I have always been the resilient type. Pushing through pain, obstacles, and defeat…..only to emerge humbled, aware, and even more tenacious than before. I was the one that was always positive and smiling every day – because life was spectacular and I wanted to drink life up. After all, my parents always told me I could do anything I set my mind to. My mother taught me to love myself for me, and my father taught me to never give up on my dreams and to stand by my convictions. He would often say “you have balls of brass and courage up the ass” – that was Papa for you – he never was one to mince words, Both my parents together showed me what love was and also what it was not. They showed me how to survive in this world…to be my own person, where I didn’t need to depend on anyone to take care of me, if that was the life I chose. I was raised to be independent, think for myself, think outside the box, challenge conventiality in all its forms, if it didn’t make sense to me to think and figure it out, and to be goal oriented. Devoted and loyal to family and to help others came naturally to me, and why wouldn’t it? Our home was never empty at Holiday Times. We always had strangers in our home for Thanksgiving or Christmas – “do unto others as you would have done unto you” and ” you reap what you sow” were commonplace in our family conversations.. They showed me how to be brave and appreciate learning.
My life has not been smooth sailing by any means. We have had more than our fair share of storms and hurricanes, that is for sure! I grew up with a father who was a Vietnam Veteran who served our Country, so I know all about being a Caregiver from a younger age than I should have known. My mom, always bore her role with dignity as well. Papa died in 2005 from NonHodgkins Lymphoma. Diagnosed finally as 100% service connected disabled AFTER death. So I get that side of thigs too. A tragic loss…however, that is a whole other Blog *smiles*. Mom, she grew up as a “Navy brat”, so the military ran deep in our family. All these are in my long term memory.
In my life nothing has ever come easy without real effort and work. This is not a complaint at all, just a strong work ethic I was raised with and admired in my parents. Their passion and zest for life fueled me to reach higher, deeper, and wider.
I realize that nothing slowed me down for very long from what I wanted to accomplish, learn or read. I was always reading, especially medical journals, books, magazines. Spiritual and religious books. From “Curious George” to “Dear and Glorious Physician”; from the “Reader’s Digest” to the “New England Journal of Medicine”; My parents encouraged and taught us that books were “our friends”. This is all pertinent to this blog…..and soon you will understand why I say all of this.
I grew up feeling smart, confident, sure of my future, with a great love for all forms of Medicine. I had been in the medical field for nearly 14 years. I also had experience in everything from Retail to Social Work. Instructing EMS classes for First Responder’s and Emergency Medical Technicians. Teaching Basic Life Support, and then later, Advance Life Support. I even ran my own Training Agency with amazing Instructors who worked with me.
I would eventually marry and have an unconventional life than what I imagined as a little girl. However, it was better than I imagined in so many ways. I have 6 children and every one of them is amazing in their own way. Life as I knew it, working 40-62 hours a week – while balancing 2 special needs kids, and a host of other resposibilities as a wife and mother was exhausting, yet joyous and fulfilling – and not something I wasn’t used to….even as a single woman. These are all long term memories too.
That is…………until January 4, 2014. When my whole entire world, and sense of self, as I knew it……well, let’s just say…NOTHING could have prepared me for what happened that day. The police report says a head on collision. I, however, as hard and as diligently as I have tried……remember NOTHING!
That day would not only change my life, but that of my marriage, myself as a mother, and our entire family dynamics. It would change my way of thinking, my way of communicating, my emotions, my taste, my libido, my sleep habits, and alter every facet of my life from the smallest details to the larger unforseen things which keep lapping at our heels, like the tide coming in…..day after day, after day
I looked in the mirror one day and wondered who it was I was looking at….like realllllly looking at myself. This wasn’t the Caren I knew before the wreck.