Would the real Graham Stump please stand up

17 Sep

It’s finally time.

Time to update. Time to write more consistently and share again. It’s true that all along this has been more for me and my own release—some choosing to look on, to follow, to read. A few following closely while others watching from a safe distance. Either way, I figure even if there’s just one, one heart that’s encouraged, or one soul strengthened—it’s worth the time.

I have purposefully stayed away for a time, my body, my mind and my spirit pushed to a place of chaos and survival. When I am with child, my physical state is one of complete and total sickness, weariness. It’s extremely hard to remain steadfast, joyful, happy, when you physically aren’t yourself. I turn into a host to this alien creature that only wants to suck the life from me. If only someone could hand me the newborn without all the pregnancy stuff, I’d take a baker’s dozen!

Now, I feel a sense of compassion for those suffering with chronic illnesses or other ailments.

I say it every time as I lay there tracing their little faces while matching up their hands to mine—all the tears I shed, all the time my body spent trying to reject this baby…..were worth it! It truly is a blessing to be able to have children. And I know that!

I say all this because I have wanted to wait until now to really share how things are in our home. I didn’t want to be clouded by my unruly sickness, or branded by the emotions always bubbling right there. I want to give an accurate update—even to those who see us often and know us. Or think they do.

Let’s get one thing out on the table, just in case you were wondering—things in our home are completely chaotic.

But I mean that in a good way!

We welcomed a little boy on July 28th and we call him Craig Matthew Stump, Craig, C-raig, or Ghetto Craig for short. He is such an added blessing to our home and we couldn’t be happier with him. I was afraid I wouldn’t like him because my heart wanted a girl, a girl for Fallon to grow with. Yet, never once have I wanted to give him up or change him. He has captured my heart with his simple glances my way. I didn’t know I could love someone so much.

DSC_4754

It’s true what they say when you have lots of kids, especially all young ones like we do. You feel like you’re treading water while holding all your kids and then someone hands you another one and you’re forced to keep treading that water. Graham is a horrible swimmer too, so if this were a true analogy, I’d be the one with all the kids on my back, drowning for sure.

We have had to let lots of things go for now, and prioritize everything carefully. On top of all that, we DO continue to live with a brain injury in our home. That’s what remains hard for people to truly understand sometimes. Especially people who see us when we’re out places—church, town, school etc.

It’s always there.

Everyday.

4 years have come and gone (the anniversary falling just 2 days after Craig was born) and for me, most days, I truly remain in a state of thankfulness. Thankful for how far Graham has come. For how much the Lord did and continues to do in our lives and our marriage because of it.

The things Graham has ‘lost’ are small compared to where he was a long time ago, and compared to others with brain injuries he’s doing great! However, he DOES still live with struggles, frustrations and the fact that he’s not what he used to be in many areas.

If you were to ask Graham what bothers him the most, he would say his left arm. He continues to receive botox injections in that arm/hand and probably will for the rest of his life. While that arm looks and even acts somewhat normal, it’s not normal for Graham. He struggles to grasp things, hold onto things and move things with it. It’s weaker than the other side and while he uses it, if he gets in a jam, he will simply use the stronger arm to do the job. Watching him button his pants in the morning always breaks my heart a bit as he has to clasp the belt loop and pull it in a way so his hand won’t slip.

His entire left side is weaker now than his right. He doesn’t have the balance he once did—his days of climbing roofs are over. Part of his balance issues come from his vision. He continues to see double of everything with the glasses helping some, but not correcting it completely. He doesn’t have any depth perception so it’s hard for him to tell where something starts or ends. This makes him more cautious in everything he does. And it shows as he won’t participate in things he once loved.

His days of roping off his horse are over.

Jumping the dirt bikes and even riding them fast are over.

Sports are pretty much over for him as he trips easily or stumbles and can’t regain his balance.

Playing the drums like he once did are over.

These are small things to lose. I know that. But these things helped make up Graham and having to say goodbye to them at such a young age IS hard.

We all have to say goodbye to things as we age. Graham just had to do it a lot sooner than most. He’s my 70 year old husband, rather than 31 year old:)

For me as his wife, I would say I struggle with his memory more than anything else. Graham suffers from short-term memory loss and everyday is a challenge. He’s learned ways to trick all of you, but for me, I have to live with it.

