A father’s love
Jean Andersen is the mother of 31-year-old Sam and wife of Dale. Sam is the youngest of their seven children. He was injured at age 19 in 2006. Jean, who works for Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, is a member of the NC Brain Injury Advisory Council and the Brain Injury Association of NC, among other organizations. The following is written by her.
We see you.
Night after night, without fail.
After a long day’s work, you are here in his room.
You, who can barely boil water, learned to mix medications, and to prepare tube feedings.
You patiently remove shoes and socks from uncooperative feet, ready the hospital bed, and gently lift your youngest son from his wheelchair.
You speak…talking to him about your day, his…about the farm, and music for the long night, as you undress your boy. it’s no easy task…were he to stand, he’d be taller than you, now.
Gently, with a father’s strength, you stretch stiff muscles and straighten resistant joints…all the while speaking and comforting. This is your evening ritual.
You manage the feeding tube with one hand, once unfamiliar, now just another part of your day. You tell him what you are doing every step, medications, a meal…water. Water. Simple, yet sustaining…the most basic of needs.
Pillows are fluffed and strategically placed, the quilt drawn up and tucked in.
You kiss your lingering son, and he relaxes into sleep. He will open his eyes at 4 a.m., when he hears your bootsteps approach on the wood floor.
He waits for your goodbye at 5 a.m., and listens as you quietly close the back door and begin your day again.
This is not what you planned or envisioned, it just…is.
You are a father, caring for his son with love and with grace, dedication and determination.
You are amazing.