How do you summarize such a year in one little post. This has been a year packed full of adventure and heart ache, but a year stacked and packed full of wonderful memories.

If I ramble, please forgive me. I have a lot to say, and not sure where to start, I believe I’ll take it one month at a time. Just to see how it turns out.

December 29, 2011 Barry was determined he could drive. I had an appointment in Lawrenceville that could not be rescheduled, but I would be unable to drive home. So, we turned down offers from people to drive us over and I got in the car with Barry behind the wheel. He had to see for himself that he still had a little healing to do.

Biggest mistake of my life. First time I have ever wanted to kiss the ground when getting out of the car. Once I checked in, I called to ask my sister for help getting home. After a lecture on being stupid, she came to our rescue. I would have driven home doped up, before letting the love of my life drive again.

January: was our transition month and I was thrilled to have him home. Barry was discharged from the rehab center on December 28, 2011. We were adjusting and adapting our lives to accommodate his needs around the house.

Along with this we were in the process of tri-weekly outpatient rehab at a local center. It was nice to find a good center close to home, since I was doing the driving. I do better at short distances.

Coordinating outpatient rehab and follow-up appointments was quite a task. I believe Barry and I are ending this year more organized than we ever have been.

Spending so much time together, Barry and I started getting reacquainted and honestly getting to know each other better than we did before his stroke. He is more open and relaxed since the stroke, he has also lost his filter. I never know what to expect out of his mouth when he opens it. It is really refreshing at times and always good for a laugh.

One of our nephews did not understand that Uncle Barry was sick, even though he looked the same. Barry had a little talk with him and let him know that their wrestling sessions had to be over for a while. He is such a smart little guy and watching him grow into such a sweet little young man is a pleasure. This nephew is Barry’s first nephew from day one.

His brother went everywhere with Barry and I when we were dating. Everyone thought he was our child. It was wonderful!

Since I was unable to have children, watching my sisters kids grow-up and being part of their lives has been a joy. They will never understand what that has meant to me.

February: lead into more rehab and more appointments. For a while, rehab and doctor’s appointments were the only thing on our social calendar.

This was an extremely hard month, we had to make the horrible decision to close our business. To date, I don’t know if it was harder to tell the residents or their families. Some of the residents took it hard, one got mad and lashed out, but apologized later. The others said they understood, but were not happy. The state people attempted to encourage us to stay open if at all possible.

It was not in the cards. Barry and I just could not do it alone anymore and we could not afford to pay good help to run the business. It honestly felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Now I could focus on Barry and I, instead of the two of us plus the residents. I had forgotten what it felt like to relax.

March: lead into the permanent close of RoseWillow Cottage. With the last resident settled in a new home, we officially locked our doors for the first time and attempted to figure out how to live in the rest of our house.

We had the pleasure of watching my baby sister receive her degree at graduation. I was so proud, she worked so hard. Although the economy is not helping her find an open position. Hopefully, she’ll find something with the new school year. She is a middle school math teacher. 

Barry’s rehab had been decreased to twice weekly, with hopes to soon be discharged. He was progressing marvelously. No one could believe he had been through the massive ordeal he had. God truly had a hand in his recovery. It is the only way to explain it.

April: Lead into Barry’s discharge from rehab and I took over as drill sergeant making him exercise and do his memory drills. He has been in management for 20 some odd years and does not like being told what to do. Trust me!

I got my nice, new purple wheelchair that is easier to handle than the old one. That thing weighed a ton!

In April, God led Barry and I to our church home, Victory Baptist Church. We felt at home the minute we walked through the door.  A friend of ours has been inviting us for years, but we always used the business as an excuse.

A few of our residents wanted to attend church when they first moved in, but as their condition worsened, they started refusing to go.

Barry and I also celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary quietly at home. After the stroke, Barry had difficulty with crowds for a while. We slowly got out in public to give him time to adapt.

May/June: these months found our schedules calming down for a bit. Barry had a birthday in June, he was really anxious, but survived without a hitch. In June, my mother asked if she could move back in.

She did not feel safe where she was, so she was packing her bags coming back to our house. Of course, we could not tell her no. Barry and I agreed, we couldn’t have her in her current living situation. We discussed a date and got ready for mom to be in the house again. We sat mom and my sisters down and laid out a few ground rules. Needless to say, they did not last long.

July: Mom moved in and a new iron was added to the flame of confusion. We had a few trying moments, but I learned to lock the door and keep mom on her side of the house. Best money we ever spent, the lock on our side of the laundry room. We even have a do not disturb sign on her side of the door. It is working great, at least for now.

August: started off great, then about midway into the month, I fell backwards down the steps in our garage. Stitches in my left elbow and a mild concussion.

I hate hospitals when I’m the patient. I did not realize how the hospital ER would affect my sweety, but the combo of me being injured and being in the hospital had him on the edge of panic. As usual, the hospital was slow as Christmas! I was so relieved to get him out of there, 5 hours later.

It takes me forever to recover from falls. Here it is 4 months later and my left elbow still gives me fits. The rest of August and into September, Barry and I didn’t do much traveling. Barry was adapting well and adjusting to the new him.

September: my energy level stayed in the toilet for most of the month. I was tickled to figure out the problem was not only the fall. They discovered I had an infection in my colon. This of course lead us back to the doctor with with their favorite words, tests, and you need to see another doctor.

At the same time, my neurologist decided he wasn’t sure what else to do for me and referred me to a neuro-oncologist, with experience in my brain tumor.

The new doctor added Cowden’s Syndrome to my collection of diagnoses and ordered more tests. The tests turned out to be good. They lead us into figuring out a few of the difficulties I was experiencing. I was tickled they found no cancer. But I was off to more doctors to treat what he did find.

October/November: both months were kinda packed with doctors visits, procedures, and more doctor’s visits. We were settling in at church really well. Enjoying getting to know everyone. I grew up going to church, but in the six months at Victory; I learned more about the bible than I ever have. After being picked on for weeks, I survived another birthday in November.

December is here and we are still holding on. Barry is getting stronger by the week. He has decided to retire. I’m getting used to the idea of him being home all the time. We spent the first few weeks of the month catching up on the things, we missed out on last year. December 11th came and went without us even realizing it was here.

I’m sitting here, next to the love of my life, as I type this. I am overcome by joy that we have had this time together and look forward to the many, many more adventures in store for us. I almost lost him last year and l don’t want to think about where I’d be today if that had happened.

We are living one day at a time and loving every minute!

4 thoughts on “Rewind

  1. Jill and Barry,
    You have been fantastic supporters of mine over the last few months, for that I am so grateful. I so enjoyed reading your post, I am so glad that both you are doing so well and are locking forward to your future together a day at a time. I hope and pray that the next year continues to get better for both of you.
    Best Wishes

    • Wayne,
      Thank you so much for your support and kindness. Best wishes to you on your quest in the new year. One day at a time works well for us. We look forward to reading more from you in the new year!
      Barry and Jill

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