I’m feeling like a jerk that I want to write a thoughtful post about my cousin Chris and this is the only picture I have of him. (The cousin pictured giving him an unconventional back rub is now 15, so it’s also outdated). Still, it makes me smile, and Chris makes me smile, so maybe it’s apt.

Chris and Kayla

In yet another demonstration that life is unpredictable, and that bad things happen to good people, last week Chris fell from his truck getting ready to go out and de-ice the streets and sustained a head injury. Two brain bleeds, unpredictable and dangerous swelling inside his skull. Ugh.

Obviously hearing the words “traumatic brain injury” is like a punch to the stomach. Still, we all feel like he’s in there. Part of the reason the swelling in his skull seems to be so bad is that he’s fighting the medication. When his dad went into his room and said, “Keep fighting”, it was followed by a spike in the intracranial pressure. On the other hand, when one of the extra sweet nurses was in the room, the pressure lowered a bit. When Chris’s coworker found him after the fall, Chris nodded and responded with a hand squeeze when the coworker asked, “Can you hear me?”

I want to believe it’s okay, because what else can I do? He’s a great, great, great man. Kind and goofy and responsible and thoughtful. Being in a school of public health with medical professionals I can talk to has been a godsend. Everyone keeps saying that when he’s woken up (whenever that may be, things have been unpredictable) how he is upon waking won’t be who he is after some time and physical therapy. As my professor said, the body knows how to reabsorb blood from the brain, it just takes time.

In the meantime, I’m trying to feel connected to my family from far away, and debating whether to go up (right now no one except his immediate family can talk to Chris- that and a few other sources of emotional drama this week are making it hard for me to feel capable of making the drive right now). I’m also soaking up my phone conversations with my mom and sister (multiple times a day) and the many shows of support from everyone- distant family, old friends, church friends, teachers, classmates. People who would run into Chris at the hardware store have started coming to visit him at the hospital- that’s how much love this good person has inspired.

I also had this moment in the study room at school, just a few minutes after I had discovered what happened to Chris. There, in this study room I’d happened to pick, next to the seat where I happened to be, indoors, in January, was this ladybug, a powerful good luck omen. I want to believe this means something.


Sending your thoughts and prayers Chris’s way would be appreciated!


3 thoughts on “Chris

  1. I am keeping Christopher in prayer, Illeana. I sent for prayers all over the world!

    Also remember John’s mom, who has an abdominal tumor, growing. John is in PHX with her now, and we are going back to be with her on 4 February.

    Love and with hopes,


  2. What a terrible thing for you and your family to have to endure. I hope that your cousin pulls through and is as close to his old self as possible. I just left my social work job Friday but worked with a couple individuals with TBI’s and even though it left them limited on what they could do, they were two of the most tremendous people I’ve ever met. Sending all my positive thoughts and well wishes to you and your cousin.

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