On January 25th of 2018 I called an ambulance for Dion, gently woke up Cate to tell her, got dressed, and followed the emergency vehicle on foot through the snow to the hospital. Life since has been very different for the Oxford family.

A year later I am mindful of the spectrum of emotions and experiences we have gone through. Those early days were very dark. Dion’s health had deteriorated to a shocking degree, leaving him exhausted, depressed and wondering what could possibly be next. I felt overwhelmed, fearful, and very sad. There were many difficult conversations with health care professionals, social workers, family, and friends. The future felt uncertain.

Along the way we decided that renovating our house was the only obvious thing ahead. For us, it felt right. In the sea of unknowns, it was good to launch a practical project.

As of today, the renovations have come a long way. It’s fair to say they are nearing completion. The drywall is up, and the trim is painted. The tiles have been installed in the barrier-free bathroom (no fixtures yet). There is a hole in the floor awaiting the lift. I know that for Dion this last push is excruciating. It’s almost harder to have the end in sight, but still out of reach.

Every time I step into the basement, I am reminded of the host of people who have helped bring this project to fruition. My contractor/brother has been amazing. He, along with such a variety of tradespeople, have brought things to life. I need to do a count of how many people have contributed financially- it’s humbling.

In the course of a year it is not just our house that looks different. Admittedly, there are still moments of darkness. They are fewer though. Since those early days, Dion has adjusted to a new normal in terms of his health. I am no longer scared of him falling and not being able to pick him up. We are hopeful that he will continue to receive the kind of health care that honours his needs and equips both him and our family with the most independence.

Though we are thinking a lot about Dion’s 365+ days away from home, we are also thinking about 21 years of marriage as of January 24th. So many things intertwined. We still don’t know what the future will look like, but who does? Instead, we are endeavouring to live as much in the moment as possible, celebrating the good, lamenting the hard and giving thanks along the way.