Today is my friend Sandra’s birthday. 4 years ago, her adult son, Dustin, was hit by a car and sustained a brain injury. During the first year of his recovery, she kept a journal and an online Care Page. This afternoon while a gang of us were celebrating her birth by slamming margaritas and laughing very loudly and yakking with each other and just generally carrying on like a gang of college students on the night after finals, Sandra gave me a three ring binder containing print outs of her journal.
Look, I know most of my readers don’t know Sandra. But here’s what I’ve learned about her in the past year that we’ve become close: She is eternally positive, extraordinarily compassionate and forgiving, very levelheaded, and she reminds me of my friend Becky in that if I ever need a trustworthy sounding board, if I ever need someone to bounce an idea off of, if I ever need a reality check…I can go to her.
What strikes me about her journal is not that she was able to remain so positive through a harrowing experience. What struck me was the times she despaired, where she nearly lost her positive outlook, and particularly the passages where she is asking Dustin’s friends to come and see him. For someone as strong and cheerful as Sandra to share that vulnerability just floors me. The other striking thing is what a good advocate she was. I wish I had been that strong when my father was in the hospital, and I wonder how she learned so quickly to stand her ground and how to NOT let staff take her faith and hope from her.
I think Sandra’s got a real resource here for families who may be facing similar situations. I think she should be a motivational speaker to families and particularly to DOCTORS and hospital social workers.
Here’s another example of Sandra’s incredibleness: she has a friend in Wisconson whose husband is paying for Sandra to fly up for this friends birthday, because even this husband recognizes that Sandra is the perfect present. Seriously. I’m not making that up. And I totally understand it.
I have been blessed with such a remarkable group of friends. Every time I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by them I am amazed, and every time I learn more about their lives, I am stunned. I don’t know why I was put in this group, and I’m not sure why I’m tolerated there, but there’s much to recommend my margarita sisters.