On the heels of our American Thanksgiving Day, the day we celebrate what we are most grateful for – friends, family, abundance of all things that sustain and nourish us – to this I add one more thing. I am most thankful for my very own commitment to myself, the voice of my deepest Self that I understand, now more than ever, to be the only guide I could ever need in this life. You may call it the voice of god, the voice of intuition, the voice of spirit. For me, it is best to leave it nameless. But following it has brought me to this most important, most powerful, most satisfied position in my entire life.
Twenty years ago I remember gathering for a Thanksgiving feast with such a heavy heart. I lived with so much fear. My daughter, then such a tiny little girl, was asleep in my lap late in the evening as I watched over her like a hawk. She had just been released from the hospital after having had a horrible status seizure in the middle of the night a couple of days before. She was drugged up on such a large dose of anticonvulsant medication that she was comatose for the better part of two days. As she came back to consciousness, she could no longer walk or talk as her normal four-year-old self. She was crawling, confused, and lethargic. I didn’t know if it was the seizure that had caused more brain injury or the cortical-suppressing side effects of the medication. Either way, it was heartbreaking and horrifying.
That was the weekend that I read the book, “What to do About Your Brain Injured Child” by Glenn Doman cover to cover. The whole thing. As Haylie slept in my lap, I earmarked page after page and slowly the terror left me. Terror for her future, for my future, began to dissipate and what slowly seeped in to take its place was a feeling of relief and excitement. This book made sense to me. And it helped my daughter make sense to me. It was liberating and hopeful. It was the beginning of a new era of my life, an era that has lead me to my now. My now moment as a healthy woman with a healthy, capable, passionate daughter asleep in the next room with an agenda for changing the world in her own inspiring and powerful ways.
Tonight, I am a content woman with a powerful voice who feels so proud of herself for marching down this long, long road – sometimes with a lot of help, sometimes very alone. And, I did it. I am so deeply grateful that I had the courage, the fortitude, the persistence, and the insight to follow this path. I followed it even when people I loved and respected and thought I needed criticized me for it. I did it when they said I was crazy. I did it when they said I was wrong. I did it while they rolled their eyes and talked about me behind my back. I did it when it was fun and the progress was clear. I did it when it was fucking hard and I was groping in the dark. I did it anyway. I followed that inner voice. And that, tonight, is what I am most profoundly grateful for in this life of mine. That is something that can never, ever be taken from me. It is the thing I intend to serve the world with now.
So, let me say this: to the mamas and papas out there who have hurt kids, I know how much it hurts your heart when your kids are not ok, when they are not as you want them to be. And I know how much it hurts to feel alone in that, when the people around you just don’t understand. But you must never give up. You must never lose hope. I say this as much to you as I say it to my past self, sitting alone and afraid on a couch that night two decades ago, wishing I had something more to be thankful for. You can do this hard thing. Believe in yourself and believe in your child. Believe in your inner voice to guide you there, to the dreams that are alive and waiting for you. And, be thankful for this gift. The one that shows you what you are really made of, after all.
P.S. I am also very thankful for you, my readers. Thank you for following me and supporting me and asking about my book. Thank you for sharing your stories with me. I look forward to sharing more of our story with you in the hopes that it help and inspire as many people as possible to dare, not only to dream, but to put one foot in front of the other in pursuit of that dream. If you know a family that would benefit from this information, would you be so kind and generous as to share this blog with them? Let’s work together to spread this important information: brain injured kids can get well.
I began this blog to share pieces of the book I'm writing about my daughter's courageous march down the path from brain injury to wellness. It's the story of how one little girl overcame the odds, a long list of labels, and limiting diagnoses. I hope it inspires other parents to dream bigger by knowing what is possible.