Be thankful for today because, in a blink of an eye, your entire life can change – Unknown.

It’s May 31st, 2017.

I am on a plane back from Chile. I land in Des Moines when my phone goes off. I have a message from one of my friends in Los Angeles. It’s a screenshot of my family member on Facebook asking for “prayers” for our family – she is asking if everything is ok. I say, “Oh, I bet they mean the other side of the family; I haven’t heard anything.” I walk off the plane to find my stepdad waiting at the bottom of the escalator. Surprised by this, I hug him and ask him what he is doing there. He says, “Well, I wanted to give you a ride home.” I say, “oh, that’s awfully nice of you, but I have my car across the street in the lot. I don’t need a ride home.” He replies, “Would it be ok to leave it here?” I say, “I mean… ya… but”, he cuts me off.

I can feel it. I can feel it in my bones. Something is wrong. I don’t say another word. He looked at me as we got into his car and said, “Briana. Your brother (Adam) had a brain aneurysm this morning. He is being life-flighted to Iowa City. I am taking you to Iowa City. Do we need to get extra clothes for you at your house on the way?” – “No, I’ll be fine.” I reply.

I did not understand the magnitude or severity of what had just happened. I spent the next two hours in complete shock with spurts of tears, silence, internal confusion, and unknowing what was going on. I kept saying to myself, “Aneurysm…? What? How? Why?” I knew that googling this was the worst thing I could have done, so I resisted and kept focusing on the drive.

We make it to the hospital and there are already more people than I had expected. I am pulled into a room with my parents. Both understand the magnitude of what has happened. They can barely get words out. “It’s not good,” my dad says. That day – May 31st, 2017, changed our lives forever.

I write this today and can happily say that Adam, against all odds, survived that aneurysm. The road for him and to where he is today was and is not easy. He is our miracle man and we are eternally grateful every single day that he is here with us and for those who have helped him along the way. He has a very long and challenging road ahead of him, but this brother of mine is a fighter and is not giving up.  He attends physical, speech, and occupational therapy for a couple of hours a week. I am hopeful one day we will relive our days before this, where we are hanging out on his patio, having ridiculous conversations under the stars at all hours of the evening.

Life sometimes makes absolutely no sense and can be completely unfair, and this situation is no different.  Cherish those around you, support those you love entirely no matter the cause, have compassion for those who are going through hard times, and remember that none of us are invincible, nor are those around us, don’t take life for granted.

Adam continues a daily fight to progress in his recovery and is currently living in a condo with a host family to help care for him. He is divorced and shares custody of his twins, Aiden and Avery.

I love you, Bro – Kid.

If you have any interest in donating to Adam, his kids, and his continued recovery, please mail donations to:
5625 Mills Civic Pkwy. Suite 101
West Des Moines, IA 50266
Checks payable to #FinneganStrong

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