Today is the anniversary of my 1st blog. I thought it fitting to reflect on the year; Emily’s progress, the subtle changes that experience has delivered to Emily and me, the evolution of our separate short and long-term goals.
Emily has progressed enormously as when catastrophe strikes the individual has to psychologically address their physical change, accept their trauma, devise coping strategies and reassess their short and long-term goals. It’s the individuals journey through their own mental and physical injury towards healing.
I had my own journey overcoming parallel issues to Emily but as her carer, her mother. I could assist her in the recovery process but only she could write the agenda, she set the goals, I expedited her aspirations, I eased her hike to health by sharing the administrative burden.
My part in my daughter’s recovery was always transient, I had to subtly withdraw because her life’s course is her own, her ability to have a full, productive, active life is inherently personal and driven solely by Emily. The greatest dis-service to a person with a disability is quashing their independence. I revel in Emily’s growing confidence, her post trauma personal development, her objective growth. Her emotional and psychological resilience addressing change; change in her appearance, her relationships, her social life and her altered ambitions.
I have distanced myself gradually because we are not living a shared life. I have my own inclinations which I have to pursuit. I was delighted to spend twelve days in Barcelona recently, leaving Emily alone. I left for Europe secure in the knowledge that Emily was competent, assertive and informed in all aspects of her need. The dynamics of our relationship have always centered on nurturing Emily towards physical, emotional and social independence – my time away consolidated Emily’s adaptation, independence and well-being.
I celebrate this past year as Emily has managed her stressful transition from rehabilitation to home, from patient to student, from reliant to independence. She has shown mature insight as she set achievable goals, she has mastered new skills within safe environments, she manages care delivery and student demands gently which engenders strong working relationships.
I have gained enormously witnessing Emily’s graceful, educated yet assertive approach to life so it is a delight to report on her ability, her strength of character, she shows good humor and love everyday – no ounce of dissatisfaction, anger or belligerence.
Traumatic injury is heartbreaking but with time, care and resources individuals and families can recover. The recent breakthrough in cell transplantation and the success of epidural stimulation treatments engenders great hope for the future. Although research and development fosters hope we must take care to live now. That is my message one year on; that Emily is living, she’s back at University, she’s on the bus, she’s back up at the bar ordering a cocktail, she’s travelled in Australia and Asia and she’s independent.
One year on I can proudly report that Emily teaches me everyday caring!