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June 10, 2021

Baby steps. Just like when she was a baby, we got excited about every new thing she learned to do; we are here again. Last night was pretty uneventful. She is still in a coma. She can still respond a little on her left side, not so much on her right. She opened her eyes ever so slightly a couple of times yesterday. This morning her eyes were still in half mast mode, but when they opened, she was looking to the right. I was standing on her left and her eyes shifted my way as I spoke to her. It has since happened another time. Her eyes even opened all the way. That time it didn't seem like things "registered" with her so much, but it is a baby step and we will celebrate it. Another bigger baby step today happened as the respiratory tech turned off the ventilator and she has been breathing on her own with just CPAP settings for support. Another reason to celebrate. Another miracle to thank Heaven for.

One of the tender mercies I experienced today was to talk to the nurse that was with Holland as she was admitted on Friday. I wanted to know everything she went thru before I got here that night. It was hard to hear and to imagine as she told me, but I felt like I needed to know. I would not have been able to listen to those details a few days ago without feeling faint all over again.

So many have told us different stories, but then they say, "but it wasn't this severe". I am still coming to a realization of how truly severe her brain injury is. Having no background and nothing to compare it to, it is difficult to comprehend the full reality. Suffice it to say, this is a very severe case. The doctors this morning again warned me that although beginning to open her eyes randomly is good, it is not the progress we are hoping for. It is considered a "low level function". When she begins to respond with her eyes to commands, or be able to give us a thumbs up, then we are making progress.

Those of you that know me best, know that I am a pretty private person. I don't like exposing my children or our family and I tend to deal with things behind closed doors as best we can. I have a hard time asking for help. The last few months I have seen that this is not always the best way. I heard a brother bear his testimony last week about how life is messy and we have to be willing to be messy in each other's lives to know how to serve each other. (I know that is terrible paraphrasing, but that is what I took from it.) Sharing Holland's day to day in such a public way has been a conscious decision, but it has been made easier because we have come

to realize how many people love our family and love her. We want to let people know how their love and prayers are strengthening her and our whole family. Yes, it is a mess, but yes, I am thankful so many are willing to share this with us and comfort us and love us when we need it most. It is ok to ask for help, it is ok to reach out in love, it is ok to cry and it is ok to still hope for a miracle and be believing, and at the same time, be willing to accept whatever comes. I hope that thru all of this, I have at least learned to love better than ever before.

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