I'm going a bit out of order, concerning the chronological order of my posts. The rest of the Des Moines experience will come in the next post, but this was something that needed to be shared quickly. Keith and I joined Jim, Kiko, Chase and Charlotte at Carolyn's hospital room to decorate said room for Christmas. Keith brought Ryan's pizza and Jim made a little jug of his famous Margaritas. We set up a tree and added ornaments and wrapped her window in lights and hung stockings up with the greatest of care. Even the IV got carefully adorned. That night would also bring us all an early and very unexpected Christmas gift.
Christmas music was playing and Kiko and Charlotte were singing along to keep the merry mood going. Kiko accidentally tripped over some of the Christmas clutter and Carolyn seemed to chuckle at her klutziness. Later, Keith was in a goofy state and did a little holiday boogie for Carolyn. The K-Man's festive rump-shaking brought out what was an unmistakable laugh from Carolyn; the first I had seen since she incurred her brain injury. Sometimes, when Carolyn displays a seeming emotion, we dishearteningly find that it was simply a fleeting tic and not what we hoped. This was something different, though...the teeth were flashing, the body was shuddering, the grin was clear. Carolyn was clearly tickled by Keith's silly shuffle. It was the greatest laugh in the world....Merry Christmas to us.
It's been an emotional week, for sure. I have never felt more steadfast and true in my own relationship with Keith and once again, witnessing the depth of Jim's love for Carolyn is an inspiring tonic for the soul. Not that long ago, Jim and Carolyn were probably making plans for this year's holidays, never dreaming that she would suffer a traumatic brain injury and that they would be spending the holidays largely in a hospital room; measuring success of her recovery in small but vital increments. Her laugh, while beautiful to behold, was a bracing reminder of her once wicked wit and that reminder brought K and I to tears after we left. It also cemented our fervent hope that we experience that wit again, and soon.
In the meantime, that laugh will more than suffice. Laughter really is the best medicine...for all of us. Check out the video of that moment...