Thursday, June 27, 2013

As promised, here is Lydia's speech that she gave at her grade 8 graduation in text form. 
I can do anything.  I have learned this truth this past year.  I have been on a hard journey of recovery.  I could have died, but God gave me a second chance to live, and life is a precious gift.  I am doing my best to live fully, to treasure the life that I have been given.   

I want to share the hope that I have.  I want to ignite a flicker of hope in others, reminding them that anything is possible.   

I spent 2 months in a deep coma, at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, where I could not talk, or walk, or even move on my own.  From July until October, I was at Holland Bloorview, a children’s rehab hospital.  In August, when I was at home visiting my family, on my dad’s birthday, I spoke my first sentences.  This past school year, I have spent at home with therapists, teachers and support workers, and I have relearned how to walk, balance, think and communicate.  I am recovering.

Our attitudes are very important.  They shape us.  They have a huge impact on life.  It is important to not face each day with a crummy attitude.  Instead, put on a smile, be thankful, and face each day with hope and strength.   

“Life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% of how we react to it.”  We can’t control everything that happens to us, but we can control our attitudes. Expect the unexpected - something totally out of the ordinary, and when that happens, you’ll be ready to embrace it, whatever “it” is.

Over the last year, I have gone through many mixed emotions.  There were times at night, when I felt like giving up, but God gave me hope.  In the morning, I awoke with a new perspective, renewed faith, and determination.  When hard times come your way, when the unexpected happens, do not lose hope or give up.  Have faith, a positive attitude and you’ll find strength for each step of your journey.  Thank you for encouraging me in mine.

One last note, before I sign off, possibly for the summer: Lydia and I will be guests on 100 Huntley Street on Wednesday July 10, in the morning.  We will be sharing about our experiences this past year: about a loving and faithful God who can hold us and care for us, in every situation, in every moment.
Until we blog again, remember Romans 12:12:  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Grade 8 graduation

Many times, we find this journey to be bittersweet.  Sorrow and joy flow together.  More often, there is joy, delight and gratitude - a sweetness to savour.  The graduation ceremony for the grade 8 students at Baden Public School was a wonderful celebration on Friday evening.  Lydia was able to walk across the stage, and receive her diploma.  The audience spontaneously clapped and cheered as she did so, even though we were saving our applause for the end, due to the number of students graduating.  How beautiful to be cheered on by this community that has journeyed deeply with us.

Lydia gave a speech at her graduation ceremony, sharing some of the lessons she has learned this past year.  She wrote it herself, and practiced it a lot at home, and with her speech language pathologist.  The standing ovation she received tugged at our hearts.  I have been told by many, "there wasn't a dry eye in the audience".  It was powerful.  Here is a link to her speech.
I will post her speech in printed form in a separate blog, for those who would rather read it.

In the car, after graduation, Lydia asked me, "Do you think I would have received an award if I had not been hit?"  Her mind had wandered the same path that ours had during the ceremony.  How might her grade 8 graduation have looked if this unasked for incident had not entered our lives last year?
We pray regularly to be kept in the present - to not dream a different future, or cling to the past, but to be thankful for each day, and praise the Lord for it.  In Lydia's grade 8 homeroom graduation book, she shared her favourite quote: Psalm 118:24  This is the day that the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. 
He is faithful.  We entrust our hearts to Him, who gently holds us.
Over the summer, Lydia will have some time off, but will continue with therapy and school.  She is keen to keep pressing on: to regain, relearn, and in some cases, learn for the first time.  She wants to catch up to her peers.  While we have been told that she will have lifelong implications to her injuries, we have not shared this with Lydia.  She is determined, and she keeps working hard.

In September, Lydia will go to high school with a new member of her team, an educational rehab specialist.  She will attend some classes with her new teacher, as well as receiving individual instruction in other subject areas.    Therapy will continue, sometimes at the school, sometimes at the therapists clinics.  We are so thankful for the progress Lydia has made, that permit her to renter school already.  Our educational rehab specialist has told us that often she does not become a part of the treatment team until 2 or 3 years post injury, in cases where the severity of the brain injury was as traumatic as Lydia's.  We praise God for his healing work in Lydia.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
We also thank you for your continued prayers.  We are so touched to have people we don't know approach us and tell us they have been praying for Lydia.  Thank you.