Eight-year-old Melania Le Grier misses the special kisses the most, with her mom laying in a hospital bed.
Dad Terrell is doing his best to shelter his little girl as Cindy, his wife and mom to Melania, begins her slow recovery from a spontaneous aneurysm burst in her brain that occurred Oct. 29.
They talk on the phone, but Melania hasn’t visited Cindy at Royal Columbian Hospital.
Not until she’s ready to see her mom.
“She knows her mom is sick and she knows her mom is in the hospital, but for me, I don’t want her to have that visual… that visual memory of seeing her mom in that condition,” Terrell said. “Not until mom can stay awake and be a little bit more alert, and her speech gets a little bit better.”
“After multiple high-risk brain surgeries, she is pulling through,” the page says.
Terrell is doing all he can to maintain some sort of normalcy. But he’s also realized just how much Cindy did around the house – paying bills, doing laundry, and so much more.
“Over the last few months, this (Clayton Heights) family has come through many hard times, trying to make it, and they’ve had setback after setback,” writes family friend Helen Edwards, who set up the GoFundMe page.
Life turned upside down that Sunday, when Cindy said she felt a pain on the back of the right side of her head.
“She said she couldn’t feel her legs,” Terrell said. “We walked in between two parked cars and I set her on the curb, and she was sweating very, very badly. By the time the ambulance got there, she had completely seized up.”
Life without Mom has been trying for Melania but Terrell said, “like her mom, she is a very strong and resilient person.”
“For her, the hard times are right before school when we’re leaving the house because she would give her mom a goodbye kiss for the day, that was a moment she always took,” Terrell shared. “And at night, before we put her to bed, they had their little good night routine, giving each other special kisses. Those times are the hardest.”
Terrell said lately he’s been giving Melania her space in the mornings before she goes to her elementary school in Langley.
“I knew she was going to have her moments. We’re late to school pretty much every day, but I’d rather have her get her emotions out at home with me, and being in a good spot, rather than in school,” Terrell said. “School’s been very accommodating, as well.”
There have been struggles financially, as well, and Terrell said he doesn’t like to be viewed as a burden by his family.
“I’ve been blessed with an amazing mother-in-law who does a lot of driving and spending time with her granddaughter,” Terrell said. “But it is tough, trying to manage.”
Cindy has already undergone two major surgeries. Doctors released the pressure on her brain while at the same time making sure they didn’t rupture the aneurysm.
“It was just a matter of waiting to see if she was in a coma because of the bleeding or the aneurysm,” Terrell said. “She didn’t come out (of the coma) after they released the pressure so it seemed like the aneurysm is the reason she was in a coma.”
There are signs of recovery. Since emerging from the coma, Cindy is opening her eyes and can see colours and people. She’s talking and drinking water and juice, and eating soft foods like oatmeal and soup.
“The main thing now we’re facing is, she has no movement on the left side of her body,” Terrell said.
The GoFundMe page is helping the family remain afloat financially.
“With Cindy healing in the hospital from what will be a long journey of recovery, I am hoping that fellow warrior friends in our community can help by donating some dollars — anything will help — so that this family can continue to pay their bills, put food on the table, and still be there by her side as she continues to go through surgeries and rehabilitation,” Edwards wrote on the page. “This money will be spent primarily on household bills, rent/mortgage, food, and previous debt that has collected from previous setbacks that Cindy and Terrell have been trying to get out of. These two are some of the most hardworking people I know, and this recovery will not be easy on them.
If anyone can break through, Cindy will. I am starting this campaign so that the family can concentrate on being by her side, alleviating a bit of that financial strain. They deserve it.”
Terrell said the support from friends, co-workers, family, and strangers has been “overwhelming.”
“To see how many people’s lives (Cindy) has touched, it’s amazing,” he said. “It really makes me proud as a husband how my wife can affect so many people.”