Please take a moment to read the brilliant blog by our friend Carly Taylor. Carly had a spinal cord injury, a couple of years ago, at the same level as Marrianne. Carly’s legendary blogs give an honest insight into the world of spinal cord injury. Thanks Carly.
Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
A. A. Milne
Embracing the sound of the sea lying in bed relaxes and eases the sharp thoughts that whistle around in my head. Building a new structure of my life is all I’ve seemed to be doing for the last two years, but when is it time to think that’s it, this is my life now live it? I’d like to think I’ll never get to that stage until I’m back to being me but I’m constantly climbing and it doesn’t seem like I’ll ever reach the top. I guess that’s the beauty of our lives no one is ever 100% happy with what they’ve got. Some people are fortunate and others aren’t so fortunate but believing and having determination will help everyone on their way so that’s what I just need to keep thinking. Changes seem to happen like bursts of energy and most of the time the changes spur me to another new level, but sometimes the changes I experience are out of my hands. As the sun starts to shine and summer is here once again I find these days are the hardest. The beauty of my village where I live turns into a scenic picture an artist has painted. The fresh air, the flowers, the sea and the beach it can’t get any better. Appreciating these things now is easier to do whereas before, I took living here for granted. Being able to walk to the beach or get into my car and drive was so simple back nearly 3 years ago but now it’s a distant memory. Loss of breath starts to come and the only thing I can do really well happens, my tears that sting, fall down my face as I desperately crave the life I once had back. No matter what I try to do to occupy myself there’s always a ghost of me lurking around but to console myself I have to think how lucky I was to have those fab 22 years and how lucky I am now to still be alive.
The gym recently has somehow felt a lot more inviting, I feel satisfied with my day knowing that I’ve done some sort of exercise, such as going on my FES machine, sitting and balancing or going on my standing frame. I may not able to play netball or go for a run but I need to do something as I was very active before the accident and thankfully the gym is fulfilling the gap. With allowing myself to enjoy the gym improves my day, as I know I have achieved something. This in turn always makes me feel better physically and mentally. With Nelly finishing his rugby season and having a break for 3 weeks I’ve allowed myself to enjoy precious time with him they may not sound much but venturing out to places and acting like teenagers for once instead of having a adult head on makes me smile. Having someone very special helps and uplifts my spirit even when I’m feeling down he uses his cheeky charm to make me happy something constantly I’ve needed for a pick me up. Our relationship is based on loyalty, happiness, love and friendship. I know in past blogs I’ve expressed on how lucky I am to have him and I am told by people how he’s very brave to stay with me and how some people would of left by now. But Nelly stayed not because he felt sorry for me as he has always told me, but because he loves me and saw me for who I have always been. I am aware and I will always worry about being his now fiancée in a wheelchair, but I’ve always been a worried, quirky, strong minded, determined young woman so nothing has changed there. If anything our relationship has blossomed from working singularly to a strong team unit, I’d give anything for us to be a normal couple (even those couples who do public displays of affection!) rather than being just an inspirational love story. Everyone deserves love, love for who you are through sickness and in health. True love is eternal, infinite and beautiful, it is equal and pure and at times there are downs but I’ve found my love Nelly!
There’s a certain comfort I miss, I have my dog Dora who I adore she’s such a loveable dog who seems to know when something is up. But for me it’s almost impossible to have a Golden Retriever on my lap to cuddle so I took it upon myself to get Dora a little friend, someone she can play with but also someone I can cuddle on my lap. With a twist to everyone’s arm I was lucky to get a little puppy called Milly. Milly is now 16 weeks old and she’s a miniature longhaired dachshund who has nicely settled in the Taylor/Webber household. Not only does Dora love her, I love this little dog too. I’m always relying on people to do/help me out a lot everyday so it’s a special feeling that a little puppy cries out to be put on my lap to sleep, it’s almost like she needs me and it’s a very special feeling.
