1991 and on
Life now is all about “bucking up” and getting on with our lives. My daughter and her sister came home two months after I did. She is in complete remission. I can walk with crutches now but can only use my thumbs on my hands because of the contractures. I taught myself to drive wearing leg braces and finally kicked my ex out. I am apprehensive on my own in my condition but I have faith I’ve done the right thing. The kids and I are all together again and that will get me through anything.
I know someone is still by me from the other side as I can feel the presence at times and when I am conflicted over a decision or direction I go the knowledge I know is there. It is not a voice like it was in the coma rather it’s
like intuition only more persistent. I trusted it whatever it was and knew something was waiting for me to fulfill.
During the next year I learned to walk with a cane and do most everything with my hands even though they were still in contractures. We all licked our wounds physically and emotionally and counted our blessings. I knew it was time to move toward my future but did not know where that was. My old plan to return to Phoenix didn’t feel right anymore.
Then one evening sitting with the kids on the pier watching the crashing waves smash the shore it came to me. We had relatives who lived in Missouri. I had only drove through the town one time but I could not shake the feel of urgency. It was like a divine decree. There was no way I could ignore this powerful pull. So, I sold the RV dirt cheap and everything in it. I bought new tires for my old 79 Ford pick-up, filled it with gas, three kids, two cats, clothes and one TV and headed north. I understood this was my destiny and I would make it.
Within a week we rented our first house in six years. We had finally come full circle. Money was very scarce with just social security disability and a little child support but we were free, together and alive. It was good to be with family again. We had been through so much that the struggle to survive now was nothing comparatively.
But, surely this was not what I was pulled here for. One morning while enjoying a strong cup of coffee that powerful tugging returned. I knew I had to go find a job. My family thought I was crazy with all my complicated disabilities but I could not deny it. I was apprehensive of course. My only transferrable skills was my mind and my life experience. Everything else was braced up, atrophied or contracted. Nevertheless, I trusted this direction of my destiny. I was afraid the job search itself would do me in let
alone a forty hour work week but by now I knew how to push through my egos fear.
My second interview was with an organization called Southwest Center for Independent Living. I was hired with my hand written resume in my hand but had no idea why or what they even did. It all soon fell in place as I learned they empowered people with disabilities to live their dreams by removing barriers physically, attritional and mental. All the lessons I had overcome, the struggles, the despair, the determination are now going to be
It may sound like happy ever after but that’s not life.There has been great times and sorrow times like my grandson at 2yrs drowning and my oldest daughter at 39yrs died from cancer leaving three children without a mother. My mom gone now as well as a beloved brother but life moves on like a river smooth for awhile then some rapids threatens to throw us over. Every time you survive you gain wisdom, strength and determination to make a difference for humanity.
I have just retired after 26 years of empowering so many people with disabilities to see their potential and their self-worth, a career I never dreamed of pursuing. It was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life. I wondered what I’m to do now with all those years of working in the disability field and the intertwining of my life experiences.
I had entertained the idea about blogging because I have always loved to write but knew nothing about blogs. About six months before I retired I got an email out of the blue from a blogging site so I looked into it. I created
anyoneteachone.com and here I am.
Now I’ve started a nonprofit called Disability-Connections still paying it forward and hope I can until I cross back over. Its mission is to connect people with disabilities all over America like a huge peer support group to help each other with a hand up through resources, ideas and common desire for thriving.
Never give up your dreams, never believe in prognosis and believe with all your heart the enormous power you own when you acknowledge your potential.