Today [April 22] is the day I lived.  4 years ago today around 6am was when Dr. Gonzalez stumbled into the waiting room and told my husband and family that I was alive after 16 hours of micro-brain surgery.

He also told them there "would be deficits".  And there are.  He was right.

{this pic was taken about a month after my stroke--if you can imagine, right after my stroke, I looked so bad no one in my family could bear to document it for quite a while}

 I can't fully describe the emotion I feel tonight.   It is very weird.  It is a deeply complicated feeling and very messy (just like me actually).

{April 2012}

I wrote this yesterday and emailed it to 20-ish close friends...

"Today is a very weird day.  I'm overwhelmed with so many emotions, so many thoughts, so many prayers.  You would think April 21st would get easier as time goes by, but it doesn't (at all).  The emotion I feel the strongest (in all the time since that day four years ago) is deep gratitude.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Where would I be today without my friends and family?  I am very blessed.  Thank you, Lord.  You are very special to me."

Here is a response I loved...

"I have been thinking about you all day.

It IS an emotional day, isn't it?  There is BEFORE this day and AFTER this day, and there always will be that divide, and that - regardless of how awesome things become on this side of it - will always make this day an emotionally-charged one.

We love you dearly, and thank YOU for letting us come along side you on this journey."

That's it.  Despite how great things are and may get on this side of things, it is still AFTER, and there is still a sadness to that.  Even after four years, some realities are still just now sinking in...like the fact that may face will never look the same or that I probably won't ever drive again or be able to run around after my son.  Tonight some of those thoughts are eclipsing the gratitude I should have for the fact that I should not even be alive now, but tomorrow is another chance to put one shaky foot in front of the other and see what the Lord has to offer me.

I thank you for walking along side me on this journey for four years.  I know that my will to continue to live my life has been undeniably fueled by the prayers and supporting love of so many people like you.  Thank you, thank you.