Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts and emails and everything. I give you credit for Brother-In-Law doing so well – that, and his iron constitution and refusal to feel sorry for himself, even when he should.

My sister and I got up in the dark, pre-dawn hours when everything seems at its most hopeless, especially after a sleepless night. Driving into the city, the sky was a perfect parfait of lavender, violet, pale gold, and ethereal blue. The Bay Bridge at 6:30 on Sunday morning has no traffic. It’s slightly unsettling.

At the hospital, it was even more unsettling that it was locked and we couldn’t get in. A guy walking his dog told us to go to Emergency and we could get in there, which we did. We raced up to BIL’s room and to our relief, found him still there. Time ticked by for an hour and half, during which we all pondered the fact that we could have slept later, and tried to keep the patient’s spirits up.

I don’t know what was harder: seeing his slight frame moved onto a gurney, or the look on my sister’s face, watching her husband of 18 years wheeled away to meet his fate. At times like this, the amount she knows about what can happen is a definite liability.

We went and had breakfast, since we knew we had at least two hours ahead of us. As we emerged from Peet’s with a triumphant mocha, we ran into my friend R from high school days, who gave us both hugs and encouragement.

As we arrived at the hospital, the surgeon unexpectedly came out of the front doors and told us BIL was OK, though he warned that there are more problems with his back and he may well face more surgery. He can certainly never be a carpenter again. My sister asked the surgeon if her husband could move his arms and legs, and he could.

We rushed to his bedside, to find him remarkably responsive. After he recovered enough, he went back to his room, and when the physical therapist came to visit, was able to sit up and walk with a walker!! Just hours after having his spine operated on and bone taken from his hip to reinforce it. He is so strong and so courageous. And I believe, all the love around him has made him stronger.

Thanks again for all your thoughts and caring, and if you haven’t already, hug the people you love and make sure they know you love them. It can make all the difference in the world.