During a recent coaching session with a new client, I was reminded of a significant milestone that I’ll be marking in October 2015: Walking.
I’m not referring to walking in terms of a recreational activity, like running. In fact, most would assume that at age 48, I should have approximately 48 years of walking experience.
But this is not exactly accurate. There actually was a break in my ability to walk which occurred 15 years ago, just after my son Declan was born.
I was involved in a head-on car crash in Massachusetts, which caused a condition known as “spinal shock.” I subsequently developed atrophy in on my legs. As as result, I lost movement in my legs and I became a non-walker in a wheelchair.
I felt blessed beyond words when the doctor told me that “Someday, with a lot of therapy, you can walk again.” So many people who lose their ability to walk never hear those words. I did and I worked harder than anyone will ever know.
In my mission to walk again, I found myself living in a rehabilitation facility south of Boston, while a cousin took care of my two little girls and my new baby. My husband spent his day working. It was incredibly hard and the experience proved to be a very lonely struggle.
It should have been a happy time in my life. I had a new baby boy, two beautiful little girls, a loving best friend for a husband, super friends, a great home and a fabulous business in real estate. Life was good. But that was before the accident.
I spent several months living alone in the rehabilitation center, apart from my family, but it felt like years. I struggled through hours of therapy each day. I begged people to push me in therapy so I could regain my ability to walk at a more rapid pace. I cried. I prayed. I begged God to make it better. I was the youngest resident in the center by 40+ years. I was in a wheelchair and I had lost all independence. I was dependent, lonely and sad.
I even called our church and asked if I could talk to a Catholic priest so he could help me beg God to make it better. But no Catholic priest ever showed up from the parish. It was a sad time.
In many cases, those pivotal “change moments” in life can almost feel like a freeze frame; a Polaroid. We can often remember those moments with amazing clarity. My pivotal moment occurred during a Lutheran priest’s visit. Since the parish had failed to send a priest to me in my time of need, my faith had been shaken. And this visit was not warm and fuzzy; he didn’t offer condolences. In fact, my impression at the time was that he seemed like an complete ass! That is, until he gave me the “keys” to my eventual recovery. At the end of our visit he said, “the answer to all of your issues is YOU. Your attitude, your determination, your belief it will happen, your spirit, your will — it is all YOUR decision….You are the answer to your situation.”
I could go on and on sharing the lessons I learned during what I think of as Part 1 and Part 2 of my recovery. During Part 1, I looking for others to make it better. During Part 2, I came to understand that I was the key to my recovery.
Someday, I will write the book so that others can benefit from this difficult life lesson, but for today, October 2015, I recognize and celebrate 15 years of walking!
Through motivational speaking, coaching and teaching, I strive to help others find the strength and power within themselves. I hope that my story will help others. The human spirit is more powerful than we realize. Sometimes, we need other people to help us reach deeper within ourselves as we summon the strength that dwells within our own spirit.
Rosemary Kelleher serves as a motivational speaker and she is currently available for event bookings nationwide and beyond. Contact Rosemary Kelleher today to book her for your event.