Bonnie, my wife, angel and caregiver has always been a master of reclamation. She could always take things that appear broken, worn out or beyond repair and make them like new and some cases, better. It doesn’t matter if it is a dying plant, a dirty 80 year old door, or scraps from house demolition, she works miracles. Her ultimate reclamation however is a 52 year old man with a broken brain.
A lesser woman would have looked at that broken mess of a man, thrown up her hands and went looking for a new unbroken man. Bonnie is not a lesser woman so she looked at it the way she looks at every other renovation project. She saw through the broken pieces to what was still there, remembered how it used to look, rolled up her sleeves and went to work.
Bonnie has demonstrated these reclamation skills all through our marriage. From putting on a band aid and kissing a “boo boo” to fixing a ripped ball gown or washing a trashed out favorite pair of sneakers, she always saw the upside of any situation. When we moved into our last house in Williamson, Georgia, as we walked around the property, she saw a beat-up king size headboard and said “That could make a great bench for the back porch.”
It went from this To this
Another example of her vision and also of her caring nature is when our friends, Marty and Patti Gunter lost their home to a devastating tornado in Barnesville, GA in April 2011. We had held church services in that house and had dinner there. Marty had even repaired my Daughter’s car in his shop that was also blown away. In the midst of that horrific scene where nothing existed but total devastation, Bonnie saw a cedar tree that was uprooted and in that pile of dead wood, she envisioned a beautiful wall clock that would represent victory over destruction. You can read about Marty and Patti’s triumph over tragedy in on her facebook page God Is Good All The Time Even In The Storm or order the book at God Is Good All The Time…Even In The Storm by … – MicroPress, Inc.
From this To this
My accident and resulting traumatic brain injury were a completely different issue but she approached it like any other reclamation project, analyze the situation, formulate a plan of attack and dive in. First, she literally cleaned me up since the hospital trauma staff is more concerned with keeping the patient alive and stabilizing them than cleaning dried blood from around non life threatening wounds. This was before she knew anything about what she was really up against. Then when those who didn’t know me thought I woke up and was going to be OK, she and our children started to see there was a lot of work to be done.
She had to figure out care giving on her own at the start which was a trial and error process. She used the tough love approach when I refused to eat. She put the plate of food in front of me and walked away then watched to see if I would actually try which I eventually did. She navigated the medical system looking for someone who really knew what to do with and for me. After hitting a few dead ends and unconcerned doctors, by the grace of God, she was referred to Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA, one of the top 10 rehab hospitals in the country. There is still a long way to go but she still does something every day that makes this broken man a little better than the day before.
From this To this
This post is a proclamation of blessings that I wish I could share with those who really deserve them. I have reservations or at least mixed emotions about publishing this but at the end of the day, this blog is the story of my journey back from the edge and the things in this post are my unique blessings that some of those reading have seen and can appreciate. I still personally have to look at these blessings with a lot of survivor’s guilt like the Vietnam War which I missed by a year and motorcycle riders who didn’t make it.
Awesome Rodney, I really enjoyed your story. Mark and I are so glad to have met you.