My special season of Thanksgiving

At this time of the year, we reflect on what we are thankful for, and typically one of the first things out of our mouths are our health and our family. Makes perfect sense as these are truly what matter to us, when all else is stripped away. The problem is, we forget to live that way the rest of the year.

Our family has an extra special reason to be thankful, and the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is a strong reminder, but not as you may think. We had a dreadful thing happen the Saturday/Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend in 2008.

The weekend that changed us forever

My hubby had never been a hunter, but decided to go on a weekend duck hunting orientation with some guys from work. The location was remote, plus he accidentally left his cell phone at home anyway. Because of the remote location, he met up with somebody and left his car near the interstate. We are in GA, but this happened to be a very wet and cold weekend. He left on Friday morning and was expected home sometime on Sunday afternoon.

That Sunday, I went with my youngest daughter, 15 at the time and another teenage friend, to IKEA in Atlanta (about 40 miles from my home). Just as I was getting in the car to leave, I get a call from a number I didn’t recognize. It was my hubby, who sounded horrible. He said, “I’m sick, baby”. He was calling from our local hospital ER phone. You have to realize, my hubby doesn’t go to the hospital. I asked “if he had a fever, did he catch pneumonia?”

Then he said, “I think I had a stroke”.

My first thought was to shrug it off, that he was overreacting, but it became apparent he wasn’t. I called my 17 year old son who was at home, to get his dad’s phone and to go directly to the hospital. I left from IKEA straightaway and headed there as well.

When I arrived, the had confirmed my husband had bleeding on the brain, but that it looked as if it had stopped. They were sending him to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. At this point I knew it was serious, but didn’t understand how serious, and the local hospital didn’t explain.

Transferred to Emory

I chose not to ride in the ambulance as I thought I would want my car with me in the city. As soon as they left with him, I went home and grabbed 2 changes of clothes and a few toiletries. Then I went to Emory.

When I arrived, they had him in a Neurosciences ICU. The doctor had looked at his scan, and proceeded to tell me that hubby had suffered a brain aneurysm. The blood and spinal fluid were building pressure in his skull and they needed to release that. They also said he would be in the ICU for 14 days and the hospital for at least another 7. In my shock of the situation, I remember thinking “I’m gonna need more clothes”! That’s insane, when I think back!

This story is long, and I am not going to tell the whole thing here in this one post. I will tell you this, that my hubby is a walking miracle. He was in ICU for 11 days and then in a room for 2 days before going home. He has no lasting effects from the aneurysm. Everything they said could happen didn’t, with the exception of needing a shunt in his skull to drain spinal fluid. That is a surface procedure and not open skull!

While we were in the hospital, I saw several families lose their loved ones. It was very sad, and I felt a little guilty that my husband was doing so well. We know now that it was not his time.

We have learned the things that are important, and they’re not things.



Our relationship with God.

Enjoying the world around us.

family picture

My family! Summer 2010

Have you or your family ever experienced a life changing event? Something that totally altered your perception and the way you look at things?

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36 comments to My special season of Thanksgiving

  • Thats a very moving blog post. I agree with you,family and friends are the most important things in the world.Best wishes to you and your family.
    Harriet recently posted..Debt AdviceMy Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    Thanks Harriet! Same to you and yours!

  • Wow! How scary – I can’t imagine!!! I am so thankful he is okay and with you today – wow!

    Last Thanksgiving we lost a loved one on my husband’s side of the family. The funeral fell on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving – which also happened to be the day I was expecting 22 guests for a Turkey dinner. It was a hard thanksgiving last year – this year has been much brighter! I am expecting the same group for a turkey dinner – but not until tomorrow – woohoo! So I’m setting the table and getting the house ready today!

    HAve a FANTASTIC turkey day! Keep walking with the King!
    Courtney(WomenLivingWell) recently posted..10 Things I Am Thankful ForMy Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    Yea, a funeral at any holiday would be tough! An aquaintance of mine lost her father to a brain tumor and they’ll be having the funeral on Saturday…
    I am glad you are having a much better year this year! Thanks for coming by to visit!

