Diane suffered a stroke while we were in a hotel in the jungle near Iguazu Falls, Argentina. It sounds unbelievable, I know. But it happened.
Diane is amazing...and blessed. Her memory, speech, emotions and appearance were not affected. She is working through coordination, sensation and strength issues on her right side and some dizziness and periodic double vision. The doctors and therapists say with rehabilitation and time she should make a full recovery. The body is an incredible and intricate thing. I am observing that the mind and spirit are even more impressive.
Diane has not uttered a single negative word or complaint throughout this whole experience. Her attitude is, "This is what it is, what do I need to do to get better"? All of her caretakers (and visitors) have mentioned how positive and inspirational she is. I always new she was both, I could never have guessed the depth of those qualities, especially in the face of adversity.
Diane is God's unique blend of beauty and toughness, spirituality and strength, determination and humility, and pragmatism with faith. You can not think of Diane without recognizing her gift for obedience, a trait that almost seems to be on the brink of extinction these days.
Among the many lessons being learned is that while God may not prevent challenges and trials, He never requires us to endure them alone. Diane can speak of the angels unseen, but we both have been humbled by the earthly angels who have come to our aide with loving and selfless service. I could spend hours listing their names...those who pray, fast, write, visit, encourage, watch over our loved ones at home and take care of Diane. A sampling, alphabetically, just to give an idea: Ale, Alli, Alberto, Angie, Arnolds, Barbara(s), Becky, Bednars, Brunts, Candace, Carters, Chris, Curtis, etc., etc.
I have been humbled to see the maturity, selflessness, spiritual insight and unity of our children. Curtis and Candace's prompting to visit us not only lifted us up emotionally right before and as this happened but put them in place to take care of things in Iguazu while Diane and I rushed to Buenos Aires. Chris' global view of resources had the Carters in Diane's hospital room hours after we arrived. Alli's acceptance of surrogate "mother assistance" after her daughter's birth eased Diane's longing to be there. And Taylor's trust and dedication to his mission has been a source of comfort and pride, "Ok, if you tell me not to worry and just keep working hard, then that is what I'll do, but if you tell me I should be worried, then I will worry".
And, then there is Jennifer. She has been the perfect help and support for Diane during her rehabilitation. She has been Diane's smiling, listening, lifting (physically, emotionally and spiritually) and intimate companion. She has slept each night on a bed in Diane's room and been with her all throughout the days. I can sum Jen up by this experience that I witnessed. One of Diane's visitors was asking Jen if she wanted to take some time for herself and see the sights or do some shopping in Buenos Aires. There was an impressive list of places to go and things to do. Jen just shrugged her shoulders and said, "No, thanks, I just kind of want to spend my time with my Mom". We know that Jen could only be here because of the sacrifice and support of her little family as well as the help of family and friends who are taking care of Tim, Kyle and Nolan.
I understand the Mormon Church is undergoing a lot of scrutiny these days. Down here I am oblivious to the details, which is just fine. This I do know, the Church has been completely devoted to helping Diane get the best care and treatment possible. Medically, emotionally and spiritually. And, to making sure that my needs are met, too. If true Christianity is taking care of the sick, the poor and the needy, then the Church is more than fulfilling its own mandate. I have never been more grateful or proud to be a "Mormon" than the past month. I am also in awe of the missionaries in La Gran Mision Argentina Resistencia who have fasted and continue to pray for Diane's recovery, work hard and selflessly serve the people and support me as the Mission President.
Our plan is for Diane to rehab in Buenos Aires to the point where she can return to Resistencia and continue to fulfill our assignment. If you think for a moment of all that entails, you can begin to catch a glimpse of the greatness that is Diane Heyman.
I have always known that my greatest accomplishment in life would be marrying Diane Curtis in the Mesa Arizona Temple. This past month I have come to a deeper understanding of why.
¡Vamos a hacer la cosa!