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Firing Booster Rocket #3

The past few days are an absolute blur because the playing field has completely changed.

I took Peyton up to see Anissa Sunday.

I had prepped Peyton the night before, just like with the other two.  I showed her one of the videos and explained to her that mommy was still pretty sick and needed sleep.  I also told her that if mommy was asleep, that was ok because she could still hear her.

Sunday morning, Peyton and I watched the video that all the bloggers put together.  About half way through that, Peyton teared up and decided that she wanted to go before church.

She just couldn’t wait to see mommy.

So, we hopped in the car and headed on down the road.

That drive took forever.

We stopped at Walmart to grab a few necessities (mini tree, large numbered digital clock, lotions).  Peyton was pretty nervous about things.  She was pretty excited, but wanted to stay within 2 feet of me at all times.

Believe it or not folks, she’s the shy one of the family.

We finally got to the rehab center, signed in, and strolled down to Anissa’s room.

Anissa’s sister, Angela, was in the room when we got there.  Peyton slowly walked up to the bed, and gave her a hug.  Thirty some odd days worth of tears poured out of Peyton.  It was a silent cry.  We sat her up on the bed and Anissa ran her hand over Peyton’s hair and told her she loved her.

Anissa made a comment about Peyton missing teeth.  She’s lost 2 since this all began.

She also made a big todo about Peyton’s cast.  She wanted to sign it.  We put a pen in her left hand and she scribbled some lines on it.

Basically she put on her “mommy game face” for Peyton.

We talked about the birthday and Thanksgiving activities.

I wasn’t thinking.  I was trying to show Anissa that I had things under control and we just needed her to get better.  Yup.  Dumb me.  It wound up making her sad because she missed those things.

The impressive thing is that she waited until Angela took Peyton out of the room to break down.

We had our cry.  She apologized for what’s happened.  I reminded her it wasn’t her fault and this was just one more thing to deal with.

Peyton came back in the room and we talked a little more.  Good-byes were said and Peyton and I went to the car.  She got in the back, I got in the driver’s seat and looked back to check on her and saw the biggest crocodile tears ever.  We sat in there and talked things out for about 20 minutes.  The tears kept coming.  I let her pick a spot for lunch and we headed there.  The tears were gone for a little bit.

At bed time, we said our prayers and thanked God for everything good in the day.  Peyton was thankful she got to see mommy, and then, even bigger crocodile tears came out.  We talked it over for a little bit, and I assured her she’d get to see mommy again very soon.  She fell asleep that night looking at and rubbing the scribbles mom had done on her cast.

That absolutely broke my heart.

It will get easier with time, as they see mom improve.  This was the reaction I was expecting with Peyton.  It still didn’t make it any easier this first time.

Monday morning, I got out of the house early so I could meet with the therapist team.  The meeting was rescheduled to later in the day, but as I passed the administrator in the hall, she grabbed me and gave me some pretty impressive information.  She had popped in on Anissa earlier to introduce herself.  The administrator was apparently talking to Anissa in simple terms, to which Anissa responded, “What do you think my cognition level is?”

So, the intelligence is there.

The memories aren’t fully.  She knows I’m her husband, but couldn’t recall my name until today.  She thought it was Daniel.  Probably Larusso.

She was able to recall different things from the day before, but there are definite holes in there.  Holes you could drive a 1973 Oldsmobile through.  That too was expected.

Monday, she was sat up in a chair and started dedicated therapies.

I popped in late Monday evening and she was too exhausted to communicate.  I figured that would be the case, but I just had to go.  I know in some way, she knew I was there, she just didn’t verbalize it, or acknowledge me with much more than a slight squeeze.  I’m praying it was exhaustion, but it felt like last week.

I woke up at 4:45 this morning.  Simply couldn’t sleep.  I’m anxious.  Today, I’m going to do a dry run for Christmas.  I’m taking all three kids up there at the same time for a short visit.  It will probably be overwhelming to her at this point in the recovery, but, I want to push her a bit and get an idea of how Christmas Eve and Day will go.

