Monday, November 16, 2015

What Kept Me Afloat

Tomorrow is the 12th anniversary of my accident. 12 years is a long time, and it's so hard to believe it's been that long. I'd never want to go back and relive that experience (although if I could, I definitely would've had people take more pictures to document my progress/journey each step of the way). Even though I'd never want to go back to that time, it wasn't as bad as one might think. There were three things that kept me going during that trying time: 1) my faith in God, 2) my family (particularly my mom) and 3) my friends. I definitely wouldn't have made it through without the first two, and it would've been very lonely and depressing without the third.

If I hadn't believed in God and known that A) He has a plan for my life (which included becoming paralyzed) and B) hadn't known about the bigger, eternal nature of life, I'm sure I would've been very bitter and angry. If it weren't for knowing those things, I would've felt like I'd been gypped and that my one shot at life had been ruined, yet I still had to stick around and watch everyone else carry on "business as usual" while I watched from the sidelines. I choose to look at things more positively.

If I didn't have a loving family and a devoted mother to advocate for me, I don't know what would've happened to me. I wouldn't have made it to the rehab facility where she and I received the care and training that taught us how to keep mesomeone totally paralyzedhealthy, and how to still live a productive life. Truthfully, there is good chance I wouldn't have made it 12 years OR wouldn't be doing as well as I am if it weren't for my mom. She is SO organized and manages my care so well. I don't know how she manages to keep all of the juggling balls in the air without dropping them! My mom deserves a major shout out for being so good to me! (Thank you, Mom!) I saw this quote a while back, and I really liked it:
My friends made a HUGE difference to me at that dark time, as well. I would've been so lonely without them! They did such a good job of making me feel loved and remembered. I had visitors on a daily basis during the seven weeks I was in the ICU, and it was a great blessing. My mom would spend the day with me, and my friends would come takeover in the late afternoon and would spend the evenings with me. I think I've already said this three times, but I'll say it again...I would've been so lonely and sad without my friends keeping me laughing.

I had one special friend who spent countless hours visiting me in the hospital. He came to see me every day (all but two) for those seven weeks in the ICU. I had friends bring me things, just because they thought it would cheer me. I had friends leave their families on major holidays, like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's, to come spend time with me. I also had three friends come visit me all the way in Atlanta when I was there for rehab. That visit meant the world to me, since I felt so far away from everything normal. My friends (and family) also sent cards, letters and/or gifts on a regular basis when I was in the hospital and at rehab to let me know that I was still in their thoughts, even though I was hundreds of miles away from them. One of my friends organized a big fundraiser/benefit to raise money for my medical needs. My friends truly were a godsend, and were literally doing God's work here on earth.

My mom was doing some spring cleaning earlier this year, when she came across these posters under the bed in my old bedroom. (They'd been made and signed by coworkers, nursing school classmates and more, and hung in my room in the ICU.) When Mom found these, I had a fun time re-reading the messages on them, since it had been over a decade since I'd seen them. They were quite dusty, but I had my sister snap a picture of them, before I threw them away.
I'm so thankful that I made it through that difficult time in my life, and am so grateful to everyone who lifted me and carried me through it.


Julie said...

Hi Heather,
Thinking of you today.x

I'm so glad that you had the gospel, your Mum & family & friends to help you get through that difficult time - & still do.

I know you usually focus on the positive side of all this, but I'd also like to know how you coped with the negative side too. I hope you don't mind me asking you that.

Thank you for your great blog, you always help me in some way.x

colleen Foxley said...

I shared your story on my blog! It is such an amazing one! Peace! and Happy Thanksgiving Heather!

Anonymous said...

I so look forward to your posts. You're an amazing young woman.

You make me try to be a better person.


Ruth Brown said...

Hi Heather, Soo excited that I found your post. I loved reading your story and am so grateful to see that your mother and friends have been there for you. Isn't it awesome that we have a loving Savior who cares for us so much that He gave his life for us. I truly am great full for all that He has done. Your mom is like the Savior. She has been there for you from the beginning. You are blessed with two of them! I hope that you had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year. I will see you at the temple on Wednesday. :)

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