Monday, August 8, 2011

we call it shot-in-the-head day, yes, we do

twenty years ago today, my brother jonathan was shot in the head at close range by a pumped up pellet gun.

that is the short version.

sometimes when i talk about it, the memory of that day and all that it meant for our family-collectively and as individuals, still makes me cry.
(the kind of tears you just can't control kind of cry)


despite a coma and paralysis and two brain surgeries,

jonathan survived.

then the hard work began: he had to learn how to do everything again.

our family changed. my brother changed.

honestly, not all of it was great.

but my brother, two years younger than me, survived and learned how to adapt.

tonight, as a family,
we celebrated the last twenty years of my brother's life.
we yelled across the table - getting annoyed/amused looks from others at the restaurant,
laughed, took pictures,
and soaked up the summer evening together.
i looked at the faces of my family around the table,

my mom, jonathan, rebecca, mark, aaron, sarah, matt, monrovia, sadie & ruby

so grateful for each of them,
and for grace, hope and love that endures the ups and downs of a messed up world.

on the night of august 8, 1991, as i walked, so, so scared, down the hospital halls to see johnny,
in icu in a coma, i didn't think he would live to the next day.

i'm so glad he did.


  1. What an awful day to experience 20 years ago!I am certainly glad that you are celebrating the 20th anniversary of "shot in the head day" - that your brother is hale and hearty after that life-threatening incident.

  2. Very moving post. I remember reading a more detailed account of the whole thing, maybe it was a year ago. Life happens. Sometimes terrible things happen. Sometimes terrible things eventually resolve into positive outcomes, and sometimes even into miraculously good outcomes. I'm so glad that's how this one played out. Enjoy your brother.

  3. Thanks sooz..... did i tell you i went to ptown yesterday and drove by the old place. It was a sad feeling. Good old Vermont place.

  4. So glad he is here today to read it; glad the family went out to celebrate.

  5. i remember that day clearly. i had just got home from work and i got a call from my mom. "what's a pellet gun?" i thought. i wasn't sure at the first moment if it was serious or not, but as i got the details, i knew. i cried through work the next day, and sat on edge for weeks . . i did not think he would make it. so glad he did, and glad you have each other to enjoy. xo, b

  6. I remember you telling me about that way back in college. I don't think I ever realized it happened your senior year in high school. Maybe because the first time I met him, I would never have guessed it was so recent.


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