We arrived at Mary Bridge in a panic, my wife and son by helicopter and me by car well above any posted speed limit. It seems like yesterday, and I still wake up suddenly from that memory as if from my worst nightmare. 90 minutes earlier our baby boy had collapsed in the car just outside the Covington emergency room. When I arrived the van was parked haphazardly in front of the ER literally halfway in the front doors, that something I would do, not my wife. In a whirlwind he was sedated, intubated, sent for a CT scan, and it was obvious our life had changed forever. I still remember getting a hug from the on duty ER Dr. and I recognized he initiated it as soon as I said I was Dad. The hug was as much for me as it was for him, he seemed almost as scared as I was. My wife stood bedside in pure shock as I sat in the waiting room with Bella and Jimmy. I hit my knees and began to pray. I couldn't think of anything to say except "please God please" over and over and over. I repeated that phrase out loud at least 1000 times on my way to the hospital. As it were, when I pulled up from my 26 mile drive in rush hour traffic, I beat the chopper by 2 minutes and saw it land. Please God please.
Jo was rushed directly into the OR. We sat and waited for what seemed like hours until we we met what would be our first Dr./ Surgeon. I still remember his tired expression as he described the "successful" surgery, and then said those fateful words "brain damage, is unknown, we will see". I prayed again, please God please.
Today Jo was fitted for a wheelchair. I cannot describe the emotions I felt as we used a lift to take my strong, athletic, 13 year baby boy into a body sling attached to a lift to sit in his first wheelchair. It still doesn't seem real. I cannot look back, I cannot think about where he was 31 days ago. I am broken in so many ways, but nothing hurts more than looking back.
The therapist went through a series of websites with pictures of different "new necessities" for our home. Lifts, shower seats, wheel chairs, and rail systems. My boy who used to take the bus to school, now would travel by cabulance to anywhere we had to go. The only place he has to go anymore is Dr. appointments. How could this be? Lord help me understand your plan, help me keep my faith in your healing powers, grant me the strength to wake up the next day. Please God please.
These beautiful Washington days are the types Jo lived for. He would light up with the idea of being outside enjoying the weather. Jo is amazed by earth's beauty, and he reflects about it often, something not common for a teenager. He loves bald eagles like his mom, he would get such great joy from pointing one out to her. They share a special deep connection, I'd often find myself jealous. To say Jo was special to her would be largest understatement ever made.
Jo is such a critical part of our family. His sisters want nothing more than to be close to him, we've learned this is also true of almost everyone that knew him. I can't express how it feels to have kids talk about missing Jo, it immediately brings us tears of joy and pain. Lord please bring him back to all of us soon, he is so loved. Please God please.
I had a dear friend once counsel me soon after my son Jimmy was diagnosed with Autism. As young parents we were devastated by the diagnosis and thoughts of the future were terrifying. She told me to remember to never ask the Lord "why me?" Instead know that my wife and I were chosen for this journey because we were perfect for it. Jimmy was given to us because we could give him a life others couldn't. At times we reflect on the trials of our life and see their true meaning, why we were chosen. Jimmy has prepared us for a fight, mentally and physically, a fight I'm not sure others would be suited for. So we will fight, we will not give up hope, it is what God expects of us. We will cry countless tears, our hearts will bend but not break, we will run towards the future not shy from it, and we will show our children what unconditional love looks like. Please God please.
Our family and friends have shown their unconditional love for us from the moment this tragedy struck. Leaping into action to support us in so many ways. Sending their love everyday, praying for us constantly, and willingly donated their time and money each and every day. We cannot thank you enough, faith in God and your love carry our days. We pray that you all know how much you mean to us. Please God please.
Jojobinks, mommy and daddy are here and we love and miss you so much. Today was probably tough for you to understand, it was the most challenging thing I've ever done. We have faith that your struggles are temporary. That your strength will be restored and you will live as a testimony to belief transforming into miracles for everyone to see. Open your eyes sweet angel, crack that smile, the lord is with you he will not let you fall. We love you to the moon and back sweet angel, you've got this.