Sunday, August 1, 2010

Breathless Moments

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

One of my all-time favorite sayings.

At least it used to be.

What brings me joy?

My answers would have been quite different had I been asked one month ago. Like most of you, I likely would have listed some of those breathless moments. The birth of my child. Coming out of anesthesia post-surgery to see my husband smiling down at me. An amazing moment on a rocky cliff in gorgeous Hawaii.

But these days, in the aftermath of my sister-in-law's tragic accident, I know that joy can (and should!) come from the small things we usually take for granted.

What brings me joy?


My sister-in-law had a bad fall in the mountains on July 8th. She fell quite dramatically on her left shoulder, breaking her clavicle and shattering her vertebrae at the T4. She tells us, at the moment she landed in the river, she knew something was very, very wrong. She knew she should be in pain. But she could feel nothing. She wanted to move out of that cold 40-degree water, but she could not even wiggle her foot.

My sister-in-law is paralyzed. She cannot feel her legs. She cannot walk. She cannot put on her shoes. She cannot get through a day without pain medication.

It brings us great joy that she got accepted to one of the best spinal cord injury rehab facilities in the country. That she is learning, day by day, to understand and manage her "new normal". It brings us joy that she has use of her arms. That she suffered no brain injury. The big things are there, and no doubt we celebrate those. But now we celebrate the tiny things as well.

My sister-in-law has to call a nurse when she wants to get out of bed. She needs help reaching her water if the cup has been placed a mere inch out of her reach. She doesn't get dressed alone. She doesn't even get to empty her bladder alone. Those things will come in time. But for now, she is dependent on so many extra hands. And someone else's legs.

Getting out of my own bed brings me joy.

Walking to the toilet brings me joy.

Using the toilet brings me joy.

Standing in front of the mirror brings me joy.

Reaching to the top of the cupboard brings me joy.

Driving my car brings me joy.

Wearing flip-flops brings me joy.

Walking down the stairs brings me joy.

Jumping with my daughter brings me joy.

Breathless moments are not the only ones that are special. Life can, in fact, be measured by the mundane.

And oh, how beautiful that can be.


Nina @ Momma Go Round said...Best Blogger Tips

Wow, this is beautiful. I'm so sorry to hear about your SIL and pray for her recovery. It is so true that we often take for granted the little things until they are no longer there. Thank you for the perspective.

thepsychobabble said...Best Blogger Tips

I'm so sorry to hear about your sil, and yet happy that you've found pleasure in the mundane.

BalancingMama (Julie) said...Best Blogger Tips

Thank you. The waiting game is hard right now, but we can't wait to see how she progresses through this rehab.

The Mommy Mambo said...Best Blogger Tips

You are a great sister-in-law! Great heartfelt post!

Lolli said...Best Blogger Tips

You did a great job on this! It made me smile!

Karen Whittal said...Best Blogger Tips

With faith nothing impossible, God says to be thankful in all circumstances, faith is the biggest joy giver there is, we are responsible for our own joy, we can curl up and give up on life or we can see the beauty in all situations........ God Bless

Samantha Cummings said...Best Blogger Tips

This post certainly makes one step back and take stock of the things they should be thankful for - the smallest things in life. I am also thankful for these things, and that I was led to this post today. :-)

Your sister in law and family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Life with Kaishon said...Best Blogger Tips

I am so sorry for your sister in law. That is very, very sad. How terrible. I will pray for her as she continues to recover and understand her new normal.

Amber Page Writes said...Best Blogger Tips

At least this tragedy has brought you a new appreciation for life? If something good can be said for it...I hope she's getting a little better, every day.

Scary Mommy said...Best Blogger Tips

Breathless moments... so very true. All the best wishes for your SIL!!

Renee Ann said...Best Blogger Tips

So true that we take the "little" things for granted, and then realize that life is made up of mostly little things! Best wishes for your sister-in-law! (I'm visiting from The Girl Next Door contest.)

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...Best Blogger Tips

I am so sorry about your sister, but happy that you are finding joy about the little things. It is all about the little things.

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