21 Apr Comeback “Kids”

Don’t call it a comeback, I been here for years….

Makin’ the tears rain down like a MON-soon, listen to the bass go BOOM….

I gotta thank God cuz he gave me the strength…

Yeah, that’s right—I just dropped some old-school street lyrics on ya *smile.*

Wanna know who inspired this middle-aged columnist to sing out a 25 year-old rap track, whilst steering down Gig Harbor side streets?

Two grin-clad culprits:  my father and my son.

Early in March—when Dad’s skin hung, pale and waxen—family members girded ourselves for Far Far’s final trip Home.

As regular readers of this column are aware, serious ailments left my father severely impacted. But on a late March afternoon I arrived at Cottesmore.

A sense of hope was in the room.

Not only was Papa standing under his own power, he fairly “raced” around the facility’s workout center—clutching trekking poles in both fists while his gentle PT, Casey, lightly held Dad’s safety belt.

“Jon,” my father puffed, “when I was a boy in Norway I used short skis to plow through snow, all the way to school.” Muscle memory, indeed.

After I watched Dad cruise around the therapy center, I followed him to his room and took a seat.

“You look,” I began, before pausing to stifle tears “…strong today.”

And he really did look better. Had his color back. Gained a couple of much-needed pounds.

Far Far gushed, “We get three full meals a day here, plus extra.”

Changing the subject, he continued, “It’s so good to hear about Michael.”

True that. You see, Papa hasn’t been the only Johansen miracle of late.

Folks who are aware of my oldest son’s history know that, from the day Michael had a massive brain bleed—April 4th, 2004—nary a whisper has registered in his right ear.

Over the years I got so used to Michael wheeling around (to find the source of sounds) that it no longer struck me as different. His too-loud voice? Merely an attempt to hear himself speak.

Nonetheless, many nights I stood at my son’s bedside and prayed:

“Lord? It would sure be great if you’d cause his right ear to work again.”

Each time I said, “Amen,” I leaned in next to my boy’s blonde hair and whispered:

“Michael, can you hear me? Can you hear me, Son?”

Hope ebbed, for he never stirred.

I prayed about his hearing less and less. Just didn’t seem “meant to be.”

But sometimes healing looks different than we expect.

On March 24th, Strong Boy’s CROS hearing system arrived from Children’s Hospital.

A tiny microphone, delicately placed in his right ear, broadcast a Bluetooth signal to a hearing aid in his left.

As soon as each piece was activated, I murmured into his damaged side, “Michael, can you hear me?”

His eyes crinkled with joy.

“Yeah!”

Big sister and little brother got in line to test their bro—each whispering their own queries.

Michael’s cheeks raised more with every gleeful answer he provided. Abby chuckled while Jonathan wiggled his skinny body in a little dance of joy.

Though the kids might not get along all of the time, in that moment each of them rejoiced.

While I looked on, comfort stretched from my heart…all the way down to the palms of my hands.

As I later thought about all the good news—Dad and son—joy welled up in the aforementioned, long-forgotten rap. I simply had ta sing. After all…

Dad is getting stronger.

He even came home at the end of last month.

Michael can hear well.

May even go into the education biz, like his old man.

And me?  I feel like my soul can rest.

March ended well, huh?

It ended well indeed.