Overcoming obstacles with Optimism

This morning I left to go to the gym and noticed a white car driving away from our street.  Before it reached the next stop sign, the brakes were applied; a woman jumped out from the driver’s seat and started yelling, “Call 9-1-1!  Someone call 9-1-1 quick!”  She was screaming like a woman who suddenly had no control only an intense filling of fear.  A girl jumped from the back seat and started running knocking on doors.  The lady continued screaming and crying out like an injured person.  I heard her yell at the end of a breath, “My son is having a seizure.”  I reached the car as quickly as I could.  Another adult was already looking into the vehicle.  The boy in the car was twelve and just had a tonic-clonic seizure.  He had never had medical problems before and was now unresponsive which placed tremendous fear into this mother’s heart.  I asked the bystander to help this mom change the boy from a slumped position and have him lie down in the seat.  I explained her son was postictal.  He was in the third phase of a seizure.  I asked the other family member to speak to him with kind and calming words.  I told the little boy an ambulance was coming to check on him, and I knew it probably seemed all really scary and confusing.  I assured him everything was all over now and his body just needed to rest.

I told the mom again and again resting like this after a seizure was normal.  Her son was tired.  This was the path to recovery.  His brain and body were just relaxing now.  The girl who had fled the back seat was his little sister.  She had been the one to identify the onset of the seizure.  She was scared and had no comprehension as to what she had just seen.  I asked if she had ever seen a lightning storm.  We talked about rain when it sprinkles and then when it drops so hard you beg your mom to run outside and splash in the puddles.  The little girl smiled as she heard about puddles.  We said how it isn’t a good idea to play in lightning.  Her brother just had the coolest lightning storm that started just in a little space in his brain and then spread all over.  We talked about how cool it would be to see lightning spread like that.  We talked about how cool it was he had a sister as great as she was.  She hugged me, wiped away tears and hugged me again.

The paramedics came.  I told them this little boy was postictal and the length of time since the movement stopped.  We talked about his response of blinking a few times.  It seemed as though he was coming to.  I told his mom again and again how much harder this was on her than it was on her son.  Before the ambulance drove away, the girl hugged me again and whispered “thank you”.

A few hours later, I drove my daughters to listen to my youngest play in her second band concert.  There is something beautiful, yet painful, about listening to fourth and fifth graders playing a mix of Queen songs.  Leaves me wishing I could not hear if instruments are out of tune.  Yet, I can and I help my daughters each practice their instruments.  I am able to iron clothes and drive them to these performances.  I’ve come a long way from only dreaming I could push down piano keys again.

I returned home to a neighbor waiting to share a glass of red wine and entertaining conversation.  We had tears to clear up first.  She found out today one of her eyes is losing sight and the eye doctor expects all sight to be gone within a short while.  The other eye has macular degeneration and will progressively get worse over time.  I told her about the neat devices I learned about while in a low-vision support group.  I told her ways to cope that had helped me get around.  When I first had my stroke, I was nearly blind.  It was a slow process to get as much as I have back.

I told this neighbor one of the best lessons I learned: You don’t have to see a picture to realize the beauty it holds.  You don’t have to see the sunset to recreate the splendor in your mind.  We grieved the loss she will soon experience.  Yes, there were tears.  It’s healthy to cry for what you are losing and to fear what might come.  Yet, it is also healthy to hold onto hope and rejoice what you still have.  As I told her, when you lose a loved one, there are seven stages of grieving.  When you face a serious illness, these seven stages are usually present and just as important.  We lightened the mood and laughed more at what amusing things it might be good not to have to see.  I left after a big hug.  As I walked home, I was slightly confused whether we still had tears of sadness or these were tears brought on by humor.  Sometimes, as in this evening, they are so beautifully intertwined they are hard to differentiate.

Days like these once again reaffirm my belief that life does not prepare us for the current moment, but prepares us for moments yet to come.  Someday you will find yourself understanding why the hard and trying lessons you learn today are so important for tomorrow.  On this day, today, I found myself remembering this important lesson.  I have no doubt; I am right where I should be.

After the Storm

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Comments on: "Right Where I Should Be" (29)

  1. Karen Jackson said:

    As usual Tara, you never fail to amaze me! To know you is to love you and I know you have a long trail of friends and family who absolute look up to you in so many ways. How did we get so lucky to have you in our family? We miss y’all dearly and until we meet again, just know we also are thinking of you. Luv ya

    • We will see each other again soon. We’ll either have to plan a cross-country journey or find somewhere to meet in the middle. It means a lot to me when you stop by and say hello. Thanks for being here for me.

      Tara

  2. The woman and her children were very lucky to have you right there. I got very teary reading what you said to help the girl.

    • Grace, it is amazing how we find ourselves a the right place at the right time, isn’t it? The girl’s love warmed my heart. She was so young with a huge heart. Her love and fear for her brother touched me deeply.