We have one fairly simple tradition at our house:  It’s called the “Mayhew Family Hug”.  It’s pretty much the equivalent of a scrum in rugby, and generally happens when I get home from work.  It’s only official if all 5 of us are together, otherwise we call it a mini-Mayhew Family Hug.

I was asked a while back what I wanted for Christmas.  I didn’t give an answer and avoided the question because it wasn’t something that could be bought.

In a few hours, after 5 weeks of waiting, I’ll get to open my Christmas present a little early.

I’m going to get my Mayhew Family Hug.

140 Comments on “Firing Booster Rocket #3”

  1. #1 amy
    on Dec 22nd, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    thinking and praying xoxoxo

  2. #2 MommyNamedApril
    on Dec 22nd, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    i’m so glad you’re getting your hug!!!

  3. #3 Emily
    on Dec 22nd, 2009 at 10:00 pm


    I am a girl with a dream. To walk across the stage when I graduate from college in May.

    Pretty simple right?

    Well, ya, it is for most of the world. My upper body is most closely compared to the leaning tower of Pisa, it takes me three minutes to write a moderately legible word, and somedays I drool enough to supply a resevoir.

    I have Cerebral Palsy. I use a power wheechair. Walking any distance is like asking me to single handedly put a man on the moon.

    But a man has been to the moon, and you are sitting up asking about your cognition.

    If you can do it, so can I! Because of you, my dream inches a few steps closer to reality. THANK YOU ANISSA!

    Continued prayer from Ohio,

  4. #4 Marianne
    on Dec 22nd, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    After my fathers stroke he was often confused, got angry easily, had memory lapses, and lashed out at those around him. I knew it was his frustration with the whole situation and all his medication, and not him talking. But whenever I entered the room his mood would change – I was his baby, a 40 year old baby, but his baby nonetheless. He remembered the little girl and the bond we had together. Just the way Anissa holds on to those memories of her babies – that’s a bond that never goes away. I’m sorry you’re having to go through this now – my heart breaks for all of you. Treasure those family moments together, it’s an up and down roller coaster ride and hopefully yours will have more ups then downs. Wishing you the BEST family hug ever and sending an extra one from New Jersey.

  5. #5 Danielle
    on Dec 22nd, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    I’m glad to hear the improvements keep coming! I’m fairly new to this blog, so maybe I am missing an inside joke, but aren’t crocodile tears fake/insincere tears?

  6. #6 Emily
    on Dec 22nd, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    I liked the Daniel Larusso comment. :o) Also, I am so glad she is improving. Wonderful news.

  7. #7 Laurie
    on Dec 22nd, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    I cried and shook reading your last entry. I am so happy that things are improving. I know it’s probably not as fast as you want, but it seems like HUGE progress. Keeping you in my prayers and thoughts daily.

  8. #8 Deb Klopp
    on Dec 22nd, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    Thank you for reminding us what Christmas is all about… in this case a family hug… a wife who is healing… a family who cherishes each moment as a gift.

    God continue to guard and guide this family… I know they are close to
    You and that it is by your grace they are living each day to the fullest…

    Anissa… you are one strong beatiful wife and mother. You are doing amazing things… what may seemlike baby steps truly are leaps and bounds and know that God will continue to make a way.

    Wishing your family good tidings of great joy!!! and prayers continue for the journey ahead…

  9. #9 Heidi
    on Dec 22nd, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    Mine was a 2 door – which meant it could easily dislocate your shoulder if you opened one while on a hill or a windy day!

  10. #10 Heather in Minnesota
    on Dec 23rd, 2009 at 12:50 am

    I’m praying you get the most wonderful, tightest family hug you’ve ever had!!! Thinking of you every day! 🙂

    Heather in MN

  11. #11 Janice (5 Minutes for Mom)
    on Dec 23rd, 2009 at 2:22 am

    And you all deserve that Christmas present SO MUCH!!! ENJOY!

  12. #12 Ali @PickleSugarPlum
    on Dec 23rd, 2009 at 3:18 am

    I’m so excited to hear about all of the progress Anissa is making, and of course, I cried as I read about the crocodile tears from Peyton, but more from the joy of knowing many good things are yet to come. I hope someone took a photo of your early gift for you! Family really is the best gift of all. HUGS to you all!

