Change is Complicated

I wanted to use this opportunity to thank all of you for your concern and prayers for me and my family during this time. Three weeks ago today, my dad had a stroke. I was able to go home a few days later to be with them when he came home from the hospital. It was good to be there, but it was very difficult to see my dad changed.

Three weeks later and he is holding strong, but he still has much rehab and therapy to go through and lots of hard work ahead. The stroke did not affect his mobility. He does have some slight weakness on his right side that is giving him a bit of trouble with fine motor skills. Other than that, physically, he is as strong as before. Cognitively, I wish I could say the same. The stroke affected his speech, writing, and reading and some memory. Receptively, he seems to completely understand everything that is said to him, he is simply not able to expressive himself verbally or in writing.

Therapy and rehab seem to be helping, but it will be a long (and at times a very frustrating) process. He saw the neurologist this week who has ordered a few tests. One of which is a vision test to check his field of vision. If that comes back normal, then he can begin relearning to drive with my brothers. I’m not sure how long after that he will be released to drive on his own, but that is a very hopeful and positive step for him (well, for all of us).

Things will be ok again. Though they will never be quite the same. There will always be a different diet (much to my dad’s dislike). There will always be that thought at the back of our minds, “Will this happen again?” There will always be a sense of gratitude for the gift of time that we all have together, that perhaps before was just assumed and taken for granted.

Things change. Isn’t that what they say? “Change is the only constant.” While my family in Texas is changing and learning a “new normal.” My church family here in Louisville is changing as well. That same Friday I learned of my dad’s stroke, two hours earlier, Greg was telling me he was resigning…it was a bad Friday.

Though things will be different here. Things will be ok. Change is complicated. Change can be good and bad, hopeful and scary, exciting and paralyzing, energizing and draining, and it can be all those things in the very same moment. It’s complicated.

We can morn and grieve the loss of Greg and his family’s leaving, and we can look hopefully toward the future, and we can do those at the same time. Those moments you are sad and confused by all the change, that’s fine, be sad and confused and acknowledge it. Those moments when you are energized by the change and excited about moving forward, that’s fine too, be energized and excited.

My mom is in much the same position. She has had to grieve the loss of the husband that once was because he is not the same. But she can’t get stuck there. She must, often in the same moment of grief, accept what is now and move forward with hope and anticipation at the husband that will be again.

And so, we must do the same…grieve AND move forward with hope and anticipation.