Tuesday, October 24, 2006

This is not intended as a Sad Post

One day, when my son was a month shy of 17, I answered a knock on my front door and was greeted with a Sheriff’s Deputy and a good friend of mine. Both looked very alarmed. I was informed my son had been in a head-on collision, was unconscious and had sustained undetermined injuries. He was being life-flighted to the Norfolk General Hospital Trauma Unit.

He had been driving
the car my friend had lent us, while our other car was in the shop.

My world as I knew it ended that day, and a new one began. The quiet, nerdy kid I had raised, the kid who had never wanted to drive, but whom I “encouraged” to do so, the kid who was painfully shy, was now lying in a coma in a hospital more than an hour away.

The days, weeks and months that were his recovery were lessons in and of themselves. For the person who emerged from the coma, was not the one who had entered. This new person spoke French, rather than English, had absolutely no short term memory, did not know the names of his friends or family, had lost most of the memory of his life, was impulsive and acted immediately upon these impulses, was loud and funny and scary all at once.

Once out of his coma, his physical injuries appeared to be two black eyes, a bump on his nose, three broken teeth and cuts and abrasions from the safety belt which saved his life. What were not visible to the casual onlooker were the frontal and temporal lobe injuries to his brain. My heart literally stopped when his neurologist told me, “Stephen will never be the professor on the college campus, but he could well be the gardener.”

The message I took, the message I had to take for my own sanity, was, "Stephen will become a productive adult and will be able to support himself.”

We fixed, the broken teeth and he endured the occupational, physical and verbal therapies to help him regain his motor skills, living skills and his native language. Life went on and we learned all about the new Stephen.

Shortly after my daughter turned 16, I was keeping the stats for her field hockey team as they competed in the first scrimmage of the season. My eyes were on the book, when I heard someone say, "Jen’s hurt!”

As I raised my eyes to focus on my daughter, I heard, “She took a stick to the mouth!”

As I jumped up to go to my daughter, I heard, “She didn’t have her mouth guard in.”

My daughter appeared fine. The image my eyes saw was in sharp contrast with the image my ears told my brain I should be seeing. Jen, looked fine as she walked toward me…coach, walking beside her, looked as if she had lost her first-born child.

As we met on the track...as if choreographed, I held out my cupped hands, as my daughter opened her mouth and literally spit her teeth into my hands….then, and only then, did she begin to cry… “Oh, Mom, I’m going to be the ugliest girl in the world….”

The days, weeks and months that were her recovery were lessons in and of themselves. For the pretty young girl who had ventured fearlessly out on that playing field, was learning some of the hardest lessons of her life. She learned about horrific, painful, dental work, reconstruction and the resulting damage to teeth not knocked out or askew. She learned about wearing partials and “old people” teeth while her jaw stabilized and her teeth recovered. She learned that beauty was of the person, not of the person’s appearance. And she learned that taking the time to prepare for the task at hand, is more likely to lead to a successful execution of that task.

Today, more than seven years later, I am able to look back and see some of the lessons I have learned. Whatever hurdle I am presented is just that, a hurdle. I can let it trip me up, and fall flat on my face, thereby proving nothing. Or I can accept it as the obstacle it is, and LEARN how to leap over that hurdle, no matter how high. In so doing, I learn more about myself and my strength and determination.
And I know I am better prepared to face my next hurdle. Oh, and I also learned that my children were not supposed to have their front teeth more than 16 years!

May the hurdles you are presented, be ones you can leap.
Be fearless in your quest and never take for granted what you have today.

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shawnsbidness ( 901) View seller's items | View Blog
You're right it's not sad, it's inspirational. Thank you so much for sharing. How are your children now?
Oct-24-06 19:10:59 PDT Report this comment

toyandgiftdepot ( 2104) Not a registered userView seller's items | View Blog
Wow, thank you for sharing those stories with us. Very inspiring!
Oct-24-06 19:11:09 PDT Report this comment

jaye8698 ( 1183) View seller's items | View Blog
Not sad...but very touching. The best lessons come with pain, don't they? Thanks for sharing.
Oct-24-06 19:11:46 PDT Report this comment

2spoiledkidsmom ( 2083) View seller's items | View Blog
What a wonderful post! Thank you.
Oct-24-06 19:11:50 PDT Report this comment

4k_deep ( 1133) View seller's items | View Blog
Thank you for sharing this.
Oct-24-06 19:12:55 PDT Report this comment

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gifts*by*georgette ( 118) View seller's items | View Blog
I am sorry for the pain you and your children have suffered, BUT with that said, I couldn't have sent the message across any better. hurdles have been in my life more than I can count, but today I am a happy person, especially with me-coming through it all-THANK YOU AGAIN!!
Oct-24-06 19:13:11 PDT Report this comment

wildcatfanflossie ( 1494) View seller's items | View Blog
You have courage! Then...what else could you have done. May God bless you and your family.
Oct-24-06 19:14:15 PDT Report this comment

shopping-4-the-diva ( 651) View seller's items | View Blog
Keeps life in perspective, thanks for sharing.
Oct-24-06 19:14:43 PDT Report this comment

tru_gritt02 ( 1696) View seller's items | View Blog
true. true.
Oct-24-06 19:14:58 PDT Report this comment

the_barefoot_cajun ( 436) View seller's items | View Blog
thanks for sharing your story...it touched me deeply
Oct-24-06 19:17:53 PDT Report this comment

