a rare storm
(This blog tells my family's story. To see more, click "blog" at the top of this webpage.)
Beth and her closest friends wore their new HOPE rings every day. I wondered about the different meanings of hope. For her friends, perhaps the hope of her walking again? For Beth? Probably the generalized hope for a happy future. And for me? Small, specific hopes like fewer infections and fewer antibiotics. Anything more could be wishful thinking.
The physical trauma of Beth's injury had weakened her immune system. Through the first several months, there was always a health issue that I worried about, either increased congestion or coughing or fever or infection or nausea or spasms or swelling.
"I began high school as a different person than I was in junior high."
A rare intense storm ushered in the first morning of school, complete with hard driving rain, lightning, thunder, and high winds. I parked near the new automatic doors, pulled the wheelchair from the trunk, unfolded the seat, plopped the cushion on, zoomed to Beth’s open door, scooped her legs over the doorway, grabbed the outside seam of her pants, and lifted her to the wheelchair. The umbrella Maria held over us broke, so when the girls entered the building, they left a trail of water down the hall. I had a meeting scheduled with my supervisor for my new job, but I rushed back home first to change out of soaked clothes, frazzled and sick to my stomach.
After my meeting, I had a list of immediate things to do for the employment office to start work the next day. Back at the high school at lunchtime, I could breathe easier when I found a smiling Beth waiting for me. I was relieved to hear that she had a good morning.
"Kids stared a lot at first. They wanted to get my attention, to talk to me, to see how I had changed," Beth said. "I was already used to being stared at. They thought they would offend me by confirming that I use a wheelchair, as if I didn't know."
She looked more pale than usual, completely drained. Beth’s low back ached, a result of the strand of sensation that remained connected to her spinal cord. I suggested leaving early with me for home—a futile request.
6/29/2016 06:42:57 pm
I remember that stormy, rainy first day of school as a former teacher. I was so worried about dealing with a class of frightened new kindergartners... a far cry from the challenges that faced Beth, her mama, and her sister on that day. What an amazingly strong and resilient group you are. Once again, a truly inspiring peek into your challenges and triumphs. Thank you for sharing!
6/29/2016 09:01:18 pm
Thank you, Deb! That storm was intense; I bet you did have some frightened students! It's kind of you to include me in the "strong and resilient" compliment. I was neither at that time, so soon after Beth's injury, but I had good role models to lead the way! ❤️
7/3/2016 09:02:57 pm
Both you and Beth weathered a storm none of us can really imagine, but by sharing your story you will help people in "other ways" who will never will face this type of challenge. This is why I so strongly support your blog, and future book. Tell us your story.
7/3/2016 09:57:27 pm
Sometimes I have doubts about sharing such a personal story, and then I read comments like yours that encourage me to continue. Thank you, Cindy!
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