Scan0028Everyone enjoys celebrating birthdays and wedding anniversaries, but the date of an unhappy event makes it a tough day. April 27th is always that kind of day for me because it’s the anniversary of our car accident, which dramatically changed our life’s journey. I’ve learned grief doesn’t magically end after a certain period of time. Even twenty-four years later, the date and other reminders still bring back the sting of loss. Possibly it may always hurt, although with time the pain does lessen.

Usually, I plan a trip around this time of year. It gives me something to look forward to, but details of an upcoming hernia operation made a vacation impossible right now. When I’m feeling low I try to count my blessings, so I’ve set my sights on writing a positive blog article tonight to lift my spirits.

I’m glad Mark and I survived the accident which could have taken both of our lives. I’m grateful our children weren’t with us when it happened. At the young ages of seven and eight they appeared to be more resilient and accepting of our new life style than they might have been if they were teenagers at the time. Their childlike belief that all would be well kept us fighting and working towards their expectations.

I’m thankful the accident happened before we moved instead of after. I’m grateful for the advice and insight to stop the sale of our home. This unfamiliar road would have been so much harder had we been attempting to get settled in a new house while seeking new friendships. I appreciate the love and support we felt from our Sandy neighborhood. The benefits of Mark returning home to a familiar place surrounded by familiar people proved to be immeasurable, especially with his short-term memory problem. There were unexpected advantages to his memory issues as well, such as not recalling the pain and length of time in rehabilitation.

I’m grateful Mark regained consciousness after three months of being comatose. We are blessed he remembered the most valuable things in life—faith, family and friends. He retained his quick-wit and continues to enjoy making people laugh. He is fun to be with and works hard to accomplish things which use to come easy. His example of patience, endurance and the constant expression of appreciation encourages me to do and be better. He reminds me that bringing joy to others brings joy to self. He teaches me what’s most important in life and encourages me not to worry about all the other stuff.

I’m appreciative of the wonderful people we have met since our accident and their examples. They are my mentors who give me strength, courage and faith that I can succeed in my caregiving endeavors. I’m grateful for those who have shared a part of their stories as guest authors on Uniting Caregivers.

I’m delighted we live in a wheelchair-equipped home with amenities which simplify our life and weren’t even invented many years ago. I’m fortunate to have a brother with the knowledge to draw plans and a father and more brothers who had the skills to build our home and make those plans a reality. We’re fortunate to share our home with my parents who are willing to help in every way they can. Our home provides comfort and conveniences, which make our life more enjoyable.

I’m lucky to have wonderful friends who love and encourage us. Some of whom made our move to Draper easy. They welcomed and helped us feel comfortable right from the start. We moved five years after the accident and we’re still adjusting to a different way of life. Their friendship, love and support assisted us in making our new pathway bright. Our move came just at the right time and location for which we’re so grateful.

I’m privileged to have loving parents and siblings who have always been generous with love and service. We’re blessed they all live close by and we can call on any of them at any time. If possible and needed they would come at a moment’s notice to assist in any way they could. We enjoy doing things together besides loving one another.

I’m fortunate to have the acceptance and love of Mark’s family and although they all live in other states, we know of their concern and care for us. I’m thankful for cell phones, FaceTime, email and social media, which make the distance much closer and keeps us connected.

I’m blessed to be a part of a large, extended family where cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews are connected and involved in our lives. We love and appreciate our relationship with each one and I’m grateful for their love and loyalty to family.

Looking at all these blessings we have received I realize our life has turned out just as it should for our own personal growth. Our journey took an unthinkable turn on April 27,1991, one I did not expect nor could have prepared for. However, there is joy in this journey and at the top of the mountain there is a beautiful view.