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orionbelt13 ( 105) View seller's items | View Blog
What lessons you have learned, and how impressed I am that you have chosen to continue leaping over hurdles! My father was hurt in a pickup accident in 1969 and we took care of him for 34 years. His brain was damaged and his body was drawn in the fetal position all those years, but what mattered was the fact he was alive and was my beloved father, no matter what condition his mind and body was in. Stay the course, and stay strong! We find blessings in all circumstances, when we look for those blessings. Your positive attitude is one of your blessings!
Oct-24-06 19:18:35 PDT Report this comment

jcarolek ( 3636) View seller's items | View Blog
Both are doing very well. Steve is 25, works as a AUTOCAD designer for a surveying company and has his own business doing data archiving, has a wonderful girlfriend and has finished his AA degree ...albeit taking five years to do so. Jen, at 23, is a talented artist, is a floral designer, and is continuing to create beauty wherever she goes. She also has her own business, a great boyfriend and big plans for the future...she still has a beautiful smile!
Oct-24-06 19:19:24 PDT Report this comment

victorian_rose_inc ( 867) View seller's items | View Blog
Thank you for sharing jc. These stories of your life and your children's lives are and should be an inspiration to all that have the opportunity to read them. Reminders of what life should be about are allways welcome:) Thank you again for sharing.
Oct-24-06 19:22:18 PDT Report this comment

yellowanthony ( 2439) View seller's items | View Blog
You have reminded me how life can turn on a dime~You have let me see a new way I can grow~ You have given me my first step in doing so~ A Forever Thanks Is To You :o) Kim
Oct-24-06 19:23:01 PDT Report this comment

victorian_rose_inc ( 867) View seller's items | View Blog
That is wonderful jc. You should hunt down the doctor that treated jc and let him/her know how Steve turned out:)
Oct-24-06 19:24:13 PDT Report this comment

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welovesellingit ( 2925) View seller's items | View Blog
wow! Very inspiring indeed! I still cried.
Oct-24-06 19:24:24 PDT Report this comment

carol1962 ( 1738) View seller's items | View Blog
what a wonderful post, I have suffered some really hard blows in my life too, thank God I can deal with them like you, what dont kill you makes you so much stronger, I feel strong as a OX now LOL
Oct-24-06 19:24:33 PDT Report this comment

qmbridges ( 450) View seller's items | View Blog
A very good post about taking life as it comes! And a nice reminder that the little annoyances aren't really so bad.
Oct-24-06 19:24:59 PDT Report this comment

welovesellingit ( 2925) View seller's items | View Blog
oh how i just LOVE your posts!
Oct-24-06 19:25:13 PDT Report this comment

alfej2005 ( 936) Not a registered userView seller's items | View Blog
SUCH A BEAUTIFUL STORY! I am sure there are other stories out there, similar as this. I certainly have plenty too! You are so wonderful to share and open many eyes that have not been there! GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS! :)
Oct-24-06 19:30:27 PDT Report this comment

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observations-of-life ( 3545) Not a registered userView seller's items | View Blog
We hjave to get you back home to Stinky and your natural surroundings.You miss home so much.
Oct-24-06 19:33:06 PDT Report this comment

jcarolek ( 3636) View seller's items | View Blog
LOL carol! I'm an OX too....but to be honest, I have yet to have a serious blow to my own health...I am continually inspired by the survival skills I witness in others and hope I will be so strong when it is my turn.

And yes, nori, that neurologist knows how well Steve is doing...she calls him her Miracle Boy. I call her CORAGEOUS. She decided to try a treatment for Steve that was unconvential...she prescibed a low dose of Ritalin...the amount given to a 6 year old...it greatly improved his short term memory.

After about two years of the meds (he had three..one for the seizures -- his accident was caused by his having an epileptic seizure, and we had not known he had epilepsy, one for the brain agitation and the Ritalin) he decided he wanted to live life drug free. The Neurologists agreed....He has been doing wonderfully for six years. Brain injuries, they say, take two years to heal as far as they are going to heal.

Oct-24-06 19:33:08 PDT Report this comment

jcarolek ( 3636) View seller's items | View Blog
Hey LD...I get to go home on Friday!! Until then, I will be in this hotel room at night.....BLOG, BLOG, BLOG....
Oct-24-06 19:34:35 PDT Report this comment

afistfullofweeds* ( 547) View seller's items | View Blog
Thanks so much, I really needed this today, for I have been through some unimagineable circumtances also, my mother always says: If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it!! I have found it to be very true!!
Oct-24-06 19:37:35 PDT Report this comment

jcarolek ( 3636) View seller's items | View Blog
I agree!!!
Oct-24-06 19:42:58 PDT Report this comment

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spinningginny42 ( 704) View seller's items | View Blog
Thanks for sharing these wonderful heart felt stories. Your right we all face certain hurdles in our life and instead of trying to skirt around them we face them head on and become better people for the most part. Thanks again.
Oct-25-06 06:36:57 PDT Report this commen

jcarolek ( 3636) View seller's items | View Blog
Thanks Ginny...it is sometimes very important for me and my sanity to sit back and really LOOK at my life and SEE it for what it really is.
Oct-25-06 17:56:16 PDT Report this comment

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