Sorry I haven't updated in so long. We have been busy and sometimes its hard to find the time to sit and write down all that's going on. I few quick updates:
Halloween is almost here all the kids have their costumes and it is hard to think about Jo not being as involved as previous years. Last year he decided to go trick or treating at the last minute. I imagine this year he would have stayed at home and handed out candy, he was always so happy to see the little kids all dressed up. He would give away half the candy to cute little guy or gal if he could. We will keep him involved!
My sister also connected with great family who makes custom wristbands and makes the available on Amazon. Picture below, if you're interested please grab one, a potion of the proceeds go to Jo's recovery. I ran out of jowitz wristbands a long time ago and I know so may people have asked for more. This wristband is a little more robust and should hold up better, and it is definitely the easiest way to get one. http://a.co/5Vo31eV
Jojobinks you are amazing in every way. Your smile is just as infectious as ever, and we see it more every day. We know you are in there fighting so hard to get back to yourself. You are the bravest person I know and we are so proud of your progress! Keep resting and fighting God is with you and he is healing you, we will wait patiently. Love you to the moon and back sweet angel, YOU'VE GOT THIS!
A quick update on Jo. He is extremely stable and relaxed. He is physically stronger everyday and can now sit up for more than 25 minutes! It is not easy, and it obviously drains him but he never gives up! Each day he grows a little stronger, and he is working his way back to us, thank God. The past few days Jo has been less animated and engaging than in the past, we believe he may be a little sad about his current state. We can only imagine what it must be like to will your mind to make your body perform the simplest tasks. It must be extremely frustrating and depressing at times, it's not hard to understand why he has good days and bad. He still blesses us with his smile many times a day, it is truly amazing,
This Thursday my family and I were able to attend Jo's benefit marking both the most exciting and humbling event we have ever been part of. So many people took time out of their lives to help us we cannot begin to express our gratitude. Every detail was covered, and the spirit of love could not have been stronger. We hugged and laughed more people than we could count, it was such a special night.
There were so many contributions it was overwhelming. One thing that stuck out most to me and my family is how love carried the night, and despite the circumstances of our need for help, our friends and family were all in great spirits. All we heard was encouragement and words of faith and hope for Jo's full recovery. His story has touched many lives and as parents hearing that provides a sense of comfort despite our challenges. We did not spend a night hearing "I'm sorry" instead we heard "Jo's got this, and we love you". We can't tell you how important that is to us, our sense of hope is strong, but with your support our faith never waivers. One day at a time is our new family mantra.
A few notes of special thanks to the "Team Witzman" for organizing, planning, and directing this amazing event. Pennie, Val, Brenda, Wendy, and Manette, along with their amazing families, made us feel so special. We still don't know how you did it, but we could never thank you enough. We know you were not alone, please pass along our deepest gratitude to everyone involved, but wanted to thank you each personally for your time and dedication to our family, we love you all so much!
The final miracle of the night was an amazing gift from the Santiago family. As the event wound down we were asked to meet with their family to talk about another donation. We were completely shocked and humbled by their offer of a mobility van for Jo. It changes our life immediately and all at once provides our family a chance for reasonable normalcy for Jo. Not only can we get to appointments on our own schedule but in addition we can take Jo out for a stroll through the mall, a park, or to the store. We've said many times before, our family is not complete without Jo with us, this amazing gift allows that to happen now. We are still in shock that we are so blessed. God bless your family for this amazing gift, someday we hope to pass it on to the next family in need.
I've talked many times about the angels on earth who've carried us through this journey. Never have they been more on display than this event. I've copied the text from what would have been my thank you speech, if not for my inability to get through the first sentence. Wendy read it to the group on my behalf. We've never felt more love and we are deeply touched to be so loved by so many.
We are blessed...
I always thought hearing that was more of a cliché, I have never been more wrong. I often watched 60 minutes or Dateline and thought how could these families impacted by so much by tragedy and despair still say ... we are blessed. They would even say they were "lucky". It just doesn't fit the narrative, yet they would say it with such conviction it just baffled me, until tragedy struck our family, it suddenly made perfect sense.
