Guest / Limited Access /

Earlier this year, my 18-year-old daughter, Holly, pulled in front of a Chevy Tahoe on a rainy, windswept night and got "T-boned" on the driver's side at about 50 mph. Holly was pulled unconscious from her Pontiac Sunfire. She had suffered a broken pelvis, a chipped tailbone, a cracked collarbone, extensive facial lacerations, and, most importantly, a "brain shearing" injury that left her with damage to her frontal lobe and other parts of her brain.

Everything changed for our family that night, as we were involuntarily ushered into a new community of those whose family members have experienced catastrophic injuries. More specifically, we joined the thousands of families that are affected by traumatic brain injury.

Thus began the harrowing of our family.

It is an old Middle English word, harrowing. Borrowed as a metaphor from agriculture, to harrow is to "disturb keenly or painfully; distress the mind, feelings, etc. … to become broken up by harrowing."

There is a kind of anguish known only to those who have kept vigil at the bedside of their suffering child. Their only near neighbors, I assume, are those whose vigil has taken them to the graveside.

When we first saw Holly and for three long days following, she lay unconscious—bloodied and bruised and deeply silent. Every step after that was a step forward. She opened her eyes after three days. For eleven more days, she drifted between wakefulness and sleep, a mute witness to the family and friends who rotated through her room, keeping watch.

And then, joy: On February 11, she rasped to her caretaker, "Could you rewind the movie, please?" By later that evening, she was talking happily with school friends. Three days later, she began inpatient neurological rehab at Shepherd ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedThe Midlife Church Crisis
Subscriber Access Only The Midlife Church Crisis
In Christ, there is neither empty nester nor new mom.
TrendingHow 727 Megachurches Spend Their Money
How 727 Megachurches Spend Their Money
Leadership Network and Vanderbloemen find what determines pastor salaries (and who might be most underpaid).
Editor's PickWhy Can't Men Be Friends?
Why Can't Men Be Friends?
Men and women alike increasingly say they are lonely. It doesn't have to be this way.
Comments
Christianity Today
Crash
hide thisMay May

In the Magazine

May 2006

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.