I barely ate or slept much in that first week and had to be reminded that I needed to stay healthy for the baby. The only thing that consumed my thoughts were Shawn and being there for him. I did force myself to eat bananas and drink milk because that is all I could stomach and I knew was nutrious. Kathy, Karen and I were spending 12+ hours a day at the hospital and only leaving to sleep at a nearby hotel, that I ended calling my home for 5 weeks. It would be 5 weeks before I would return home and face the memories and emotions that went with returning to the home that Shawn and I shared. The day that I packed up at the hotel and drove the 50 minutes home I thought I would be fine and felt prepared for how I would do once I go home. I pulled the car into the garage and just broke down. I am not sure how long I sat sitting in the garage but it was quite awhile and both the kids were so supportive and just sat in the car with me until I went inside. I felt okay once I got inside and started unpacking my things from the hotel. I thought if I just walked around the house and dealt with being there right away I could be strong again. The first thing I did was go downstairs, which was “our space”where we watched TV together and the back door leading to the hot tub, which we used every night. The first thing I saw was Shawn’s shoes sitting by the back door and I started crying again. For most of the night I lied in my bed and just cried because I just didn’t know how I was going to do this without him by my side in this house. It was our house and filled with so much love and so many memories. I went around our bedroom smelling his pillow and his clothes trying desperately to remember how he smelled and felt. This was not the first time or last time that our post accident memories would consume me. I still have moments where our loss overwhelms me but I have just learned to cope with it better. Luckily we were able to move from that house and start to make new memories in a new house. I don’t very often think about the “what if’s” anymore because I need to be strong for Shawn. I would never want him to think that I don’t love him just as much and always want him to know that I am so happy to have him in my life, that way or this way. I do wonder what kind of father he would have been had this not happened and I used to think about what we would have been doing if the accident would never had happened. Shawn and I did everything together and barely were ever apart. I couldn’t fall asleep when he wasn’t lying next to me and on football Sundays I would wait up for him just so that I could fall asleep with him close. It was going to be almost 6 months before I would ever be able to lie beside him and even longer before I was able to sleep beside him. So as much as this was all happening to Shawn and I, the kids were having to deal with the loss of not only their father being around but also their mother. I was living at the hotel and my mom was taking care of the kids and had moved into our house for the time being. I was only seeing the kids for brief amounts of time when my mom would bring them to the hospital or on the weekends they would stay the night at the hotel with me. The first time our daughter would see Shawn, in ICU, she almost fainted at his beside. It was not from seeing anything bloody but from seeing the man she loved so dearly lying in a hospital bed hooked up to many machines. Our son on the other hand took several weeks before he could see him. I am not sure if it was fear or denial but he just didn’t want to see him that way so I gave him the time and space he needed and eventually he came around and spent many hours at his bedside. Our daughter was a natural at looking after Shawn. She took a special interest in helping keep him “looking good” when he was in the coma and she would cut his fingernails and toe nails, brush his teeth, comb his hair, put lotion on his face, hands and feet and even learned how to suction his trach. I think this was her way of coping and she was so loving and so amazing that I always thought that the medical profession was her calling. Those kids had to deal with more then any child should have to deal with and it definitely changed them as people. They were only 12 and 9 when the accident happened.