I can tell you that an immediate family member suffered a serious head injury ten days ago. In the ensuing days, I've learned a lot about head injuries. For one, they are very unpredictable. For another, they're scary. Really, really scary. We're still not entirely sure of the extent to which we will get this person back the way he was. Before. For now there is before. And there is after.
I've also learned about the power of family functionality. My family is largely functional. We don't have bitter disputes or angry silences. Extending out to the majority of my first cousins (all 19 of them), we are functional and friendly and a rather fun bunch, if I do say so myself. So when this person, who I'm extraordinarily close to, was injured, I had to decide whether I needed to immediately fly 1,200 miles to his bedside where others had gathered or whether I should wait to pitch in later for what was going to be a long-haul recovery. In making the decision to stay put for the early days of the crisis, I discovered something about functionality. When you have no unfinished business with someone, when there is nothing you can say that isn't said every day, that when you LIVE the love you feel for someone, there is a certain level of peace in the midst of crisis.
We're hoping for a full recovery. We won't know for some time if we'll get it. In the meantime, we continue to hope.