  • Wow! What a story. I found you on A List Bloggers and had to come read. Great job drawing the reader into the story. I’m so glad your husband is ok!

    bernicewood Reply:

    Hi Betsy,
    Thank you for coming by from A-List! And thanl you for the compliments on the writing, I am loving the class and learning so much~

  • BL

    My father-in-law passed away this past Tuesday and the funeral is on Saturday. He went in for surgery to take out a brain turmor, and while he was recovering the family was told it was cancer, but he didn’t pass away from the tumor or the surgery. He had blood clots in his leg that broke loose and went to his lungs. We never expected it to happen. Today, at my mother-in-law’s house we were looking at his calendar and he had marked it with the surgery date, the recovery dates, and then the day he would go home. It was terribly sad. He was a sweet heart of a man…very loyal. I will miss him so very much. A bright spot during this time, however, has been just seeing how much everyone is showing their love and appreciation for one another.

    bernicewood Reply:

    I am SO sorry for your unexpected loss! What a sad turn of events. Those blood clots can appear from nowhere it seems. The irony of it, a cancerous brain tumor and it is a blood clot that caused his death. Such a difficult situation all the way around, dealing with the unexpectedness, and around the holidays. I ams so glad that your family is being loving and supportive of one another.
    I will say a prayer for you and your family…

  • Bernice – I love your blog. I’ve blogrolled you and signed up for updates.
    I can fully appreciate your experience and know what it is to be grateful for miracles – the ordinary ones are even more precious.
    from India
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..Our Experience of SynchronicityMy Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    Thank you so much Corinne! Glad you subscribed! And yes, the ordinary, everyday miracles are the most precious…

  • It is strange that I found your blog today. It is 9 years today that my Dad passed away unexpectedly of a vigorous stomach cancer. It affected me deeply and made me question my whole life at that time. We changed much of how we lived our life and tried to enjoy it more and be thankful for it.I don’t normally talk about that experience but your wonderful post just made me appreciate what I have in my life today even more. I hopped over from java’s hop. I’m very pleased that I did. I wish you all well and am really glad your husband is okay.I am your latest follower and send my sincerest wishes to you all at this time of Thanksgiving.

    bernicewood Reply:

    I am so glad you found me! So sorry about your dad’s passing all those years ago. The unexpected deaths are the worst. I lost my mom unexpectedly, but my dad’s was slow from cancer, very sad to watch. It is good that you were able to learn to appreciate life from his passing and have different outlook.
    Thanks for following!

  • I am visiting from Friday Over 40.

    My husband had quadruple open heart surgery and it was a rough road back. You are right… such events help us to realize what is really important.

    bernicewood Reply:

    Hey there Mama!
    I hope that he is doing fine now! It is amazing how the foolish insignificant things fall away at those times. Too bad we choose to dwell on them ever at all!
    Thanks for coming by!

    Ellen Marie "Mama" Pike Reply:

    He is doing well. Thanks for asking.
    Ellen Marie “Mama” Pike recently posted..If You Were Interviewed About GratitudeMy Profile

  • Bernice,

    Here’s to a happy, quiet, healthy Thanksgiving 2010 for you and your whole family! That is quite an experience your husband went through.

    My honey’s mom (my mother in law) had a brain aneurysm a little over 10 years ago. We went and stayed with her to help out during the recovery period (of a few months). I know how serious they can be!

    I’m sure it is a Thanksgiving reminder every year of what to be thankful for in your life. Thank you for sharing this story.

