|In an interview, Charles Krauthammer said, about his paralysis, “I made a promise to myself on day one [after my injury]. I was not going to allow it to alter my life. You get two choices. You can be hopeless and despairing, or you can live your life. And to me, there was basically no option.”
What are some of those difficult things you do not let to change your life? If you do not want to write about yourself, write about someone you know or even a story character.
This question really reminds me of my sister. I was three, almost four when Rachel was born. She’s smart and lovely with a quick wit and the ability to hold a grudge past any sense of proportion, and I love her dearly.
She’s the sister whose baby died at five days old. That was difficult for all of us, but especially for her. She’s a private person, and all of a sudden, she felt judged and impotent and mourning and on display. Whenever there was someone in the room with her, she put on her strength, especially her other babies. But she wanted time and space to be alone so she didn’t have to be strong for a while.
It still affects her, of course, but she lives. We aren’t given the choice about what’s going to happen to us in life. All we can choose is how we’re going to react to what is given to us.
About two years—maybe two and a half because her fourth (Caleb was her third, the one who died)—she got a bad sinus infection that landed behind her eye, and after everything was done, her retina had detached and she was blind in her left eye. I came to help with the children for about six weeks—well, three weeks there, we brought them to Grandma’s for three weeks, and then another three weeks back there while she learned her new normal.
I was so impressed with how she coped—in fact, the doctors and nurses were as well. The way she put it, the worst thing that could happen was losing Caleb. Losing an eye was nothing when she considered the worse pain.
She drives. She home schools her children (she has five now, four living)—one girl and the rest boys. They’re rowdy and messy and have issues with temper and potty training and all the rest of the things that are associated with children—and she handles them with grace. She still plays the piano—she has all her life and got her Masters in Collaborative Piano when her oldest was a baby. She cooks. She can even pour milk if she uses two hands and a lot of care. In other words, she hasn’t let her life be blighted by what has happened to her. Instead, she survives—she thrives.
When things happen in my life (and they have—the diabetes for one) I try to remember her strength and let it inspire me to be more.