To my family,
Please understand, I am not whining here, I’m explaining. I’m trying to help you understand the impossible. Because if you haven’t been there, you don’t understand.
I was injured, permanently, by a moment. A moment that lasted 30 seconds. My whole life changed in thirty seconds.
I was on the right track, the road to success. The road to a good life for my family. 30 seconds later, nothing was ever going to be the same, no matter how hard I tried. Failure is a bitter pill to swallow.
Over the next few years, I pushed. I pushed with everything I had until I sat there one night, holding a hand full of pills, the very pills they gave me to help relieve the pain. I sat there contemplating my family’s future. I sat there contemplating whether I was going to be capable of raising my 4 children. They were young, so very young. What kind of effects was this going to have on my life, and more importantly, my children’s?
Today, 16 years later, my children are grown, for the most part. And, looking back, I’m glad I didn’t swallow those pills.
I’m glad I was there all those years. I’m glad that even though I was a shell of a person, trapped inside my own personal hell, I got to experience the greatest joy in my life. I got to see my children grow up. I got moments, fleeting, brief, moments. An Easter basket of absurd magnitude. Surprise, mom made cookies, she had a good day. Here, let’s take a walk, it’s a nice day. But, my all time favorites, were the days my little girls came home, and some boy had pulled their hair, or said something mean, those days, I let my words do what I physically could not. I walked them through. I told them what is normal boy behavior and I told them exactly where it crosses the line. I guided them, often from my bed, the recliner, or the kitchen. I did the best I could.
And, all the while, when they were at school, I spent years chasing a cure. Searching, hoping to one day to stand in the sun with my children. I got that! It wasn’t permanent, though I hoped with all my heart that it would be.
I got to go play in the park, I traveled the roads to see my children, as some were already adults. I worked a job, even if it was only part time, and I have just about finished raising my children.
You take the good with the bad. That’s the lesson I learned. Never give up hope.
I cannot ever remove the grief that this condition causes, and yes, it causes it. It causes you to chase down every form of therapy. I causes you to scream for help. It causes you to ask your children to clean up their rooms because you can’t. It causes you to make your children grow up a little faster than you wanted to, and it causes you to lose faith.
It can be a soul sucking abyss of hell, and all the while, the light in your eyes, the hidden glint of a smile, the aww that you experience, the envy, the jealousy. How you’d give anything to achieve a cure, even your life.
Those days were hell on my children. They have seen their mother go absolutely mad. It will drive you literally insane and their is no pills for that. Trust me, I’ve tried everything!
No, it takes a sheer will of determination. My will is stronger than my body. I push myself to be better than I was, I rip muscles, I break toes, and I fall down. It’s excruciating and mental. It’s good days and bad days.
Because I am not in the hospital, because I am not receiving chemo, because I am not dying, doesn’t mean that it’s not hell.
Yet, I endure my worst days so that we can enjoy my best days.
You are all grown, mostly. You are all capable of achieving your dreams. You are all strong enough to endure the bad and find the good. You will light up at the glimmer of a smile. Ultimately, you will live, and with that will, you will succeed.
I believe in you.
I have loved my family, the best I could, through hell and back. There’s nothing they are not prepared to handle. Most of my children believe in themselves. They are confident. They strive for excellence, and know that they will fall, but they know how to stand back up. The strength has been there all along.
It’s your life. It’s your path. You get to chase your dreams and I want to hear about them.
Find love, find faith, and find compassion. Find someone who will hold your hand on a bad day, and will challenge you to try harder. Find that hope within a smile and strive for excellence. Even if you fall, you can land among the stars, but don’t ever quit shooting for the moon. You just might get it. And if you don’t, that’s ok too. I still love you. I just want to see you smile.
Live, Laugh, Love
As for the decision I made all those years ago, I don’t regret it. I’ve been lucky to have a family that helped me through. That helped me endure. That helped me do the one thing I could do. Raise my children. It wasn’t perfect, but I was there, watching, guiding. I tried to teach you. I tried to show you that life is painfully beautiful, but to stand up for yourself. Know your strengths and know your weaknesses. Let your strengths shine. Never give up.