    Tanja from Minimalist Packrat recently posted..Minimalist Thanksgiving KitchenMy Profile

  • What a blessing that your Hubby did so well, his recovery sounds like a miracle. Other then the deaths of my parents and grandmother within an eleven month period, the most life altering event was when my then, 9 year old, daughter was diagnosed with non Hodgkins lymphoma. I feel that event had an affect on each person in our family especially her five siblings.
    Because she is a diabetic, she had to be hospitalized once a month for chemo and treated in the out patient clinic for her other monthly chemo treatments. This pattern went on for 13 months and to say the least, our lives were consumed with her emotional and physical health.
    By the grace of God, she is now a 35 year old mother of one beautiful daughter!
    Shawn Becker recently posted..Weekend Hops-Thirty Days of ThanksMy Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    Oh, very traumatic year that was! I am so glad to hear, however, that your daughter made it through just fine! Thanks for coming by to visit, come back again soon!

  • So happy that your husband is ok! We all have so much to be thankful for.

  • What a happy ending to such a serious tragedy! I have been part of that other family..lost a very young brother; senselessly..
    But this year; oh vacation in June with all the kids their spouses and the grand kids along with my husbands 7 sisters and brothers. It was a great time.
    Upon returning home we received the news our youngest son was in a terrible in a coma for 23 days; 8 surgeries to repair internal injuries and he is still working at re-hab. At the same time my daughter gave birth prematurely and my 8 year old grand son had a steel pole go straight through his ankle at summer camp. They told us he would lose his foot.
    Fast forward to Thanksgiving-Son is a walking miracle, grandson kept his foot and is a running miracle and our little Peyton Elizabeth is a rolling miracle (she loves to roll all over the floor) just never know what will be thrown your way and luckily like you and your family we have plenty to be thankful for this year!
    doreen mcgettigan recently posted..Happy Black Friday FragmentsMy Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    Sorry for the delay in responding to your comment! I am so sorry that you have had such a tough year! That is SO much to have thrown at you at one time! You must have just gone into survival mode. Thank God that things have turned out, not perfect or without pain, but you have your loved ones and you have a renewed sense of life’s sweetness. During this time of making memories and celebration, your family has so much more to celebrate, and it has nothing to do with shopping, buying gifts, going to parties!
    Hold them close and dear to your heart!

  • Amazing! I’m so glad you got to bring him home!
    laughwithusblog recently posted..First Embarrassing Moment of 2011My Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    Yes, it was a miracle!
    Thanks for coming by!

  • Oh wow, that is so scary. I remember when my dad had a heart attack, turned grey, then recovered quickly…acting like it was nothing. We were in Canada, far from southern California. Found out when we got home he had a heart attack. It could have been far worse.
    Susan recently posted..Cookie Diet by Dr Siegel – Reckless Dieting or A Dream Come TrueMy Profile

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  • Sally Thompson

    Great post! You are really right, Family and Friends is the most important thing in the world. You cannot live without them. Thanks for sharing this!
    Sally Thompson recently posted..pennzoil oil change couponsMy Profile

  • This could be my story, only it happened to me–skiing. And it was a dissected artery rather than a vein. I feel blessed every day that I survived and with no side effects. I understand the trauma that you and your family went through–and also your gratefulness! God is good.

  • Oh Bernice, your post brought back so many memories for me. Four years ago my husband had meningitis and was seriously ill in hospital. We were blessed that he pulled through. The complications and health issues following his illness lasted two and a half years. As you say, these things are a HUGE perspective giver.

    In relation to your list of what is most important, I would put health at the very top.

    Thanks for sharing your story. It is a reminder that we just don’t know when something will happen to deprive us of what we value most so we must live fully in eveyr moment.

  • Michelle

    @womanonajourney A very happy ending. In 2003, my hubby was in an accident. Car totaled. Three days in hospital with worry about brain injuries. Alive and well today. Yes. We have much to be grateful for.

  • Intuition helps downloading the ideas normally not present to our senses.

    Think of it as a still voice, a hunch or a gut feeling
    - whenever it begins happening you will comprehend that it’s no chance.!
    Dowsing is a art someone can use to gain access to the intuition using dowsing pendulum or perhaps divining rod.
    I have been practicing it for a number of years and I do believe any one can easily learn it.
    radiesthesia recently posted..radiesthesiaMy Profile

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