moving forward

navigating through the life that was and moving into the life that is

Sadness and Happiness

on November 14, 2011

I don’t know a better way to describe the only two emotions that I have felt this week. Up until this past Saturday, many of you know that I have basically been camped out at the ICU physician’s conference room since I was informed of the accident. I first started to slowly venture out from my brother’s side, Thursday night to escape to Taco Mac for a little bit, with a few friends and my wife/rock, Michelle. It was the night of the Ga. Tech game and it was packed, but we were able to figure out a way for us to sit and for me to wind-down for a couple hours. I was out of the hospital physically, but mentally wasn’t. I was sad to leave hospital, but happy to be with friends to recharge a bit. If you saw me you could tell that I needed it.

The next day, Friday, I again left the hospital that afternoon, but this time to venture home for a bit. Michelle and I had basically lived in the hospital for 142 out of 144, and we were both emotionally and physically exhausted. The only thing that was keeping us going we friends, family and the people and nursing staff that we met throughout those 6 days, so Michelle and I decided to go home for a few hours and recharge again. My father had to start doing some half days at work, getting up at 5am, then taking my mother and aunts by the hospital mid-day and staying until midnight. By Friday, he was exhausted and needed a little more sleep. In my fatigue, I wasn’t aware of the struggle and sacrifice he had made, and was irritated that they showed up later than normal. Once I found out, and they got to the hospital, I felt like a complete jerk…

By the time Michelle and I left, it was rush hour and we got home after an hour. I knew I was tired, but I wasn’t expecting to not even make it to the top of my bed for a nap. Again I was sad to leave my brother’s side, but happy to see my house, see our pet, and take a needed nap. By the time we got back the hospital, it was 11:30 and my awesome father was passed out on the couch. I knew my parents were tired, but this is the first time I realized and saw it.  They hide it well.

Saturday was another sad and happy day for me and more likely Michelle. As we all know, Glen is a UGA Bulldog through wins and losses. This week’s game had a bit more significance since they were facing Auburn, Michelle’s Alma-Mater. Glen always called Michelle, his “Neme-Sis”, because he saw her as an equally competitive person, and also his sister. This game would’ve been the first time they watched together and actual family, and they both were looking forward to it since the season started. Michelle had her Auburn gear on and Glen’s friend, Stephen, let Glen borrow a UGA jersey, and other UGA gear to decorate his room. It was tough to watch the game knowing that I couldn’t hear Glen yell the UGA fight song, but was happy that the Bulldogs ended up winning the game for Glen, and by one of the largest margins in their rivalry. Trust me, Michelle didn’t mind one bit!

Michelle and I decided to finally try sleeping at home for the first time, and boy was it rough for me. The next day, Sunday, was Sandra’s 30th birthday, and I couldn’t sleep knowing how much Glen wanted to make it as special as possible. I woke up the Sunday morning in the dumps, and realized that I was not in the hospital.  I realized how weak I have really been and how strong everyone else had.  This was the first time I realized what my parents, family and friends had to do, and drive to the hospital to see Glen and Sandra in the condition that they are in.  In the hospital you forget you are there sometimes and what is around you, and I had been stuck in my little room, knowing that in an instance, i was right by Glen and Sandra.  The 30 minute drive hurt a lot, and knowing that my niece and nephew will see their mother for the first time in over a week, and that Glen couldn’t be with his family, had me in tears.  By the time I parked, my best friends, Drew and his wife Meghan, were right beside us and we walked in together.  These two have been nothing but heaven sent, and Drew was right there for a shoulder to cry on.  As we got to the room to celebrate Sandra’s birthday, I was able to hear my niece and nephew laughing and playing, and I could barely keep my composure.  I was able to get a hug and a kiss from both, before walking out and sobbing in another room.  As I have said many times, I wouldn’t have been able to make it through a day without friends and family.  In my time of need, I was surrounded by one of Glen’s many friends, Eric Rader, and Drew who helped me make it down the ICU area to see Glen.  This was one of the first times that I had “lost it” in front of others, and needed help to get my strength back.  Getting back to Sandra’s party, I finally, realized that I can’t do this alone, and that I need help and feed off of the positive energy, prayers and support from everyone.  Seeing Sandra and Glen fighting hard and seeing all of support, and especially help has been amazing.  Albert and his wife Kristen, have been one of hundreds of people visiting, helping, supporting, laughing, crying, and cheering the Walkers and Meekers through this.  It puts a smile on my face as I type this, knowing that I am not alone to carry this tragedy and that together we all can help Glen and Sandra fight.

