This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for some time. I am completely daunted by the task of thanking the many incredible people that are carrying us right now. I recognize I will owe thank yous into the next decade, but for now, please accept the following words:

People often worry about what to say and what to do for others during tragedy. They don’t want to offend, or pretend to understand, or minimize anyone’s pain. From my perspective, people need not worry so much.

No, you can’t exactly understand, but if you’ve experienced hardship, you can certainly relate. I have received the most amazing stories from people who have also experienced traumatic brain injuries or who have been caregivers to those who have. Thank you. Even if I haven’t been able to personally respond yet, your words have been completely inspiring. When doctors are only willing to give worst case outcomes, your words give me hope for a better future ahead.

When TC and I got married we crafted our vows very carefully. We said, “Together we will dream, will stumble but restore each other, we will share all things, serving each other and our fellow humanity.” It was very important to both of us that we give back to the world. Now I sit here completely astonished by how much we have received.

Tragedy strikes people every day and I think we both recognize how undeserving we are of all the kindness that has been shown to us. We knew prior to last month that we were surrounded by amazing friends and family, but we couldn’t have imagined how strong and how supportive our network would become.

After it was clear that TC would survive his injuries, my greatest fear was that the love and support we had been receiving in bulk would quickly fade. I knew it was going to be a long, awkward, humbling road ahead and I feared we would go it alone. So far, nothing could be further from the truth. Everyday I am reassured by your words and actions that “alone” is a feeling we will not experience.

From that first hug at the hospital, to the meals delivered to our home, to the dog walking, the babysitting, the cards and letters from friends, churches, and strangers alike – it has saved us. Your generosity is the most inspiring act of humanity I have witnessed in my life. Not only does it lessen the burden of our day to day life, it gives me renewed faith in all people.

My idea of friendship has also been reinvented. For friends are not merely the ones with whom you are acquainted, they are the ones who show up at the hospital day after day to give you a break. They are the ones who deliver that pizza without asking because they know you haven’t eaten all day (and they don’t leave until they’ve shoved an entire piece down your throat). They answer your e-mail and coordinate your life. They take your son for a haircut or jump in the car and drive 8 hours just to spend one hour in the hospital room with you. They write songs and dedicate blogs and hand deliver wine to your doorstep. They leave message after message with no expectation of receiving a response. They search the internet for ideas to overcome TC’s language deficits and personally design communication boards for him to use. They share your story with their own friends and own neighbors and they rally everyone in their lives behind you so that you will be convinced beyond doubt that you will not travel this path alone.

We don’t just have a good support system keeping us together at the moment. We have the very best one in the world. So, thank you for everything you’ve done and everything you continue to do. The strength and grace you credit me with is a direct reflection of all that you are giving to us.


11 thoughts on “Gratitude

  1. I came across this blog through the DBR website where they have posted the story. I am a 1998 Duke Grad. I do not know you're family nor can I pretend to even begin to understand what you are going through, but this story and your words have brought me to tears. I am not religious so rather than pray, I will simply be sending you and your family positive thoughts. I wish you and TC and Jack the best and hope all works out. I am in awe of your dedication and support and admire both TC's and your own perserverence.


  2. Your struggles remind us to maintain perspective and recognize how precious every day is. I sit at Port City Java and envision the day that I see you and your family walk by. I know that day will come and we will all be blessed with witnessing a triumph over the nasty evils that exist in our world. Bless all of you. We are strangers but I love you and TC and Jack.


  3. Just came across your blog a day or so ago. I read every post and by the time I got to this one, I could barely see through the tears in my eyes. You don't know me, but your family has worked its way into my thoughts. I'm praying for you.


  4. Abby, the more I read the more I realize that your grace and humility are unparalleled. All of the encouragement you and TC are receiving is well-deserved and will continue. Keep up your positive thoughts and we will keep you in ours!


  5. I have been following your posts and am reminded with each one how precious every day is. I am thrilled to read about the improvements. Know that many people around the country are praying for you all….you are in our thoughts daily. Your strength is amazing and wow! What an inspiration you all are!


  6. Abby, my thoughts and prayers are with you, your heroic husband and your precious son, Jack. My husband and I live in Logan Circle with our son Jack and I have no idea how I missed the news of your husband's assault earlier this summer, but I am aware of it now and my heart absolutely breaks for you. I can't imagine what you are going through, but your courage and strength is amazing, and I am inspired by your husband's resolve to get better. I hope you will find some comfort in knowing that so many are thinking of you, rooting for you, and praying for your family.


  7. As a fellow Capitol Hill mom (to a blonde toddler named Jack!), I just want to let you know that there are so many neighbors in this community who are thinking of you and rooting for TC and your family! You express yourself beautifully in writing — this blog will surely be treasured by everyone — but especially TC and Jack as they are able to read it in the future and grasp what you and they were going through during this traumatic time. I don't know where you find the time and energy to write (and to do it so well!), but hopefully it serves as much therapeutic value to you as it does to your readers and family. Many thanks for sharing your experiences as you navigate through this part of life, and wishing you all the strength in the world to continue being a loving wife and mother during the most trying times!


  8. I would love to be able to say something wise, thoughtful, magical that somehow makes it all better and takes your pain away. I can't even say: “I know what you are going through.” All I can say is: My heart goes out to you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s