes, God IS real and present and always there. Even in times of extreme difficulty when the answers seem to be so unclear.   If you are the praying type I would ask that you please cover this family with your prayers.  I am still trying to figure out how we can help them out in a concrete way .   But for now I know that I can pray.  And pray I will.

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Comments

  1. I”m sad for your friends. I am sending healing prayers and hugs to them. At first I was confused though b/c you wrote 31 1/2 years ago and not 3 1/2. You may want to change that. 🙂

    • Well it WAS 31 1/2 years ago! I am an oldie!!! But goodie. Thank you for the prayers. I appreciate them and I know that they do, too. Thanks so much!!!

      • Oh Beth Ann please forgive me. I thought because he recently moved to another facility that it was 3 1/2 weeks ago. My bad. You can delete my last comment. ♥

        • No. no, no!!! What I meant was that he was our best man that long ago! I am a dork, huh? 🙂 Obviously I did not write as eloquently as I had hoped. 🙂 Still working on that obviously. The accident was the day after Thanksgiving. Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers. I really do appreciate them a lot.

          • I’m sorry Beth Ann, I must have misread! How silly of me! I will keep them all in my prayers and I will read more carefully! I was reading while trying to figure out what the cat had and I should know better, I’m never good at multi-tasking! By the way, she was eating my hubby’s shoelace! Yikes!

            • Oh gosh—cats. Mine is tramping all over the keyboard as I type. I have a string eater so I have to be ever vigilant about stuff like that since he had to have surgery at 5 months to remove a string that he had eaten and it got all wrapped up inside. Please–no apologies AT ALL–cats rule in this house. 🙂

              • Oh my, I thought our Tiffy was the only string eater! She’s devoured shoelaces, ribbons, hoodie sweatshirt ties, tassels, you name it! Our other kitty used to like to gnaw on the electrical plug while it was plugged in ~ mostly to get my attention in the middle of the night when Her Royal Highness deigned to snack and her bowl was empty or wanted my company while she ate. Lucky for us, she lived to almost 17 and because I’m a light sleeper and never allowed her to chew too long on the cord! And I fed them all the time so it wasn’t like they were starved either! Just little idiosyncrasies that endear them to us, right? Glad your kitty is ok after surgery. How scary!

                • Oh gosh—we certainly could swap stories!!!! 🙂 Buddy has used up 2 of his 9 lives–once with the string and then 2 years ago with chylothorax. The vet did not give us much hope but I nursed him back to health and am so glad I was able to. He and Holly are very spoiled but hey—-I am allowed to have a couple of “babies” now that my actual ones are grown up! 🙂

  2. Oh my, Beth Ann. I’m so sorry to hear about all of this. My thoughts are with all of them, including the son who now has a lot of pressure on him. Strong families stick together and I wish them all the best of luck. And I love that he offered you two a Coke. He has fighting spirit and he needs it.

    • Thanks, TBM. I debated writing about them–they are very private but it is what is on my heart. The visit was probably one of the hardest ones I have ever made just because I feel so helpless. We are so far away from them to offer the day to day stuff but I have friends in the area that I am going to put the call out to. And yes—the coke thing was so George. Ever the host. That made me smile. A lot.

  3. Oh, dear Beth Ann. God bless your friends. I will keep them in my thoughts and prayers. What a challenging time. Thanks for sharing their story of faith and healing with us–as that’s what I believe it is. I know a bit about hard times myself, but not this version of hard-times.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    • Hard times take many different forms, that is for sure, and the human spirit can be so strong when it needs to be –you are a prime example of that.Thank you so much for the prayers. I know they will feel them. It is just so overwhelming and each day is just a struggle to get through. Thanks again.

  4. Just visited their CB site and left a bit of a message. Words are feeble until they are cast before the throne of the Almighty!!!!!!

  5. Life can certainly change on a dime. You just never know. I always tell people that you have to find your joy in each and every day. Sometimes it comes in little things. And that is okay. It is just important that you find it.
    I am so sorry about your friends. Saying a prayer for their continued recovery!
    joy

    • Thanks so much. I truly appreciate your words and prayers for our dear friends. You are exactly right in your advice to find the joy in the little things—-like George offering us a coke—that was a joy because it was so George. The Southern gentleman raised in Ohio. 🙂

  6. Beautifully written! I love this and will pray for your dear friends!

  7. You had told me they were in an accident but I did not know how serious it was. I am praying for them and am hoping they all will be OK, Mother, Father and Son.

  8. I’m sorry about what happened to your friends. We will keep them in our prayers.

    • Thanks so much, Jeni. I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out what I can do for them and at this point a short visit and tons of prayers is about it. I truly appreciate all the kind words and prayers sent on their behalf.

  9. I will be praying.

  10. I’m so sorry to hear about all your friends have to go through. It seems like so much has happened in the span of such a short time – just one thing after another. I will keep them in my thoughts and send positive vibes their way! I hope that both will make a full recovery soon. xoxo

    • Thanks so much, Susi, for the kind thoughts and words. I always hesitate to post something like this because I know that everyone has different ideas on religion and faith but it is so heavy on my heart right now that any positive thoughts and encouragement is a good thing. Thank YOU for yours! I truly appreciate them. Hugs from the cold midwest.

      • Beth Ann, for me this isn’t so much a thing of faith and religion but of compassion! And how can you not have any compassion when you hear a story like this?
        Stay safe and warm up there!!! xoxo

  11. Prayers for George, Gordon and their son. May God provide healing, comfort and peace to all. Sending a big virtual and spiritual hug to all.

