My wonderful weekend away was topped off perfectly last night with a little easy, (yet stimulating), listening from Radio 4’s No Triumph No Tragedy series as my husband and I meandered our way home along the dark Devonshire country lanes! I have always adored travelling at night by whatever medium and last night I just loved watching the glow of country cottages pass by the van windows like little glow-worms as I had the privilege, as passenger, of snuggling up and feeling cosy for our two and a half hour journey back to the Big Smoke whilst we listened to the aforementioned radio show.
The guest on Peter White’s programme last night, (which I can highly recommend to all- 9.30pm Sundays), was Shannon Murray, the model and actress who had such a huge breakthrough last year as one of the first disabled models to be used in a major brand’s advertising campaign.
Shannon’s journey from able-bodied to disabled is a story very similar to that of Joni Eareckson Tada, (whom I have featured before on my ‘Reason to Smile’), in the fact that they were both paralysed in their teenage years whilst frolicking carelessly at the beach with friends- both ladies jumped into the sea without the knowledge of the depth or landscape of the rocks below the appealing cool water that lay before them.
On listening to Shannon regale the details of her heart wrenching tale of her transition from carefree teenager, to one reliant upon wheelchairs and the constant care of those around them- I felt strangely nauseous and extremely uneasy and unsettled.
Peter White remarked that this was probably a story that
Shannon had no doubt told a million times and she agreed and consequently expressed it with an ease and almost blase nature.
I myself can relate to this attitude and have probably told my own tale around a hundred times now; each time having more and more of a relaxed and detached attitude to the whole affair- so much so that now I sometimes forget when I am recalling the facts and figures of my rehabilitation, that I am actually talking of my journey and not that of someone else!
I did’nt know at first quite what it was that hit me so hard on hearing Shannon’s tale, but I knew that it did and extraordinarily dramatically! There was a point on hearing the story that a feeling, rather than a thought hit me and really made me realise how things must have affected my own family and husband whom I am both extremely close to.
I know that it is a subject that I have spoke of before, but I genuinely believe that my experience has been an easier one for me to live through, than for my parents and husband and those who love me and who have had to watch me struggle with the reality of unbearable pain along with the fact that I will never realise the dreams and goals that I had set for myself.
Clearly it is a natural maternal love here that makes my Mum express such deeply touching wishes: but I believe that there is an element of this desire in all of us, with people who we love so dearly- in contrast to the conflicting feelings of, ‘…there by the grace of God go I ..’, there is a part of us who would do anything to take the pain away from the people we love.
Although I had always understood this in theory, it really wasn’t until I heard the thoughts of somebody with a similar journey to myself, speak so frankly of their own dark and desperate feelings, that it really struck me like a ten tonne truck to the chest quite what this must have been like for my family. As Shannon expressed each example of her depression, I sat there longing not to hear the next detail. I longed to be able to taken her misfortune away from her, (and this is somebody that I have never met before, nor have any feelings of love for), but as with my own experience, Shannon has not let her circumstances stay a misfortune and has instead decided to turn a negative experience and turn it into a positive one.
I know that I can not change what has been bestowed unto me in the form of my disability; but what I can do, is make the most of and embrace the situation that I am stuck with. I hope that in time, my Mum, my Dad, my husband and my other nearest and dearest will come to accept and embrace this also.
I hope that in time we can all learn to accept that which we can not change and have the courage to change the things we can- along with the wisdom to know the difference.
It is the feelings of those that I love that I genuinely worry about more than my own. I only pray that my family can let go of the sadness and what ifs that they so naturally carry around with them and embrace this new stage in all of our lives.
Tragedy, strangely permeates into the lives of the people around you much more than joyous happenings do; so the only way that this can be overcome in my opinion, is to try and move forward together.
I am blessed to have such a wonderful support in the form of such great family and friends, but the point of this post is only reinforced by the fact that every night as part of my prayers, (if you haven’t guessed yet, I have quite a strong faith!), I pray that no harm comes to my family and my desires that if there should be misfortune ahead, that it should be put upon me and not my family!
There you go- at the end of the day I suppose that these feelings are natural and to be expected. We can’t change them so let’s accept the feeling which we can not change and have the courage to challenge the feelings which we can!
Goodnight to you all. It’s great to be back in communication with you again.
The thing that has made me smile today is my family. I am so blessed and I am so grateful.
I pledge to make the most of them and not take them for granted. I hope that you have a great support network too. If you don’t, remember that I am in the process of creating a forum page for this website,but in the meantime there is the wall of the Discover Disability Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100002588247268
A problem shared is a problem halved and all that: and one shared with someone who can relate and empathise with your experiences is quartered- well that’s what I say and I’m sticking to it!
Night all! X