  13. #13 Karen
    on Dec 23rd, 2009 at 11:17 am

    This update really made me smile. We have a family hug too and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Keep it up Anissa, you’re doing great!

  14. #14 Kaza
    on Dec 23rd, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Way to go Mayhew family! This is all really great. Exhausting, I know, but really really great.

    In response to your question in the last post… someone probably already suggested it, but have you thought of reading to her from her Twitter stream, so she can hear what’s up with her ‘tweeps? It sounds silly, but who knows. I was trying to think of what would help keep me feeling connected to the world if I were in her situation. (It will either be a good diversion for her or annoy her completely that she can’t be typing replies herself.)

    I’ll be thinking of you guys in the next few days and wishing you a very Merry Christmas (albeit an odd one!).

  15. #15 Lindsay Lebresco
    on Dec 23rd, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    I’ve been following everything for the last month & I haven’t left a comment yet- just wanted you to know that we appreciate you keeping us all filled in as you, Anissa and your family, are in our thoughts and prayers on a daily basis. This blog is a constant reminder of the preciousness of health, the power of love and the strength of family. You all deserve to get that Christmas present. Wishing you the most Hopeful of Holidays Peter!

  16. #16 rayshell
    on Dec 23rd, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    You are an amazing father and husband. Anissa is very blessed to have such a wonderful family! Enjoy the Mayhew hug!!! Merry Christmas to you and yours. God bless!

  17. #17 Caroline aka Morningside Mom
    on Dec 23rd, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Today: Santa hat on, Team Anissa T on. Even in the midst of this pre-Christmas prep chaos, she and all of you are never far from my mind. Praying, hoping and willing Anissa on from Tampa today and always.

  18. #18 Bridget
    on Dec 23rd, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    Merry Christmas, Mayhew family. You are always in my prayers and on my mind.

  19. #19 Erin Pyle (@erinjeany)
    on Dec 23rd, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Praying and sending all our love to you guys! Hoping you will see a Christmas Miracle! Anissa is making wonderful progress! xoxox

  20. #20 Misty
    on Dec 23rd, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    That was so touching and so difficult to read at work without the tears spilling over!

    I hope you got that hug.

    Thinking of you all and hoping things continue to improve and that those family hugs get more and more frequent.

  21. #21 Auburn
    on Dec 23rd, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    You guys are an amazing family. I’m so happy she’s coming back.

  22. #22 Suebob
    on Dec 23rd, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    You get that hug!!

  23. #23 Dawn
    on Dec 23rd, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    God Bless you guys. She IS coming back and I hope you have a joyful Christmas.

  24. #24 Undomestic Diva
    on Dec 23rd, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Your family is so remarkable.

    Wishing you & the family an amazing Mayhew Family Hug for the holidays.


  25. #25 Karl
    on Dec 23rd, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Cripes, I can’t read this damn blog when I have to be around other people. My damn eyes burst into spontaneous watering the last few posts.

    Love you, Anissa. And Peter. And the kids. Merry Christmas. Now go get that damn hug.

  26. #26 Two Makes Four
    on Dec 24th, 2009 at 1:10 am

    Merry Christmas to you and your family. Anissa continues to be in my thoughts and bestest hopes and prayers. Your family is awesome and WILL make it.

  27. #27 adrianscrazylife
    on Dec 24th, 2009 at 3:53 am

    Your posts are so touching. I’ve thought about your family a lot over the last few weeks and especially at Christmas. I’m so pleased that she has been able to have her moments with her children and with you. I’m sure that means the world to her. I know it would to me in that situation. It has to be frustrating to her to know that her family needs her and she can’t be there, but it sounds like she is the kind of person who will work very hard to make it back to you. Big hugs to all of you and I hope you enjoy your family hug tomorrow.

