It is cold. It is raining. It is Feb. 2nd. I think most years Bill’s Alive Day comes and I do more celebrating than remembering. But the weather was a factor in his accident 27 years ago. The rain was coming down in sheets like it is now, at least as I write this around midnight. They cut his clothes off because he was caught in the van, because he was bloody, but also because he was soaked through. I drove to the hospital with the windshield wipers beating out the same rhythm as my heart. The paper bag they gave me with his clothing was soggy on the bottom from the bloody, wet shreds of fabric contained within. And one shoe. I thought it odd in my foggy haze that there was only one shoe. And why did they save clothes that were in pieces? Did they think I would sew them back together? And if I did, did they think I could get the blood that turned them nearly solid crimson out? The wallet and wedding ring were handed to me…separate from the clothing. The ring went on my finger behind my own and there it stayed for months. Until the day he came home to stay.
Now I think back on those days…the days of his story, now that mine has been told. His story is one of miracles, and the desire to come back to me. To come home. To do what was needed to become functional. To continue his recovery, walking, talking, then on to working, and being a dad. Not all TBI sufferers come back as far. Truth be told, not many do. To me that is the miracle part of Bill’s story. The things that doctors said were impossible that he does. The things that shouldn’t have happened that did. His testimony is one of the faithfulness of God. We stand amazed when we look back at what could have been. And each year we stack our stones of remembrance and thankfulness. We add to the altar of memorial so that we do not forget the miracle that is. When my children ask me ‘What do these stones mean?’ I can say they are a testimony of God’s faithfulness to us. A witness of a time when God parted the sea with his presence, delivered us and rescued us. We live today, in the moment…in celebration of the 27th anniversary of Bill’s Alive Day.