This is going to be another lengthy update, so grab your cup of coffee and a comfortable place to sit. First of all, thank you for your continued support by checking the blog. I can tell every day that there are many people who are checking in. I apologize for not updating more frequently.
There are many things that I want to update you on: our trip to Illinois; my caretaker situation; an update on Amy; my school situation.
Our sudden trip to Illinois was rather eventful. After receiving that horrible news on December 9 about our dear Bryan, we sprang into action to figure out how to get home. Because of my physical disability and all the equipment that I require, we decided to drive. Our good friend Joy was able to make the trip with us with about 12 hours notice. We were able to leave December 10, almost exactly 24 hours after we heard the news. The weather did not look promising so we were not sure which way to go. We decided on the most direct route, taking Interstate 70 through Colorado. We literally got stuck in the snow on the interstate while we were climbing the Vail Summit and had to be towed the rest of the way. We were loaded onto a truck bed, while we stayed in the van, and made it up the hill. We then descended the other side of the mountain at about 5 mph. After staying the night in a hotel, the next day we received two speeding tickets-one in Colorado (Aaron); and one in Nebraska (Joy). In spite of our situation, the cops were less than merciful which was very frustrating. After four days of driving, we finally made it to Illinois so we could grieve with our family.
On Thursday we had Bryan's visitation-this lasted for about eight hours, with nearly a thousand people coming through to mourn our loss. On Friday we had Bryan's memorial service. This was attended by about 500 people and lasted just over two hours. It was a beautiful, comforting service done in true Guzmán fashion. The music was great, the video was great, the memories were great-everything worked together perfectly to honor Bryan and his short life.
Several of you have asked if there has been more information concerning his death. Unfortunately, we know little more than what was reported in the papers. But we take great comfort in the assurance that Bryan is with his Creator.
The rest of our time was very bittersweet-that was filled with wonderful times with our family. I want to direct you to a web site describing a foundation started by Rick (Aaron's brother) and Desiree Guzmán. On this web site you will be able to view the way in which we will honor Bryan and his life. The web site is: www.trafonline.com. Click on "Bryan House" for details.
Our trip home began on December 30. Dan, Aaron's brother, made the journey back to California with us. We were able to stop in Omaha to see my family on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. This was a wonderful time for us-we had not been there since just a couple of days before our accident in July 2005. We were able to see our nieces and our nephew and sister-in-law for several precious hours on New Year's Eve. I treasure that time.
I just realized that many of you may not know that my brother Dustin was deployed to Iraq on December 3. He is serving as a sergeant in the National Guard. As far as we know, he will be there 12 to 18 months. Please pray for his safety and for a quick peaceful end to this war.
My caregiver situation:
A couple of days after we returned home, Sarah regretfully told us that she was having a position and shift change at her work. So after exactly 1 year of being my hands and feet, it was time for her to move on. There are no words to express our gratitude and love for Sarah.
Through a church connection in Riverside I was able to find another caretaker fairly quickly. Her name is Anna and she just finished her first week. Aaron's mom came out last Saturday and left yesterday to be with us during the transition. Anna is doing a great job and will hopefully be with us for quite some time. Please pray for this new relationship as it is very scary to allow someone, especially someone we just met, to be my hands and feet.
My school situation:
I was two days away from finishing my class when we got the call about Bryan. I was supposed to graduate on December 16, even though I still had two classes to finish. My parents were supposed to come out on December 14 to be at my graduation. Obviously when you receive tragic news, nothing else seems to matter. So I called my professor and told her I would not be able to finish until January. On January 9 I finished my class with a B+! I still have my other two classes to finish by March 27. I will go through the graduation ceremony in May.
You may recall in a previous blog, about my friend Amy. Aaron and I were contacted by her family last summer after they read an article in the newspaper about us. Amy is a single mom that was injured in a car accident last May. The shocking news is that she is still in the hospital. As of today, she is in critical condition in the ICU in Las Vegas. Because of Medicaid laws, Amy has not been able to return to California to be near her family. Nearly every weekend since last May some member of Amy's family has been either driving or flying to Las Vegas from Southern California. The expense is astronomical as they also have to pay for hotel. A few days ago Amy's heart stopped-she had no pulse and was not breathing. After successful CPR she is still extremely sick with double pneumonia and possibly an enlarged liver. I beg you to pray for Amy. She has been through so much and it seems ridiculous that she would be so sick. Our injuries were so similar, but the care I received was so far beyond what Amy has received. It does not seem fair that Amy should suffer so much. I'm convinced that if Amy had better insurance than she would have received better care. It's not right or fair that she should suffer like this. This tragedy in their lives has stretched them beyond their means. I know that none of you know her, but I am asking-if you are able-to contribute to this family. I don't know who regularly gives to our fund, but if you are a regular giver please consider giving that money to Amy. There are directions through her web site that will show you how to donate. Or you could donate through my web site and indicate on your check that this is for Amy. Please pray for her daughter Ashley who is 10 years old, her mother Debbie, her stepfather Randy, and her sisters Amanda and Stacey.
I guess this is it for now. Aaron and I have had a grueling day of watching our beloved Chicago Bears lose in the Super Bowl. Aaron needs to go to bed so he can recover in time for school tomorrow. I know many of you are feeling that same loss.
Thanks for reading-we love your comments, so feel free to write when you have a chance. We love you all.