I’m not gonna lie, this is hard to write….but here I go.
As Pete posted, last Friday, Rebecca began her next steps in her LONG journey ahead when she left Health Care Resort and moved to Provisional Assisted Living in Columbia, MO, closer to her mom. Early in the Post Hope journal entries, friends and family where amazed and hopeful with mere fact that she opened her eyes within the first days to being able to speak and making progress each and every day since then. I can only speak for me and what I have come to realize, after my denial phase, is the reality is that Rebecca’s progress is measured from where she was after her stroke, not from where she was the day before. For me, this has been incredibly difficult to comprehend and come to terms with, and I can only share my perspective.
I have had many visits with Rebecca, and there are times when the conversation is really good and I believe I can understand what she is trying to communicate and times that it is extremely difficult to put together her words in a way that I can comprehend. I have seen more cognitive improvement over the last 3 weeks or so, and she seems to be piecing together and communicating better all the time. I had visits in the last few weeks where we cried together, laughed together, and got mad together, and I just went “I’m sorry….what did you say?”…alot. For her to try to put together the shattered puzzle pieces that her brain has suffered has been unbelievably difficult and the unknowns with respect to what her future looks like, is both heartbreaking and inspirational as she keeps trying to get better.
Again, I can only speak from what I have experienced with her during my visits. Rebcceca’s her short term memory impairments are much like the movie 50 first dates, whereby, she has great difficulty recalling and piecing together previous day’s events. BUT, in the last couple of weeks she was able to recall bits of my visits with her the previous days. One day when I visited, she greeted me with “Well, hello Kathy Holmes!”. It was the first time in 4 months she recalled my name right away, let alone my full name. Rebecca is a planner, she wants to keep things in order, so she told me one day at lunch “Geez, I gotta help everyone around here!” as she was assisting the women next to her in ordering her meal. Truth be told, not sure she got the order right, but she was on it! One time, I was having difficulty understanding her, she paused, took a breath, and said “Sometimes I just want to beat the shit outta people when they don’t understand me”, and she was really clear about that! For anyone that is concerned about that statement, (in true Rebecca form) she grinned really big and was even surprised at herself for saying it….we had a great laugh!
Other times I will listen to her for 20 to 30 minutes and will struggle to string together what she wants to say, and she gets so frustrated. But other times she just laughs at herself and make ups words, and then says “I know you didn’t understand that, what’s new with you?” She has asked many times, as one can only imagine, “why did this happen?” and I can only answer that I just don’t know. But, I believe that Rebecca has a very strong faith and ultimately that will bring her comfort and be with her along the long road ahead. She often has said to me when trying to figure it out why this happen, “I don’t know what it is, but I’m just gonna keep trying!”.
I am sharing some pieces of hope, but the reality is, I have had conversations that are much tougher and she gets frustrated and angry. Of course, I am able to speak with her as a friend, her family (including Pete and Elizabeth) has had even tougher conversations with her as they work to chart out the best options with respect to her care, therapy, and caring for the boys. I know that she desperately wants to be where she was, back with her boys and living the life she lived. This of course, is something that everyone would love nothing more than to have to happen. But, the facts are, as Elizabeth posted in her heartfelt message, (which made me cry a good cry) she is simply not there, and it could be years.
I continue to pray for Rebecca, Anderson, Philip, Pete and Elizabeth Anderson, Sandy and her family. I know that they are all working extraordinary hard to do the right things in a really, really difficult situation with Rebecca’s and the boys best interests in their hearts. No one could ever have imagined a situation like this, it’s just heartbreaking, and nothing is easy about it.
I am gonna end this on a positive note. Rebecca walked with assistance and a cane out of the Health Care Resort on Friday. The picture is with her and her therapist, she had an amazing team and there were lots and lots of tears shed when she left, they cared about her very much and did a great job of getting her to the point she is today. I have great hopes that there will be new and cutting edge therapy options for Rebecca in the days ahead that will assist her in regaining as much physical and cognitive improvement as possible. It was a moving experience to witness Rebecca walk out of the Health Care Resort Friday and symbolized to me the beginning of the steps she will need to take to keep moving forward in her recovery, one step, one word, one sentence, and one day at a time.
Thank you everyone for your donations and support to date, this ain’t over! Rebecca will have continued needs in the future. Let’s all help to keep her moving forward and help her to “just keep trying”
Signed - Heartbroken but inspired,