We have put up a strong fight and made it through week one.  We will have many more to go, and a lot to learn, but with each other we can do it.  Keep the prayers and support coming, and let do this together.  We are suffering through and very sad time now, but all of our happiness will come in time.  If you doubt this, look at the pictures posted earlier and look at Sandra and the kid’s smiles upon their reunion.

Michael Walker

(I don’t think I have typed this much for a class paper!  Sorry for the length, but this is therapy.)


15 responses to “Sadness and Happiness

  1. Debbie says:

    Glen and Sandra are blessed to have a brother and sister like you and Michelle. Keep up your faithful watch but take care of yourself… sleep is reviving and you all have to be at the top of your game.

  2. Robin Murphy says:

    I do not know Glen and Sandra personally but My husband is the marketing rep for Sc at Everest Insurance. Please know that our family is praying daily for all of you.

    My mom just passed away 2 weeks ago from cancer and I understand the exhaustion from spending as much time with them as possible.

    Stay strong!

    Much love,
    Robin Murphy

  3. Jill says:

    Michael,

    You have been so strong, but everyone needs a little reenergizing. From what your father told me Friday, you run the show and that means you probably need more rest than anyone. Whether it is at the hospital or at home in your own bed, make sure you take care of yourself. I know leaving the hospital is not ideal for you, but you and Glen have so many friends that I know we can all take a shift if need be. Please lean on us for help and support. That is the least we can do for you. I’ll be happy to bring you things from your house or take care of your pet. Just say the word and I’ll be there.

    Jill Lewis

  4. Pamela Coan says:

    Keep trying to get some rest and relaxation here and there. You need it to stay strong!

  5. Michael,

    You are the rock! When Josh and I were there, it was clear that you were the one holding people together and being the one that people turn to. Your strength is huge and powerful. I am so happy to hear that you are sharing the burden and allowing others to help you shoulder the load. You are part of a very special cohort of people and we are all blessed and proud to surround you, Michelle, Sandra, Glen and the parents Walker and Meeker during this time and beyond.

    Love you guys!

  6. Gillian Todd says:

    What a beautiful post revealing your human weakness and dependence on others. It made me think of this scripture:
    Isaiah 40:29-31 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
    I see the Lord’s blessings all over this untimely and horrible accident and pray for all of you daily.
    PS. I feel just a bit less upset about Auburn losing…

  7. Valerie says:

    Michael,

    You are a strong person and it’s so evident. You’ll stay strong but remember to take a little time for yourself to re-charge. 🙂

    There are so many people wishing Glen and Sandra speedy recoveries and we here in California are among them.

    Thank you for keeping us updated.

    Best always,
    Valerie Noble

  8. Karen Schousen says:

    Michael, I live across the street from the Cindy and Doug in Grand Rapids. I ‘ve had the wonderful opportunity to meet Glen in the last few years. We are all so blessed to have him in our lives! I am continually praying for both Glen and Sandra. My thoughts are continually with your family and the Meeker family. God bless and I pray for your continued strength and health too.
    Karen Schousen

  9. Joanne Jenness says:

    Hi Michael,

    Glen and Sandra have been in my thoughts and prayers since I heard of the accident on Channel 2 news this past Wed. A mutual friend of ours forwarded me this site over the weekend. Glen and I worked together at Atlanta Casualty/Infinity, but I had lost contact with him through the years. I will continue to pray strongly for them, and also for you and your entire family. I’ve been through a similar situation … living in the hospital for days and days. You definitely need a break so that you can recharge mentally and physically.

    My love and thoughts will be Glen and Sandra daily.

