Below is an (unedited) update from my wife for you to share as is fitting. Our collision was a year ago today (Aug. 6).
Grace and Peace,
Today was the day: one year ago we were returning from vacationing with family. We had eaten lunch at Chick Fil A as our final stop before the 5 hour drive home. Through Gods providence Jaala was insistent on being properly seat belted before leaving the parking lot. We were exhausted and the kids snuggled in their seats for a nap. Heading north, we had not long passed Hershey Park when a Dodge Ram 3500 towing a horse trailer veered into our lane and hit us head on. It had so much force that our van was turned south bound. Within three minutes the first of six ambulances arrived to begin transporting all 8 of us to the nearby hospital- Hershey.
As I think back on that horrendous day, I can’t help but to thank our Father in heaven for saving EVERY ONE of our lives! A year later, we are still experiencing effects of the wreck, but by His goodness, we have reasons to rejoice.
Here is the latest update:
Jason is amazing! He has been right here helping with everything while continuing his pastorate. Though most days he seems fine, inside he struggles a lot with Jalaa’s disability. He is getting better, but, it’s hit him the hardest. He was fascinated with Jalaa. She had a personality that he adored. Jason has had a hard time letting go of who Jalaa was. He can barely look at old pictures or videos of her without losing himself to tears. Watching her in her wheelchair, his heart breaks that her ‘life’ has been taken from her. By Gods grace, as times passes on we see glimpses of Jalaa’s old personality which gives Jason hope.
I am pressing on. It’s been two and a half months since my second surgery and I’ve been cleared from physical therapy along with the surgeon giving me a green light to carry on with my normal routine. There is still a little pain but nothing that hinders me from any tasks.
Jivahn is doing well. He’ll be 18 in a few months and loving the little freedom he’s got.
Jaala is good, too. Shes the one child of mine who needs extra attention so this summer has been tough on her. However, she is learning how to ‘manage’ herself which is definitely a good thing.
Jalea is loving life! She had a rough start to her summer when she jumped off a swing at school and broke her arm. Six weeks and three casts later she’s all healed and is excited about every day she wakes up to.
Javea is usually Jalea’s sidekick. Wherever Jalea is, Javea usually isn’t far behind. This summer she’s learned to be more bold and has learned to stand up for herself. She will be starting kindergarten next month. The poor girl has no idea about how much her world will change.
Jisyah is still a handful. It honestly takes a village for that little guy! He loves the word ‘no’ and enjoys aggravating his sisters.
Finally, Jalaa. I could go on and on about her but will keep it short. A year ago today, we were told she may not live. She spent a full month in ICU where she and doctors fought for her life. Jalaa suffered a severe blow to the head that was diagnosed as a Traumatic Brain Injury. She spent a month in ICU under an induced coma. She was then transported via ambulance to a local rehab hospital where she stayed for the next three months two of which were spent coming off of sedative medications. Tensions were still high while she was in therapy as we were waiting for her to ‘snap out of it’. Little did we know, it was going to be a gradual progression. Jalaa came home at the end of November but we continued to take her in for outpatient therapy 3 times a week through June. We didn’t get big moments of progress with her, rather, it has been slow, small achievements. Over time she has come so far! I still remember the first time she called for me. I was ecstatic! She use to use her iPad to communicate. Now, she talks non stop and her speech is audible. She moves around mostly with her wheelchair but is able to use a walker as long as someone is behind her to help her balance. I’ve actually found that locking arms with her and walking alongside her is easier than using a walker. She is able to get herself dressed if I give her clothes. Because her arm shakes a great deal she needs assistance brushing her hair and teeth. She still uses diapers but we are currently attempting to transition into panties. She loves to arm wrestle, and she’s not biased to anyone. She recently bragged about winning an arm wrestling competition with a
90 year old gentleman in our church.
Jalaa has been attending school 2-3 times a week for a few months now. Our main goals are rehabilitation therapies and memory strengthening. She has trouble with her short term memory and we found that repetition is the key. She has been in a class with special needs children but has advanced well enough to join other classes when the school year starts.