Kiara has always loved physical touch. One of her favourite things to do with her daddy has always been to cup his face and stroke his beard with her hands.
They took her ventilation tube out this morning. She is breathing entirely on her own. Her lucidity has grown through the day. This morning she was able to squeeze me with the right hand for the first time. An hour later she responds to the command to touch her nose with her left then her right.
Midmorning, while Richard is holding her hand, she reaches up and lovingly strokes his beard and then runs her fingers through his hair, knowing him and learning him again. She smiles up at him and strokes his beard again. She nods that she knows him as Daddy.
Richard has prayed daily for Kiara to be returned to us in her original form - with her kindness, her servant-heart, her love of touch. She looks up at him with the eyes of a doe - serene, intelligent, kind.
I mention to her we’d been in an accident. That her and I were in the car. Her eyes shoot across to mine - she is questioning, concerned. I reassure her that I was unharmed and she relaxes, allowing her eyes to drop.
In the afternoon my turn comes. I lean close to her, hoping... and she reaches up and strokes my face. I smile. No tears allowed here! I ask her if I can kiss her lips and she nods and kisses me back. Did I mention she is perfection? I ask her if she can say, “Mom” and her eyes tear up. Not yet.
Kiara’s doctors are also smiling today. One of them asks her how she’s feeling and she gives him a thumbs up. He laughs. “You made my day!”
Her nurse remarks she’s never had such a calm head-injury patient before. “They’re supposed to be agitated and confused!” she explains.
I ask Kiara if she’s feeling brave. She nods her head, yes.
I ask her if she’s afraid. She shakes her head, no.
There are things she’s still getting muddled, of course, but she was able to point at and identify numbers and then letters on a paper. She could touch ‘C A T’ when asked to spell ‘cat’. She identified and pointed to her name and the name of her sister, Jada. Some other things she got wrong. Things that should have been even easier. But she’s unwavering and determined. She works her right hand and her right foot regularly. She’s managed to get her thumb working in the last hour.
We go to sleep at night, knowing we have a daughter. She is alive. She is beautiful. She is ours. Will his mercies never cease?
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."
The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
I reach up my hand and touch the face of God. Knowing him and learning him. He is mine.