She is my sister.
In 1983, she suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of an auto accident. Her strength, courage and compassionate heart are beautiful to me.
The great love of her life has always been her children and grandchildren.
there is a difference in hurt and broken. your dream after loss, pain and hurt might look different; you might have to find another way…but you do not have to remain in a painful state and quit.
the year following my accident where my fiancé was killed, my sister and her family were in a terrible crash. this crash was not fatal but as a result, our family was thrown into the midst of tragedy once again. my nephew was a baby then but survived the accident with few injuries. my brother-in-law received broken bones but recovered fully. my sister sustained a major spinal cord injury. i will never forget walking into that hospital and seeing her lying there with the halo collar along with her other visible injuries. i nearly passed out.
i don’t even remember when the news came that she would never walk again.
there are four children in our family. all of us have very different personalities. my sister was always on the go. she was the life of the party and always had friends everywhere. she could light up a room. she seemed to always be laughing. she was adventurous. in her teenage years, she worked 2-3 jobs. i would say she was a go-getter. her dream was to be a mother. i don’t remember how many children she wanted but she wanted children to nurture and pour herself into. motherhood.
we were sitting in a hospital with the doctors telling us that she was a quadriplegic which means no movement from the neck down. devastating news. although we did not understand fully what that meant, we and she thought that her dream of more children was over. there were months of rehabilitation that followed. the doctors expected, as a part of the grieving process, for depression to set in. yet, this young woman worked and fought through many difficult days and tears to recover as much as she possibly could. the doctors were amazed that she began to grip with one hand and had limited motion in the other. it seems like a small thing but for her it meant that some simple tasks like brushing her hair, brushing her teeth and eventually some vacuuming the floor could be tasks she could continue to do. she later had a van customized and is able to drive.
she was learning to re-enter her life using her zest for life and strong desire to live as fully as was possible for her. she was amazing! she still is!
then she sprung it on me. she had exciting news. i remember the grin on her face. it was like a sun beam. it seemed to light her entire being. she was pregnant. WHAT? i was stunned. how? what? when? you know, all the questions that seem to surface when you think that a dream is over but suddenly realize…it’s not. the rehabilitation center and the doctors had a plan. it was amazing.
nine months later, my niece was born. two weeks prior to my sister’s due date, she had a C-section and was holding this precious, beautiful baby girl. she needed help with day to day care for herself and the baby but her dream of motherhood was not dead…it was just different.
there have been many struggles along the way. it has not been an easy road. however, her commitment to her dream caused her to fight, work harder, face challenges (that i might not have had the will for), to love, to feel and to live so that she could fulfil what was strong in her heart.
i used to laugh, when her two children were little and needed to be disciplined, she would say to them, “come over here” and they would trot right over knowing that momma was going to be administering punishment.
she had to heal physically, she had to come to terms with the changes in her life, she had to keep fighting through the difficult days, she had to keep her focus, she has to live each day one at a time never giving up, and develop new steps when they are required for wholeness. some of these things she must revisit on a daily basis. there are still physical healings that she must strive for. there will be emotional healings that must occur. there will also be seemingly overwhelming life directions that will become necessary for wholeness to be maintained.
there are varying degrees of pain. absolutely. what we individually have gone through brings as much pain in it’s way as the next person’s pain does in their life. however, we can gain inspiration from the victories others have achieved.
my sister has overcome many obstacles and has more to overcome. she inspires me that no matter how much pain i am in at the moment, i am not broken and i can keep looking for new ways to thrive and live a full life – full of my dream of happiness. you can as well.
just because you’re hurt doesn’t mean you are broken.