“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling
I have always heard and read of a time you reach in your life and you know it’s exactly the place you are supposed to be. This weekend I had one of those moments, but come to think of it, my whole year has many of those moments.
One of my friends from a local town nearby where I live has a teenage son who was involved in an automobile accident a few months back. It was very similar to the accident I was involved in years ago. She reached out to me and asked if I would visit her son and bring him some inspiration and encouragement, because he had received some devastating news that he will never walk again and he wasn’t taking it well. I didn’t think twice when I was asked, in fact when I heard it happened to the child, I had already arranged to come visit with him. I heard he was being moved from a hospital in Macon, Georgia to a hospital that I think very highly of – The Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
I visited Joseph a few days after his mom gave me the call, and upon arriving in the hospital parking lot I said a little prayer. I said this prayer because I was unsure of what I was about to see because I had done research on him and not been able to find any pictures of his progress since his accident. I was afraid of what I might be walking into. I always pray for strength before I visit any person in this situation and I do this only because I realize now that it reaches a state of my own being that needs some healing and release. So I took a deep breath, I put on some lipstick and trotted up to baby Joseph’s room.
I walked in and crossed the threshold of the door and it was as if I felt magic automatically. I glanced around his room and saw his walls of the room. They were plastered with get well cards from friends from back home, just as little Stephanie’s was in 1993. What did I do? I sucked up my tears and emotions and walked forward and looked at this baby laying in this hospital bed. He had tears and worry in his eyes and all over his face!!! I saw that little Stephanie laying there! It was magic, I was back in time, only 22 years later at the age of 37!! I sucked up those emotions and tears I felt , and looked at him and said “What’s Upppppp” and smiled big? He smiled at me and threw up his guns…
My knees began to feel weak and I felt the tears coming on so strong! It was the hardest thing I think I have ever faced! I began talking to him and all he could talk to me about was football…. It was football this and football that… How he would never play football again. I looked at him and said Joseph, you stay strong in yourself! You have faith that you will walk again and you will play football again and you will probably be out there with those kick-ass Falcon boys playing…. He looked up at me and smiled big. H said, “I only wish!” I said you just watch baby!!!
The physical therapist came in at that point and I knew my time had expired with Joseph. I kissed his forehead and told him goodbye and said I would visit again in a few weeks. But first, we got a picture both with our guns thrown up showing just how strong we were! I stepped back and began talking with his mom after that but I watched as the therapist was talking with him, too. And there it was magic again, I had gone back in time again to 1993. She was lifting him out of his bed to the wheelchair and he was giving her all kinds of hell…. Just as little Stephanie did!!! This was so healing for my soul!
As I was talking to his mom, I looked over at this and said to his mom, “Thank you for asking me to do this, this is complete therapy for my soul, and means the world to me!” She broke down in tears… She said thank you, she said Stephanie, I am so glad to be in this facility. I told her I was happy she was here, also. She said before we left the last hospital the neurosurgeon came in and told us some news that I will never forget! I said what do you mean? She said he came in after reading Joseph’s scans and looked at me and looked at his dad and then looked at Joseph and said… You know he will NEVER WALK AGAIN, don’t you? And my heart dropped when she said those words to me!!! It was that magic I have been talking about again, I was in 1993 again sitting in my own wheelchair!! Looking up at a dark haired doctor tell me those same words.
I couldn’t hold my tears any more at that point!! I let them roll, and I told her, I said you hear me and hear me well when I say this! Let those words that doctor said to you but especially said to that child, drive him… And I mean drive him out of that hospital bed he was just fussing with that therapist to get out of and drive him to get out of that chair but most of all DRIVE him ALL of his life!!! At this point she was in tears herself! I grabbed her and said its ok… It is ok, if it isn’t ok it isn’t the end baby!!! Then she laughed and let me go….
Walking back to my car my tears were rolling down my face! But I didn’t feel sad at all, I felt almost invigorated… I was proud, proud I had held back those emotions and faced that part of myself I have fought to deal with…. It was the most amazing feeling I have felt in so long!!
I want to end my entry tonight by saying this moment in my life not only taught me so much but helped me deal with so much I never would take the time to look at, and only because I was scared to. Every single moment of our life teaches of something I do know now. I see so clearly now that every second of happiness or adversity has value…. And being with that child that day and his mother helped me to understand this so much more! I am so very grateful I feel my vision is becoming clearer and clearer the further I go along on this journey….
Never Give Up, Never Give In, Never Stop Trying, Never EVER Give Up!!!