  28. #28 Kate
    on Dec 24th, 2009 at 5:26 am

    From down here in NZ where in a couple of hours it will be Christmas day, I just wanted to say that I check your blog almost every night and pray with my children for all your family as well. I do hope you got your early Christmas present and that Christmas Day is the best yet. Many hugs and much love to you and yours from me and mine.
    Happy Christmas.

  29. #29 MayoPie
    on Dec 24th, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Hang in there, dude. We’re all with you. Praying as always.

  30. #30 Amy Nasworthy
    on Dec 24th, 2009 at 11:52 am

    What a post that was Peter! I’m so glad that Peyton got to finally see her mom. I’m sure you and the kids are her best medicine.
    Since Annisa had her stroke life has been crazy for me. On December 7th was the one year anniversary of my mom’s death. On December 8th my uncle died, in the same house as my mom. Then a couple weeks ago my great aunt had a stroke, she is home now and doing well. Then this past Monday my mother-in-law / BFF had a stroke.
    I’m telling you this because when I think I can’t handle anymore I think about Annisa, she gets me through the tough times. I can’t tell you how much love I have for your family. I have no doubt that Annisa will overcome this just like she does everything.
    I can’t wait to hear about the hug! Much love from St.Pete!

  31. #31 Maura
    on Dec 24th, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    My heart is so full right now, reading this. You are incredible, Peter, but I knew you had to be since you’re the light of Anissa’s life, and people don’t get more incredible than Anissa.

    My Christmas is complete, knowing that you get your gift of a family hug. Merry Christmas to you, Anissa, the kids and all the family that have had such a difficult number of weeks.

    Hugs from the Internet.

  32. #32 Christy
    on Dec 24th, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    What an incredible Christmas present! I’m continuing to keep Anissa and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  33. #33 Crystal D
    on Dec 24th, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Merry Christmas Anissa and family, I hope your Christmas hug is everything you hope it will be.

    Sending love and positive vibes your way for the holiday.

  34. #34 Dawn Tucker
    on Dec 24th, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    It’s just gone midnight over here, Santa’s already delivered some stockings upstairs, but I really couldn’t go to bed without wishing you Mayhews a very Merry Christmas from England.
    I know this Christmas is going to be a strange one for you but I’m praying your ‘dry run’ went just fine and that you get many of your group hugs and there’s lots of laughter in Anissa’s room tomorrow morning. Please tell her I send my love!

  35. #35 Julie Ann
    on Dec 24th, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    I am hoping and praying for a Christmas miracle for you and your family. I think about you all often and know Anissa has it deep down inside to come back. You are right- depression is going to be a hard monster to fight off. And the guilt- which seems irrational, but is a whole ‘nother demon as I’m sure you know. You’re doing a great job of keeping it together!! Don’t let those worries ever get you down. We love you all!!!

  36. #36 Marinka
    on Dec 24th, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    I’m reading this on Christmas Eve. Tons of love and prayers for you guys.

  37. #37 Holly at Tropic of Mom
    on Dec 25th, 2009 at 12:50 am

    I want a Mayhew Family Hug too. But darn, I’m not Mayhew. Blessings and prayers going out for you….

  38. #38 Kristen Hains
    on Dec 25th, 2009 at 1:44 am

    I have been following your story since day one and check back here daily. Your strength and your love for your wife are such an inspiration. You are doing an amazing job at balancing your children’s needs with your wife’s needs.

    Oh, and the Daniel thing? Isn’t that Ralph Macchio’s character’s name in the Karate Kid series? 😉 I think your wife is going to be just fine.

    Best to you as you continue this journey you are so bravely traveling.

    Continued prayers to you and your family. Merry Christmas,


  39. #39 amy
    on Dec 25th, 2009 at 4:15 am

    Promise you will keep bringing the children to see her as often as you can. She obviously loves them dearly and it is good for her to remember, see, converse with them. As a mother I think the strongest motivator would be my children. No offense to my dear husband but a mothers love is fierce!

    Hoping you all survive Christmas and it is a magical day for your children amidst it all.

    Peace and my thoughts to you all,


  40. #40 Tricia
    on Dec 25th, 2009 at 10:40 am

    I hope you have a good Christmas! I am praying for your family.