Day in and day out.

In a lot of ways, he’s like a child when it comes to this area. And that does get sad for me.

We often have to talk about something several times before it truly sinks in. Any change to routine or a decision made has to be discussed and talked about many times over. Some things he’s good with. Others he’s not. And some days I just don’t have the patience after a long day with the kids and their own ‘memory losses.’

What’s hard for me, is that I’m unsure what he’s remembering and what he’s not. I try to hold onto the hope that he’s remembering everything we share/talk about together. But who knows? I don’t like quizzing him and I hate when I make him feel bad about it, so I just don’t bring it up anymore.

Please understand I have everything I need from Graham and then some! He’s an amazing husband and dad! He’s our spiritual leader, our protector, provider. He’s come so far and I couldn’t be more proud of him. He’s been through a lot, yet you’d never hear that from him and he doesn’t use it as a crutch. His steadfastness and commitment to us is honorable—I know he’ll be blessed for it.

We live a chaotic life. But it’s one I wouldn’t trade for all the world.

Some of you have prayed from the beginning. Some have followed closely while others look on from afar, saying nothing.

Either way is fine with me. I just wanted you to know:

His injury is long-lasting, but we are not bleeding out here like a wounded deer. We are thriving, happy and while some days ARE hard, we carry on because it’s HIS mercies that are made new each morning!

* I won’t be so serious in my next post, I prefer laughter!…I have a special treat coming soon brought to you by Craig Stump, stay tuned!*

*Also, if you’re new to this blog and want to read more about what happened to Graham, it should be on the side bar*

Here’s some recent pictures….

DSC_4755DSC_4544Graham pretending to sleep while I labor….

DSC_4657DSC_4622hot off the press!

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10629442_10203447948736676_6659394189956870621_oOur most recent addition to the family!  His name is Joey and we love him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Responses to “Would the real Graham Stump please stand up”

  1. Sharon Pearce September 17, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

    God has blessed you with such a beautiful family. Praying for you all.

  2. Linda Shafer September 17, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

    Wonderful to hear from you again and also to see this beautiful baby who is blessing your family. praying for you , Graham and the children the Lord has blessed you with.

  3. Candi September 17, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

    It’s been 4 years already…wow. I took horseback riding as PE from you that year and I was counseling on the Island the week it happened…I was so shocked. You continue to inspire and encourage me, Randi. You’re entire family does. Glad to see you have added another addition to your family. Love reading your posts no matter how far in between.

  4. Martha Hidalgo September 17, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

    Randi –

    It was precious to read your update – God is so amazing. So much you have learned through this journey it is encouraging for me to read. Sometimes God has to remove certain distractions to open our eyes to all He is, Graham may not be who he was once but God knows that and is making something new in your lives. Dependency on The Lord on a daily basis is actually the safest place to be – I am truly learning this and oh my I am so much older than you – I must be a late bloomer:)
    Hebrews 6:10 “For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love shown toward His name, in having ministered and is still ministering to the saints.” As you spend your days ministering to Graham and your adorable children just remember for such a time as this you were placed upon this earth, all done is to the glory of God.
    Blessing and Gods grace to you all.

    Love, Martha

  5. Angela September 17, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

    I love reading each and every one of your posts! You encourage me every time I read one. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It has blessed me over and over

  6. L Lawrence September 18, 2014 at 2:46 am #

    Thank you Randi!!! You have no idea how encouraging you are. Sharing the tough spots will also encourage other TBI people AND their loved ones to cont. on. Thank you…Laureen Lawrence

  7. Beth Terpstra Bonham September 18, 2014 at 3:17 am #

    Thank you thank you for continuing to share and be so transparent in your struggles and joys. Encouraging all the way out here in Knightstown, IN. 🙂

  8. Lisa September 18, 2014 at 3:41 am #

    So…hard to believe so much has happened in 4 years. I didn’t know you or Graham or any if you when this all happened but as I get to know you all more and more I am encouraged by the sincerity in your faith. We can all say God is real and He will protect us and He knows best and His will is best, but actually watching you live that life for real is astounding. The best part is your everyday sincerity in life….some days are good….some days are rough…but in all you give thanks to God and walk on. Sweet!

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