the great healer
I've been reminded in the last few weeks to appreciate the gift of healing our bodies possess and the role that the passage of time plays in that process. We are exposed to so many miracles daily that it's easy to take them for granted; recovery, for one. And yes, there are some afflictions that our bodies do not rebound from, sadly, another post.
My son Jordan has been a skateboarder for years. He has made some very close friends through skating, one of which is Andy.
What would a post of mine be without a little digression? The one thing I didn't want my son to do when he was young… was skateboard. I carefully steered him quickly away from the aisles with skateboards for sale. I was doing a pretty good job until we moved to a new house when Jordan was in third grade. Our next-door neighbor Suzette had a son Parker. And you know where this is going, Parker was an avid skateboarder. His father built him a quarter pipe in their driveway. And even though Parker was older than Jordan, he welcomed Jordan as a companion and novice skateboarder.
When you see that Perfect Storm (love that movie) wave approaching, you know you haven't got a chance. Within months we were outfitting Jordan with his skateboarding gear, and he hasn't gotten off that skateboard since. He's happy on any board, including surfing, but skateboarding has always been his favorite, so much so that he has made a living from it over the years.
Both he and Andy were directors of the YMCA Skatecamp in California. And while Jordan's passion has landed us in the emergency room more times than I'd like to count, I wouldn't change a thing all these years later. He's lived a passionate life, and it has been a joy to watch him grow and mature, running the camp and working with the young campers. It's an understatement to say I am proud of my boy.
Jordan took over the director position when Andy suffered a traumatic brain injury— in a skating accident. Andy's condition was touch and go for quite some time. He easily could have died. Removing a portion of his skull was necessary to allow for the swelling.
His father posted daily on CaringBridge to keep friends and loved ones updated. It was a long ordeal for Andy, and all who love him, one that I'm sure felt overwhelming and endless at points. Andy's progress was slow and has required constant work on his part to continue the process of healing.
Since I didn't know Andy's family, I could only observe from a distance, read every post his father wrote, and send whatever was available on the site to hopefully show the family support-- a heart, a thumbs up, a short message.
I'm sure they never knew that I carried their grief with me every day— because one, my boy loves Andy, two, I love Andy, and three, it could have easily been my boy in that skating accident. I could, unfortunately, envision myself in their shoes in every horror story I heard.
The days turned into weeks, the weeks into months, and finally, the months into years. Andy is an amazing young man, full of goodness, a unique spirit, and a hilarious man. Seeing him regain his strength and purpose has been such a joy.
This last week Jordan has been home for a visit. Our days have been slow and restful, with lots of catching up and talking about this, that, and the other. Nothing quite like downtime with your adult children, taking in who they have become as adults.
Midweek he got a text from Andy, who was receiving his first head massage. Oh my God!!!!!
For those who have never had one, a head massage, particularly a scalp massage, is quite remarkable. These massages can help relieve stress and reduce tension, ease migraine or headache pain, lower blood pressure, improve circulation to your head and neck, and (maybe) promote hair growth. But the best part is what it makes you feel like because there are so many nerve endings in the scalp. The warm sensations radiate throughout the entire body, a heavenly experience.
And no surprise, Andy loved the massage.
Jordan and I marveled at the thought of Andy in the careful healing hands of a masseuse bringing pleasurable feelings to his scalp. Who could have imagined a few short years ago that one day in the not-too-distant future, Andy would be enjoying pleasure from the part of his body that had been so traumatically injured?
As the day progressed, I kept revisiting the image of Andy enjoying a head massage, the miraculous nature of our bodies with their healing capabilities. Each time the thought entered my mind, I took a deep breath and held it tight, like a hug to myself, followed by a silent prayer, God, please continue to bless Andy.
I wanted to share the story as a reminder for anyone that might be going through the healing process in whatever form that takes, emotional or physical— we all have tremendous capabilities coupled with the great healer time.