Facing a disappointment can be extremely hard, either way you look at it disappointments happens to all of us at some point, unless your life is so magnificent then you probably wouldn’t be reading this anyway! A few weeks ago I stumbled across a “disappointment “where I could of rolled out of the situation to avoid a blow, but instead I found inner strength. I travelled up to Bristol to try on wedding dresses, the dream of having a fun, happy day was left back in a romantic film on my shelf, and instead I took a very open mind. Faced by a gigantic mirror there I was and some girl in a wheelchair was grimacing back at me. There was no secret left unturned when it came to my body and trying on dresses in full view of the ladies in the shop sometimes felt more humiliating than a happy moment. A traditional marriage is where the groom doesn’t see the brides dress until she walks down the aisle whereas my traditional wedding will be well, slightly untraditional! For me to taste the whole experience I needed Nelly there so he could lift/hold me up whilst my mum, Kelly and the lady from the bridal shop pulled the dresses down properly with me in my chair. Having tried on 3 beautiful dresses (which looked terrible on me) I reached an untouchable level of sadness. The odd escaped tear trickled down my face as I sat in a silence, which descended all around me. My mind was made up, I’d had enough of this unhappy experience and I wanted out. Without thinking of what I was going to say words started coming out of my mouth and not the words I had been thinking! In disbelief I said no it’s fine, I’m fine, let’s keep going. I could tell by everyone’s faces the sense of relief, Phew! Off came dress number 4, and with me starting to unwind and relax I listened to my mums advice and tried on another dress a different style, there was potential in this one. I actually looked all right, but something was missing. Growing with slight confidence I took a gamble and asked to try on the dress that was in the window. After a tireless effort by all I was in another dress. With Nelly putting me back in my chair I opened my eyes and instead of a grimacing face staring back at me, I saw a smiling face, Me! and I was actually looking nice. This was the dress. I knew it would of been easy to give up but then for what? To experience it all over again and would it be any different? I just had to go with it. But does it really matter if Nelly saw me in my dress; I know I’m going to marry him no matter what. If anything finding myself facing disappointment with Nelly, Mum and Kelly around reminded me that whatever I’m facing they would always be there for me, to advise, protect and love me. I actually took my disappointment in my stride it definitely made me feel stronger, not bitter that I was in a wheelchair and for once more happiness rather than anything else.
There isn’t much that doesn’t surprise me anymore from how people behave about me. I’ve gone from a social always been included person to someone who doesn’t even get the chance of turning an invitation down. I know that I’ve discussed this in the past but I can’t help dwell on the fact some of my old friends treat me differently because I have a disability instead of looking at me for being me. I sometimes wish I had my Grandma’s courage and say something straight away instead of being bitter and sulking about the situation. I thought I’d mention this as suddenly lying awake last night I asked myself which ‘friends’ in my life mean the most to me. Who are the ones who not only give advice, solutions, touch my wounds with a warm heart are sensitive in what they say but can be silent with me in moments of despair and console me through grief. They are the true friends who care and the only ones I need. I know one day I’ll be able to repay the help and support I get and touch some one else’s heart the same way people have done to me.
There hasn’t been a day that has gone by without seeking and searching endlessly for someone to help me step out of the darkness I can find myself in. The worry of my future, lifestyle, ambition and happiness, to the feeling sick, UTI’s, sharp tingles, cold sweats and the agitation All this time I’ve desperately needed that miracle person but it has only just crossed my mind that the person I’ve been looking for could be me. It’s now less than a year away until Nelly and I get married, I feel excited about our future and want the next 11 months to hurry up. I find organising the wedding, exciting and even stressful but it has allowed me to focus on something other than my own physical state. I do find repetition with explaining our situation to suppliers a little dull but I’d rather be honest from the start instead of them turning up with a shock at me being in a wheelchair. I envy people getting married who will look beautiful and perfectly normal on their big day it’s something that I’ve got to get used to but I am trying. Our wedding will be perfect in other ways, as we will get to share it with the ones we love. I’d never thought at my age I would be dealt with the cards I’ve been given, I always wanted a simple life, relationship and a happy story. The only thing that hasn’t changed is my relationship; it’s the one that has lasted, the one, which was started from a friendship. The friend I talked to occasionally and the friend I looked at one day and saw him in a different light. Somewhere without any warning the switch flicked and the person who was just a friend suddenly became the only person I can ever imagine myself with.
I strive to reach my goal of someday walking again I have so many people to thank for allowing me to never give up, reminding me who I am and how far I’ve come. I know I’ve mentioned when do you know it’s time to except this is my life but I feel I’ll never be chasing my dream if I give up now. My dream is to walk, it’s all I think about and I live on the idea. My brain, muscles, nerves and every inch of my body is full of that idea. Everything I do I concentrate on walking again and this is how I know one day it will happen.