Four years have passed by and it still feels like yesterday. A visual slideshow is running through my mind with moments from these years. Yes – an accident happened, I got a spinal cord injury that resulted in quadriplegia – but frankly, I don’t have single memory of that moment. For me life started when I opened my eyes in the hospital.
What comes to mind is how quickly I have gone through the initial days of (sometimes unbearable) body pain to the realization of “I’m not dead, this means I’m supposed to go on” to “Ok, I can at least do this” to setting benchmarks after looking at other quadriplegics like me to the life that I have today in a beautiful town, close to my loving family, contributing value to my amazing workplace.
All through this I have howled, cried, sobbed – ending up with my nose clogged, shouted, sometimes expressed, got irritated, made my own shell away from the normal world (i.e. the world where people have able bodies), cringed at family and friends who’d tell me don’t cry or think too much, watched people go away without saying goodbye, been aloof, questioned my capabilities, let sadness takeover and what-not!
But I have also been able to make enough time to watch squirrels make their way from one tree to another, basked in the sun – A lot, watch trees shed their leaves – come back with a full-bloom and then shed again, become a good observer and even more patient, revel in small improvements/ achievements; the first time I figured how to move my hand – drag it from the ear to my nose and finally satiate a itch (Ahh!), my first bite of chicken after months of tasteless liquidity food, being able to sit to the count of 100, when I could paint by fixing the paintbrush between my fingers, the first time I ate with my own hands and many more.
I have felt the joy of just-being, full of gratitude for my family who have been there – many times put their life on hold for me, thankful for the rich set of friends and acquaintances whom I would not have come across otherwise, more than I believe… I have experienced and witnessed that seemingly-impossible can be achieved ‘only’ if you keep trying. I don’t know my life’s destination, but I fuel my tank (get inspired) at every opportunity, sharpen my skills (learn new things about myself) and cruise through each day as it comes.
Looking back after four years and having these thoughts is easy. What was difficult is being in those times and thinking that it’s going to get easy someday. We all go through big and small difficult situations in life and it might seem that the world is collapsing – but really, does it ever? I have learned that the only secret to keep going on is to look back how far you’ve come and live with the knowledge that you’ve done it before, you can do it again.