Brain Surgery and a Belated Valentines Day

This photo of us holding hands just before they wheeled him to the O.R. , means more to me than any other image I've taken. I've never been more grateful for the cameras we all carry in our pockets. 

There are moments in our lives when our world comes crashing down around us; February 11th, 2017 was one of those moments for the LIMH family... 

We were in the middle of our Valentines shoot when Chris went to the Emergency Room. He had experienced a couple of episodes of numbness on his left side as the shoot was happening. We assumed it was likely due to the head and neck injury he sustained shortly after we moved to Athens, but a nurse had advised him to get it checked out anyhow... so to the E.R. he went.

I was worried, but he assured me it was most likely nothing, that it was probably just a strange symptom of the neck injury. He insisted I stay and finish the shoot.

I tried to keep my mind on my shot list, on the posing... Concern crept in and became a distraction, but I pushed through. As the shoot was wrapping up, I got lost in the joy of the 6 kiddos and the cloud party that was happening with the 10lb box of fiberfill. 

It wasn't long before the party came to an end, the camera got put away, and everyone said their goodbyes. An eerie silence fell upon our home. Nikki and I looked at one another, and one of us (I can not recall whom) wondered aloud as to how Chris was doing. We assured each other we would hear from him soon, telling us that all was well and he was headed home. 

I had just sat down to look at the images when my phone rang. It was Chris, his tone was somber. I immediately knew he wasn't on his way home. All I remember from that phone call was, "I'm bleeding in my brain and you need to get here now. This is serious.".... And the feeling of my heart sinking. I'm sure I went quite pale as the blood drained from my face. I dropped my stylus and jumped to my feet, kissed the littles and Nikki goodbye, grabbed the keys and made a drive that will forever be seared into my memory.

The 7 minutes to the hospital felt like hours; every red light brought more tears to my eyes. 

I parked the van, spoke words I can't recall to the nurse at the desk, and as my reality was fracturing into a thousand tiny pieces... I put on my strong face and took my place by his side. 

The neurosurgeon came to talk with us about the situation, and the only course of action... emergency brain surgery.

In an instant, the nearly nine years we've spent loving one another flashed before my eyes... and everything but that room, and that moment, and his hand in mine... disappeared from my view. 

I stayed strong. I held the space. I gave him all my love. 

This was my first experience waiting for someone to come out of surgery.

I prayed to every God that was listening...

A few weeks, more than a few scary moments, and another hospital stay have come and gone now, and we feel blessed that he is still here with us. What a lesson in how precious all of it is!

Life is just now starting to get back to some sort of normal...

The littles are home from the midwest vacation they took with Nikki so daddy could heal, we are all getting back to work, the k-9's no longer believe the world is ending...

And now that I've finally gotten around to editing those photos, I think I'm ready to set down my strong face and have a good cry.