Every time I meet someone that has had an up close view of my medical records from the crash (with the exception of the Insurance Company Examiners – very polite wording- and one adjustor) they ask me how I’m walking and talking. Most people with my injuries end up in long term care facilities. It’s simple. No one told me I couldn’t walk or talk. Okay, there was apparently that time in the ICU when my mother mentioned that the reason that I couldn’t speak was because they had my hands restrained. My mother is the sweetest person that I know (as well as my mother-in-law) so I don’t believe my sisters that she REALLY said that . Since I was coming out of a coma at the time, I can’t say that I was really aware of the conversation.
When the physiotherapists walked into the room and handed my a walker, – my medical records were sent incomplete (yay e-health Ontario)- so we assumed they knew what they were doing so I stood up ,ignored the pain and the wobble, and each day my husband helped me walk a few feet further. When I started with my team of therapists when I got home, none of them said what they didn’t think I’d be able to do. If I set something as a goal, they helped me to slowly try to reach it until I realized it wasn’t going to happen. But I got a good portion of the way there.
When I decided to start The Empty Shoes Project, John (my husband) set up the website and has offered me suggestions to spread the word and has supported me on bad days, my sister offered up her business to accept the shoes, my family went out and bought shoes to decorate, my friends spread the word. In other words, No one told me I couldn’t. So I’ll keep doing and hoping that we can come together to represent our loved ones – to make them count. To do something big enough that we can’t be dismissed.
The short answer is that John and Hannah have never told me I couldn’t (no matter how ridiculous the goal). John especially has pushed, pulled, and dragged me (when I needed), held my hand when I needed stability, put his arms around me when I faltered, picked me up when I fell, and even been a Drill Sergeant when I needed to get up and try again (which is not easy to put yourself out there and appear to be the “mean one” when it was what I needed to hear). But the one thing that he has never said is that I can’t do something.
Maybe that’s where my unwavering belief that together we can do this comes from. We can make a difference for those that come after us because NO ONE WILL TELL US WE CAN’T EVER AGAIN.