Previously I told you about my son’s friend who was injured in Afghanistan. His name is Chris. It happened in August. A rocket hit his bunker and he was bombarded by shrapnel. Hee came home to Oregon for Thanksgiving, a mother’s prayer answered, a family’s hopes fulfilled. We were invited to dinner on Saturday. Our son was here visiting, too, another mother’s prayer, another prayer of thanks.
As we knocked on the door, we were filled with anticipation, not knowing what to expect. We weren’t sure if we should hug him—we didn’t want to hurt him! Then the door opened and there was Chris, smiling and, yes, he hugged us, carefully and oh, so wonderfully! This tall, strapping, left-handed soldier, his left shoulder torn and shattered, imbedded with pieces of shrapnel, had a spirit that buoyed us all—his smile, his eyes, his joy at being home with his family and friends.
He had been taken to Germany for his initial surgeries and stabilization. Word has it that he asked one of the nurses for a beer and she wouldn’t give him one. Being a nurse myself and knowing that Chris has a great sense of humor, I brought him a bottle of Newcastle (I had inside information that it was his favorite beer). As he and my son clinked bottles in a reunion toast at the kitchen counter amidst the aroma of turkey and trimmings, I noticed that Chris was using his left arm to drink his beer. While his shoulder is impaired, his elbow bent just enough for the bottle to reach his mouth. I commented what great physical therapy it was for his shoulder! His laugh was a delight.
It was a Thanksgiving reunion I will forever remember, a tapestry in time, a moment not “frozen in time” but held by its warmth of spirit and family for all time in our hearts. The words in my long ago written “Mother’s Prayer” were for Chris and for every mother’s and father’s child who is hurting. During the weeks following Chris’ injury, we shared in his “. . . pain and tears,” and while he still has a long road of rehabilitation ahead of him, on that Saturday after Thanksgiving “. . . his smile and his joy. . .” were ours again. I hope you all had a warm and forever kind of Thanksgiving, too.
Olivia C. Rossi, RN, MSN, ACSM
Your Personal Trainer