For our 25th wedding anniversary celebration in 2008, my husband and I included a note on the invitation that read “Your presence is the only gift we desire.” We didn’t want “stuff.” We wanted our friends to just enjoy the party and spend time with us. We wanted their presence… not their presents. Ever since he was very little, P.J. has loved the gift of our presence. He’s never, ever been a loner. If he’s watching a movie, he wants someone to watch it with him. If he’s going for a walk or a run, he wants someone to tag along. He doesn’t like being alone.
This journey has been a big challenge for him as he not only struggles to deal with the pain and suffering, but the time he has to spend alone. Now that he’s back in the burn unit, we don’t have the freedom to stay in the room with him twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week as we did when he was in the therapy ward or for the short time when he came home for those ten days last month. He is handling it well, but he anxiously awaits our arrival and becomes nervous when we don’t get there right at the start of visiting hours. It’s not that he wants to talk to us or wants us to talk to him. In fact, he often sleeps the majority of the time we are here. But the point is, we are here. We are sitting in the room with him, available if he needs us for anything from talking to wiping his nose. Just knowing we are here is a great comfort to him.
In those rare moments when we wonder if our presence is really of any value, we remind ourselves of the extent of his condition, not only physically, but emotionally as well. It is then that we regret the times when we aren’t able to be here with him, and we are thankful that in those moments, P.J. has the greatest gift of all — the presence of his Heavenly Father. Just knowing He is with our boy is a great comfort to us.
Tomorrow is June 11th. Five months have passed since that dreadful night when we were awakened by the delivery of horrifying news that our lives would never be the same. But every day, regardless of whether we take a step forward or a step back, we are one day closer to P.J.’s full recovery, and every day, is one day that we are blessed with the gift of P.J.’s presence.
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