  10. Jerri Phillips says:

    Hi Michael,

    I’m so glad Valerie forwarded me the link to this blog…I’ve been getting updates on Glen and Sandra through her since I heard about the accident. Since you probably don’t remember me, I went to UGA with Valerie, Laura and Glen. I knew Glen through Val and Laura originally, but consider him my friend as well. When you were sharing a house with Glen and Val way back in 2001, I was the girl who was staying at the house on Sept. 11th when the attack on the Twin Towers took place. I haven’t seen you since then but wanted to let you know that you and your entire family have been in my thoughts and prayers since I first learned of the accident. Glen is lucky to have such a caring and compassionate brother as well as many other loving family members and caring friends. I will continue to follow the updates on Glen and Sandra and wish them both a full and complete recovery.
    Sincerely,
    Jerri Phillips

  11. Katy (Ballema) McIntyre says:

    Hi Michael 🙂

    I am a high-school/church friend of Sandy’s (I’ve always called her Sandy since we met in 6th grade…habit!) and I cannot begin to tell you and your family how much my heart aches for you all. I’m SO sorry that you are going through such an overwhelming, emotional and sad time right now. Your post brought tears to my eyes and made me wish that I knew every single one of you as MORE than just the people I have “gotten to know” on this blog in the past week or so…I wish I could be there to support all of you, be a cheerleader, a hugger (I give excellent hugs), a shoulder, an ear….Please know that I am sending every single ounce of good thoughts and love your way. I have asked my coworkers, friends, family, Twitter followers & Facebook friends (I do social media at my job…so that’s roughly 5,000 people!) to do the same…from here in Chicago, to Seattle, back to Michigan, NYC, all over Cali, Arizona, Boston all the way down to DC, The Virgin Islands and everywhere in between, positive vibes are en route to you all 🙂 Thanks for the blog posts…it’s been comforting to be able to read about Glen & Sandy’s progress, and even see those awesome pics of Sandy & the kids (more tears!).

    Anyhoo, hang in there and remember: “If you’re going through hell, KEEP GOING.” ~Sir Winston Churchill

    Love and faith,
    ~Katy (Ballema) McIntyre

  12. llapoh4u says:

    Great message. I just love and appreciate your honesty. I re-posted on my site, hope you don’t mind. Love you all and praying for more happiness and less sadness for all. -Charleston

  13. Jim Waldron says:

    Michael,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I briefly met you once when Glen and I went out to dinner at a restaurant where you were working at the time. Glen and I worked together at Infinity. I’m live in Connecticut but happened to be down in Georgia last week and had a chance to stop in last Wednesday to see Glen and meet your family (sorry I missed you). Glen and I share many passions including soccer. I thought it appropriate to share the following Rodgers & Hammerstein (Carousel) lyrics to a song sung at every Liverpool home match. (worth looking up on youtube). My son Drew, who Glen has shared several video game battles when visiting CT, sang this song while performing in Carousel and it was my first thought as the news broke about the terrible accident and the outpouring of support that Glen,Sandra and your family have experienced and so richly deserve.

    “YOU WILL NEVER WALK ALONE”

    Keep your chin up high
    And don’t be afraid of the dark.
    At he end of the storm
    Is a golden sky
    And the sweet silver song of a lark.

    Walk on through the wind,
    Walk on through the rain,
    Tho’ your dreams be tossed and blown.Walk on, walk on
    With hope in your heart
    And you’ll never walk alone,
    You’ll never walk alone.

    Trust in the reality that you and your family have support and prayers coming from all over the world.

    All the best,

    Jim Waldron

  14. Melissa Anne Gilbert says:

    Mike,
    You are truly one of the most kind hearted and genuine people that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and becoming friends with. When I think of the word happy you always come to my mind. You are constantly smiling and joking around . So with that said it absolutely breaks my heart to see you and your family in such sorrow and heartache. You and Michelle are proving to be so strong and the love you feel for Glen, Sandra and your whole family is evident. I know that it doesn’t feel like it now but all that goodness that you radiate will be paid back to you and this whole situation will have a happy ending. Glen and Sandra get better everyday and will continue to do so especially with the un-faultering support of you, Michelle and the hundreds of people you all have connected and become friends with. Everything is going to be ok. We are all praying for Glen and Sandra and I know someone is listening.

    – Melissa Anne

  15. Jeremy Jackson says:

    Michael – I went to high school with Glen. I was a year younger and barely knew him. But because of FB I found out what happened and have been watching the blog daily. As a father of two young children, and brother too I can’t imagine what you and your family are going through. As I said, I barely knew Glen but have been thinking of them and you often. I pray everyone recovers and continues to heal.

    Jeremy Jackson

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