How do we move forward?

My road came to an unexpected halt on November 9, 2010.

That morning, I was bicycling to work when a garbage truck turned across a city bike lane. I was in that bike lane.

I was critically injured in the accident. A team of trauma surgeons saved my life, but they had to amputate my left leg. I had a long road ahead of me, physically and emotionally, yet I was grateful to be alive.

An ending can be a beginning too. I started over.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

Gradually I learned to walk again. So I began counting steps. Then miles.

Over time, that journey turned a corner. It became less about my own recovery and more about resilience -- the connection we all share.

Ten years later, I still take one step at a time. Yes, there are bumps in the road, but each step means rising to new challenges, adapting to change, and moving forward with hope.

Are you on your own journey?

WALK WITH ME.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Note to Self

Mile Marker 6975:

Everything will be all right in the end.  
If it's not all right, it is not yet the end.

--Simit Patel, Hotel Manager,
 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel



I'd like to write a letter to that girl in the wheelchair.I would tell her this isn't how it ends.

That this isn't an end at all -- it just feels like one.

Look around, I'd write.  Breathe.  Right here.  Right now.  On this balcony.  In this wheelchair.  Inhale this 20-degree December air.

It's the taste of freedom.  Remember it.

Remember this day -- December 17, 2010 -- the day you arrived at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital.

Remember how hard this day was.  When Dad and Andy peeled all the get-well cards off the walls of your room at Jefferson.  When the EMTs came to the door and told you it was time to go.  When you pulled that yellow sock onto your right foot and gingerly placed it on the tile floor.  When you pivoted from your bed to their gurney.


Remember how you tried to smile through the panic.  How your nurses lined the hallway to cheer you on your way.  And how you felt SO LOST because that trauma unit was the safest place you knew.

Remember how you grabbed Mark's hand and wouldn't let go, and how the EMTs let him climb into the back of the ambulance with you.

Remember these things, I'd tell her.  Remember all of them.  Because it will make a future day, in 8 years, even sweeter.

That day will be December 17, 2018.

On that day, you'll see the sunrise in layers of mauve and gray.  Again, you will inhale.  And although winter is coming, the air will taste like spring.

You won't believe me now, I'd write.  But on that day, you will have walked almost 7,000 MILES -- on a prosthetic leg!

And on that particular mile, you will be wearing your black boots, the ones you carried in your backpack on the day of the accident.

They recovered too.

You're right, I'd tell her.  Life will never be the same.

It will get worse, but also better.  There will be lower lows and higher highs than you could ever imagine.  It will be challenging and painful, but also rich and real.  You'll learn to hang on tight and appreciate all you have.

And then -- on December 17, 2018 -- you will walk (YES WALK!) through the double doors of Magee Rehabilitation Hospital.  Again.

This time, there won't be tears or fear.  Just true smiles, and amazement, that somehow you've reached this place, and it's exactly where you belong.

You'll be there to help other patients.  You'll be part of the team.  Don't forget to swipe your time card.

And, I'd tell her, one more thing...

This isn't how it ends either.  It's just another beginning.

So go ahead.  Get started.  There's work to do.  I'll be watching.

See you in 8 years.

BELIEVE.

10 comments:

  1. Beautiful, Ricki! What a wonderful, hope-building, life-affirming post! Congrats again on the new job -- they are so lucky to have you!

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  2. It makes my heart fill with JOY for you and your Family. You are a warrior keep up the good work! Much Love - POP

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  3. Congratulations on the new job. You are a beautiful and amazing person. Keep up the great work that you do. Ed Hassan

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  4. We are so thrilled for you and your amazing attitude! Bruce Singer once told me after the accident, “she’s got the fortitude to deal with this....you wait and see.” He was so right and then some....kudos on your new job ...you are the perfect person for it!

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  5. Wow. Mind blown. You are amazing, my friend.

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  6. Another eloquent commentary on your life story, with all its twists, ups and down. As always, we're rooting for you, knowing that the tales still to be written will continue to be amazing, hopefully always wonderful, yet not always surprising to those of us who know you. Love Aunt Patti and Uncle Steve

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  7. You are amazing and deserve the position. You will impact many others with your positive, upbeat attitude and life-story.

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  8. Beautifully written Rebecca! I had the pleasure of working with your younger self from that time. Even with all that you were going through, you were always so personable with everyone you encountered. I remember you asking me how I was when I saw you. You have come such a long way. I know it hasn't been easy but I love seeing how you continue to challenge yourself and help others along the way. I will always have deep respect for you!! Tree

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  9. Your attitude will surely help and motivate others, which is wonderful. You're not just being positive, you're someone that can truly understand, commiserate and inspire!

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