Prior to this tragedy, I always told people that we were alone in Seattle, no other family nearby, and despite our challenges we just made it work. At times we were drained, and I'll admit to feeling sorry for myself on more than one occasion. It is an easy trap to fall into when life gets difficult, it can paralyze you if you let it. I realize now what's kept us moving forward is love. Our ability to get up each day, accept our normal, and keep moving forward is all about love. The amazing love our family shares combined with overwhelming love that you see here tonight is the key to our strength. It lifts us up when we are down and makes the impossible seem possible. It provides us with hope and the faith that tomorrow will be better than today, and we are blessed to have so many people helping that become true.
On my desk is a quote that has never had more meaning than it does today.
"You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have"
Please accept our sincere thanks for the unconditional love you have shown our family. Your thoughts and prayers have restored our boy and continue to help him heal each and every day. We are strong because we are blessed, we are lucky, because we have so much love and support from so many.
Please use our story of hope and faith to remind you of what is truly important in life. The next time you feel stressed, slighted, cheated, wronged, or overwhelmed, remember that you are loved, LET IT GO. Remember what is most important in life, those that you love and those who love you. Make every moment count, treasure it. You never know what lies ahead, embrace those moments with your loved ones, slow down and enjoy it.
Someday soon Jo will be able to thank you all himself, for now please accept our sincere thanks, and know that we love you all very much. Words could never express how blessed, lucky, and loved we are.
Today was one of those days. Not like anything I've had before this tragedy but something I've become sadly accustomed to the past 5 months. Life moves slowly, painfully so, and we yearn so much for what we used to have. It doesn't mean we will never get it back, in fact we have faith we will, but in silent moments of reflection the pain is difficult to measure.
Jo is rock solid. The past few weeks have been by far his best since being discharged. He is so obviously aware of his surroundings and is so engaging it takes our breath away. If you walk in the room he turns, looks in your eyes, and shows his amazing strength on resolve. He is so engaged it makes it hard to leave the room at times, thankfully we have been blessed with amazing nurses who clearly care for Jo deeply. Leaving him in their care is extremely comforting and necessary to keep the rest of our life going.
If you've browsed around the site you've probably noticed something about Jo. If you knew him personally pictures don't really do it justice...THAT SMILE. I've heard people talk about smiles that light up a room, with Jo the light was blinding. His smile so genuine and innocent it felt like he was touching your heart. I'm happy to report, that smile remains, his connection even stronger than before. Jo is in there, fighting his way back, his smile easing our pain and giving us the strength to remain patient. Lately he smiles often, and it has become easier to get that smile out of him. At those moments, for however brief, he is peaceful, happy, and so close to us. I cannot describe in words the way his smile makes me feel, nor the numerous times he brought me back from the depths of desperation with that smile. It's like he knows when I need it most, when I am down, when I am dwelling on the past, feeling like it isn't fair, impatient, desperate for progress, and blind to how far we have come. He shows me that dimple and darkness I so often fight disappears, it is just he and I sharing a moment of pure love, I cannot hold back my tears, every time.
One thing hasn't changed, Jo loves to laugh at dad. I'd do anything to make him smile, fortunately I don't have to do much to make him smile. Yesterday I told him, "Jo I am learned Dr. and I am here to take care of you. I will make sure your mom doesn't do anything wrong". He smiled ear to ear, it was amazing. There is nothing I miss more than laughing with my boy. If you thought his smile was intoxicating you should hear him laugh, please God please let me hear that again soon.
I'm sure many of you can relate to those feelings that crop up with "facebook memories" or likewise on Google pictures. For some reason I can't hesitate to click "view more". I really should have learned by now that in my sometimes fragile state this is not a good idea. Unlike my super hero wife I still can't look at pictures of Jo without issues. Videos are even worse, hearing his voice makes me crumble. Today I clicked on google pictures and stumbled upon a video that brought me to my knees. It was Jo scoring a touchdown in his flag football league. He was a stud player and nothing brought me more joy as his dad than watching him play. He played like he lives, free and fast, graceful and powerful, and with an emphatic joy that was contagious. I broke down for an hour after that, it was one of those days. It just hurt so bad. Please God please, I need to see that again someday, however far away, please give us that joy again.
Jojobinks you and your mom are my heroes. I have never seen such strength, and never felt so much love. We are so excited by your progress and so anxious for more. Please keep lending your strength to be patient, we will never give up hope, and we have faith we will get you back as you were. It is God's will, and you will be a testimony to his love. We love you to the moon and back sweet angel, YOU'VE GOT THIS.