    • Thanks so much, Diane. I appreciate it more than I can tell you and I know that they do, too. It was a pretty emotional day for me and I keep thinking “what would I do” if this was us, you know??? Thanks again.

  12. Beth Ann, my dear compassionate friend, you have me in tears. I will continue to pray for George and Gordon. I so appreciate your reminder that God is ever present, especially through the challenging times.

    I am certain that you and Chris uplifted Gordon and George and Tal in ways you cannot even imagine. You have that incredible God-given gift of listening and empathy and compassion. Plus, bonus, sharing all of that in your devotional style posts, like this one. Add this to that “will someday publish devotional book.”

    God bless you, my friend. And may God grant continued healing to George and Gordon and the strength to bear the ongoing challenges they face.

    • Thank you so much, Audrey. I wanted to write and tell you all that had happened during our visit but I quite honestly was so drained. And I do not have to live it day in day out. It was so good to see them but heartbreaking to know how long the road is ahead of them. They have ministered to so many in their business and as I tried to tell Gordon—it is time to let others minister to them. She said that was hard and yes–it is hard to be on the other side of it at times but they will have to take any and all help offered. I wept when we left because I just wanted to make it all better as I always do. But what I can offer now is prayers and what little connections I have in their area to help them. Thanks again for your prayers—they are indeed what is getting them through this time. Hugs to you,my chilly Minnesota friend!

  13. And I have been worrying about negative temps and frozen pipes! Sure puts things in perspective!!! I am praying for your friends.

    • Negative temps are definitely are definitely worth worrying about, trust me! But I appreciate your prayers—I truly do and so do they. Thanks and stay warm!!!

  14. This is just one more example how unfair LIFE is, Beth Ann. Thank you for putting all my worries, cares, etc. into perspective! This poor family, I’m betting, is praying that the run of bad luck will dry up and the new year will bring healing and happiness. When you have your health, life seems more manageable on so many levels. Yes, I’ll say some prayers for your friends.

    • Well I tell you–bad things happen to good people all the time and it is just a matter of how you choose (or are able) to respond to things like this that show the character. I take so much for granted—I like to think that I don’t but I really do—and this was yet another wake up call for me. Thanks for your prayers. I know they appreciate them.

  15. So sad this tragedy. What tremendous people they are – and such strong faith. Remarkable. Some would look at this as proof God doesn’t exist – or at the very most is an absentee landlord who allows terrible things to happen to the people He loves. But, it’s an accident. The bible says that “time and chance happens to us all”. It’s not a vengeful or negligent puppet master pulling strings and deciding fates on a whim. I wish people could understand that. Surely God is with them and it sounds like it is a miracle they lived. Always look for the miracle!! I will keep them in me prayers.

    • Your words are so true and it was wonderful to read them. Thank you for your kind comment — it really helps to know that others are praying, too. Thank you!

  16. This is sad and proof that life can change in an instant. It sounds like your friends are strong people with caring hearts and deep faith. They are fortunate to have friends like you and a loving family to support them, They are in my prayers. Could you please pray for a young cousin who is having heart surgery in Arizona right now.
    I love the St. Francis statue. I have him in my small garden as well. He is good to have around.

  17. So sorry to hear about your friends, Isn’t is so good to see how they are being covered in prayers just from people reading about them in your blog. I will pray for healing and peace that passes all understanding.

    • Thank you so much! I wonder sometimes when I share stuff like this but my readers are a wonderful group of compassionate people and it warms my heart to know that more prayers are being offered. Thank you.

  18. Mary Ellen says:

    We will definitely keep them in our prayers. Mary Ellen & Frank

    • Thanks so much Mary Ellen. I really appreciate it. It is just one of those things that made me feel so helpless. I told Gordon it was hard for me to show up empty handed but I honestly did not know what they could use at that point –they just need the day to day encouragement and love and prayers right now. Thanks again. Love you guys!

  19. They appear to have great courage and a strong moral fiber that will help with the physical healing. May God bless them in this, their time of need.

  20. My prayers go out to your friends. And they are blessed to have you. This is an important and wonderful post. Prayer is powerful.

  21. No words. Just prayers.

    • Thank you much. I am arranging transportation from Iowa with my lovely church friends that live in their town. At least I feel like I am doing something. Thanks so much.

  22. Please know I have included this family in my prayers.

  23. What a tragedy for this family~ Beth Ann, I will definitely place them on my list and in my heart and ask for their continuing improvement. Knowing that they are faithful people must give you a sense of comfort… it really does make a difference.
    Your post is a concrete act of kindness, as intercessory prayers are some of the most powerful kind. Who knows what you have started? He does! 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Carol. I am just so sad about this turn of events for them but I know that God is taking care of them and that they are getting really wonderful care. It is one of those things that you just don’t ever expect to happen and then when it does it makes you realize how much each day matters. Thanks for putting them on your list. I truly appreciate it and I know that they do, too.

  24. It is times such as this that I truly wish I had a better way with words. Please know that your friends are included in my prayers. So many things in life are fleeting and it is our faith in God that can pull us through the trying times.

    • Thank you so much! I am just so glad that so many people are praying. Further complications this week landed Gordon in the hospital with kidney stones for two nights so continued prayers are needed. George is scheduled to come home on Thursday if all goes as planned. Thanks so much.

      • I am so sorry to hear of their continued struggles. Please tell them to stay strong and we are all praying for their continued healing. They will continue to be in my prayers.

        • Thanks so much!!!! It has been a rough road but they are strong in their faith so I know that that will be what gets them through. Along with the prayers of many. Thank you!

  25. Said a prayer for your friends, how suddenly life can change. But for the grace of God…

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