On April 23, Alif continued to move his face (grimaces, etc.), head and left arm. This was not just a nerve thing - this was actual movement! One of our favorite nurses yelled, "ALIF. ALIF." and he opened his eyes!! I couldn't believe it. He actually showed signs of life! My heart began to soar - maybe things could turn around! Maybe we wouldn't be considering turning off life support on Monday!
The next day was Easter. I was feeling many things, all hard to describe. What an unfathomable joy to celebrate the rising of our Savior, being in the midst of the biggest trial of my entire life, but also feeling closer to Him than ever before. There were so many practical considerations: someone brought over Easter baskets for my kids, and I would never have remembered to do that. I had to decide whether to go to church or stay at the hospital, sending my kids to church with someone else. I couldn't begin to think of facing people outside the hospital setting, but I also couldn't bear the thought of my kids having a weird Easter morning on top of the absolute chaos going on in their lives already. I made up my mind to take them to church, and my brother-in-law Jason graciously offered to go with us, acting as a sort of emotional bodyguard. Oh, I can't begin to tell you the love and respect I had for my sister's husband that day. He stepped in dozens of times, answering questions firmly but lovingly, so I never felt I had to answer questions I didn't want to, but also didn't feel like I was pushing people away. Thank God for such a man!
I had prepared my heart to simply not cry, period, because I knew that if the tears started, they surely would not stop, and I didn't want my children to see me in an absolute mess. It was quite a juggling act that first week or so, how to handle it all with the kids. Things were VERY up and down - one hour things looked pretty promising, and the next the situation was grave. I was barely hanging on through the roller coaster ride and didn't want my kids on it at all. I stuck to telling them that Daddy was very, very sick, but that he was in God's hands; God was taking very good care of Daddy and so were the doctors and nurses, and we hope he will be home soon. I instructed everyone else to say the same and for the most part, people were very tactful with my kids.
After church that day, as we left the sanctuary, I told Jason, "I have never felt the urge to literally run to my car after church, but it's all I can do to walk right now." But we made it. My kids got to go to church on Easter. It sure wasn't normal - Caris was wearing some random dress that wasn't at all Easter-like, but we were there. When I got home my Dad was at the house waiting to pick up the kids so they could spend the rest of the day at his house. Hooray for Easter egg hunts and barbecue and family, even if Mom and Dad were spending the day in the hospital! The first thing he said was, "have you talked to your sister?" Talk about gracious offers - Megan had chosen to spend Easter morning in the hospital with my husband so I could go to church in peace! Sacrificial love. I told my Dad I hadn't talked to her and he said, "I won't spoil the surprise, but get to the hospital. You're going to be happy."
The whole drive there, I just couldn't imagine what awaited me! Could my husband possibly be sitting up in bed, talking? Nah, probably not . . . maybe more movement of his left arm, maybe even his left leg? Oh, I was so excited! I got into that room as quickly as I could (which isn't very quickly, if you know how the ICU works - LOL) and what I found was my husband moving his left arm and leg! AND, answering questions with nods and shakes of the head!! He understood us! Oh, MAN! I was so excited!