When Surviving Becomes Living

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It’s 10 AM and I have yet to eat anything besides Halloween candy. I haven’t showered and the ridiculous night sweats I recently developed makes this all the more problematic. Last night’s episode (along with the sports bra I wore to bed) left my skin a lovely shade of hot pink – and yet I still haven’t showered. And the last thing I have time for right now is writing. So why am I here? I’m here because tomorrow we are leaving for Hawaii and while I was extremely nervous to book this trip when it was proposed a year ago, the changes in me since that time (especially over the last few months) have recently stood out to me and I wanted to share.

Over the last week we have slowly started to organize everything we will need (packing for five people is not a small task). My husband and I share the load of this in the sense that I plan and delegate and he does what I tell him to. It works well. But as I looked over at everything piled up on the floor, I was reminded of our first trip after my accident. I was instantly faced with a sharp contrast of experiences and a clear image of how far we have come.

On our first family trip – 5 months post injury – Ian did everything. I couldn’t wrap my mind around bringing medical supplies and equipment. I did manage to pack some clothes but Ian thought of everything else. I couldn’t use public bathrooms on my own because I was still nervous about my transfers and couldn’t get my pants up by myself. This turned every public bathroom trip into a family affair. Everything about my body and our life was foreign and frustrating and I didn’t have an ounce of confidence in it. But I had confidence in Ian and we both had a desperation for normalcy. So, he made it happen.

Skip ahead to today and I’m feeling thankful for progress. The organization for this trip has felt like a partnership with Ian instead of me feeling like a fourth child. I’m capable of packing my medical supplies, medication and equipment. I packed activities for the kids for the airplane in a fashion that would even satisfy pre-injury Codi. And I no longer have to worry about finding bathrooms we can all fit in. My body and our life is familiar. We are ready for this.

Now just to bring a little reality to my confidence, I am still nervous. This is the longest flight I’ve done since my injury and there will be hiccups along the way of this new experience. But the hiccups don’t scare me as much as they used to. And we have bathing suits, lots of sunscreen and, really, what else do you need in Hawaii? Oh wait, that reminds me, I need to get our passports.

I’ll be right back.

OK, I got distracted – for 24 hours. We are now on our way to the airport. I’m showered and haven’t eaten any Halloween candy which is definitely an improvement from yesterday. We have a car full of excited kids and my nerves are at a minimum. But the thought I want to leave you with is this. For so long after my injury, I was surviving. I took life minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour and day-by-day. In preparing for this trip, I realized that I’m no longer just getting through life, I’m living it. I honestly didn’t know if that would ever be possible again.

If you are in the midst of grief, trauma or a tough season – getting through day-by-day, know that life is waiting for you on the other side. You will go to Hawaii again. I am going to Hawaii again. And I just double checked, we have our passports.

3 comments on “When Surviving Becomes Living”

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