      Tara

  3. This is a beautiful testimony -but that last thought…preparation for what is to come, and strengthening for the coming need to be there for someone coming through where you’ve been…I Like that. 🙂

  4. Tara, thank you so much for sharing your day with us, the one planned long ago for you and those around you .. who would need you. Our youngest has had several months without seizures, and it was so freeing! This month, they returned again, but I’m still so thankful. Reading about that mom and little boy and sister .. just brought back memories of the first times we witnessed our daughter’s. I’m so glad you were there for them and for your neighbor. God bless you!

    • Several months without seizures is wonderful news! I am so happy to hear this. I know their coming back is awful, but that length of freedom was a glorious gift. I hope more quiet months find your family again soon. Seeing parents who have to handle situations like this only make me have more sympathy for everything my parents had to observe.

      It was great to have you stop by Debbie! Thanks!

      Tara

  5. mairzeebp said:

    That last paragraph was lovely and moving. Thank you for sharing your story. And for the rainbow. Always my favorite sign of happiness and hope.

    • That double rainbow appeared after several days of showers. We opened our garage door to run and splash in puddles. What a beautiful sight we had waiting for us! Yes, a perfect sign of happiness and hope.

      Tara

  6. Yes, you are exactly where you should be.
    But also, you are exactly where you are for the needs of that boy, and his mom, and his sister. And your neighbor. And your daughters. And the world —

    • Judith, your kind words truly mean so much to me. 🙂 Thank you, thank you.

      It feels so good to know everything we go through and learn can and will be called upon. I am fortunate I was able to offer my knowledge to others. In many ways, we are all a gift to one another.

      Tara

  7. that family was so lucky to have you there! i have epilepsy and know what seizures are like. xo

    • I watched a taped seizure of myself one time. Until then, I had no clue -at all- how horrible it was for my family and friends to witness these. It gave me a whole new perspective on the level of fear my parents experienced and now other families.

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave your thoughts.

      Tara

      • they really are terrifying to see. I’m sorry you have them too. 😦

        It would have been even more scarey if that child had never had one before and they don’t know what caused it.

        You are a hero to them I’m sure! xo

  8. Tara,
    Thank you so much for liking my post because it led me to your blog and this amazing story. After reading it I wanted to shout: “Faith in humanity restored!”
    It reminded me of the people who stopped to render aid to me after I was severely injured in a car accident. One happened to be a surgeon who was driving home from a conference (around 2 am). He wrote my vitals and other info on my chest in case I lost consciousness or worse.
    Was it just a coincidence? I don’t think so. He was right where he needed to be.
    I believe we are all given opportunities to help one another; to perform random acts of kindness, but we don’t always recognize it or fail to act upon it. You are the rare breed who seizes every opportunity, a veritable angel on earth. Bless you. I look forward to reading your blog.

    • The surgeon who stopped to help you was lucky and brilliant. He was fortunate to find himself in a place where he could do immediate good with the training he spent his life learning.

      When I do college lectures, student sometimes ask how it is I think everyone could help someone else with random acts. I always ask when was the last time they held open a door for someone. Most students cannot answer this. Everyone has the chance to slow down and make someone’s life easier. Daily we have opportunities to offer someone else a smile. You are very kind but I think I’m just lucky enough to truly grasp the immense truth behind the Buddha quote, “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

      Tara

  9. Reblogged this on Melissa Janda – the Buzz on Writing and commented:
    Very touching story. I just had to share.

  10. I loved this “You don’t have to see a picture to realize the beauty it holds. You don’t have to see the sunset to recreate the splendor in your mind. ” That is a great lesson 🙂 Thanks for sharing it Tara.

    Thank God you were there to help the boy. You are so great with children. You handled the girl so beautifully and gently.

    You are where you should be 🙂

    Your friend,
    Lucas

  11. Lucas,

    Thank you for your kind words. It was a wonderful feeling to know this day was made a little easier, in part, due to my past challenges.

    I hope you have a great weekend Lucas. Thanks so much for stopping by!

    Tara

  12. An awesome post, and very much appropriate to my life!

  13. This took my breath away! I don’t even know how I found you. Maybe it was the title of your blog as you wrote or LIKED a blog I follow but I read this in an on the edge of my seat kind of way. You are a fantastic writer. But more I can already tell a person I would like to know!
    Clicking follow before I run off to work! 😉
    Thank you for being my ” great inspirer” of the day!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. And you, in turn, have inspired me. I am getting ready to lecture at some classes and then present at a conference this week.

      You have helped motivate me. Thanks, I needed the help to finish up final drafts of my speeches tonight. You have kicked me into high gear. Thank you so much.

      Tara

  14. This was wonderful.

  15. I love the idea that the hard times prepare us to help others. My son who has muscular dystrophy with a side of seizure disorder may be getting a g-tube. Today someone told me that it was the hardest but best decision she made for her child. This calmed my own fears a little. Your attitude is how I’m trying to live with my son’s illness. I’m really glad I found your blog.

    • It is always harder as a parent to have to watch our children hurt. When we hurt, it is just one of those things and we’ll work through it. When it’s our babies, it causes us much more pain. Please, keep me updated on the g-tube.

      Tara

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