For two weeks, after I completed my physical, occupational, and speech therapies, I would take a moment for appreciating the simple things I had in life. Everyday, I would look at the emerging Crokus and Daffodils in the community garden. The fragile flowers were my symbols of strength.
They gave me hope. Hope that I would continue to see myself as a survivor. I wanted to stay away from a dark path where I would think of myself as a victim of a heart attack and a stroke. I considered the garden as a GARDEN OF HOPE.
The flowers in my Garden of Hope, and the blossoming flowers everywhere, are an indication that Spring is on its way. I SURVIVED a season that was worse than any blizzard or oppressive heat. Spring is a season of renewal and rebirth. And this is my hope, that I will continue to recover from a season of dormancy.
Thankfully, I was able to leave my Garden of Hope behind, so that other people could pray and hopefully find inspiration to become strong once again. Or maybe, they would become new and improved, better and healthier than they were prior to their accident. That was, and continues to be my hope and my goal.
The path before me is not an easy one. Learning to tie my shoes, my inability to eat with my right hand, and struggling to not trip going up-down a flight of stairs are battles that I must deal with on a daily basis. They are physically demanding and frustrating.
It is also embarrassing to cry in the middle of grocery store when trying to find the right thank you cards for those who have shown a great deal of love and support. Seeing my dogs shy away from me, when I attempt to pet them with my clumsy right hand, is devastating. Crying is an every day occurrence. It comes with the territory of having a brain injury. I’ve accepted it, but it doesn’t mean that I enjoy it.
I have never asked God, “Why me?” After all, He only gives us the challenges and hardships He knows we candle. Right? Right? I certainly hope so. Rather than wallowing in self-pity, I’ve begun to ask, “Why not me?” I’ve also begun to wonder, what is the life-lesson I am supposed to learn? I may not have all the answers just yet, but I am confident they will come with time.
I learned in a support group, for stroke sufferers, a phrase that is so simple, yet so profound. “I am a survivor. I am not a victim.” A fellow participant challenged the group with these words, “We have all been given a second chance to live. What are YOU going to do with your chance? Are you going to make a difference? Or are you going to be statistic?”
I cried uncontrollably.
I thought, but could not speak the words, I WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
And so, every day, I walk in my back yard and look at our blossoming magnolia tree. It has become my TREE OF HOPE.
Spring is here. Just as the gardens and trees come to life once again, so too will I emerge from a cold and dark period to show off my beautiful colors.
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.