I hardly know where to begin. The first words that come to mind are amazing, mesmorizing, and unbelievable. My trip this summer has been incredible in so many ways it would be difficult to pinpoint a favorite moment. They are all my favorites, and there are just too many to list. I guess one of the highlights would be our visit to Niagara Falls. I've never seen such beauty! It's absolutely magical. But, aside from all the things I've seen, there is one thing I've done that I will never forget, and it has changed me into an entirely different person: I left my chair behind and never once missed it.
The thought of being without wheels was not something I warmed up to in the past. In fact, it scared me half to death. Somewhere along the way I had lost faith in myself and my inner strength, so the idea that I could actually do what I've just done seemed impossible. Considering I'm a firm believer in "anything's possible", I was a rolling contradiction of myself. I could often imagine being strong and making the walking thing happen for myself, but the action just wasn't there. Until now.
Throwing myself into this trip was the best thing I could have ever done.
In large part, I have my father to thank. He has been tough on me all my life, but only with my best interests at heart. "Get up, rub some dirt on it, and get back in there!", he says. In other words: get off your ass and try! His not-so-gentle coaxing forced me to toughen up and begin my journey back to me. A journey long overdue. So, for that, thanks old man, you're my hero.
I certainly must also say a big heartfelt thank you to my mother. The world would be a terrible place without mothers like you. You have always had my back, and been right by my side. You're my best friend, and the person I know I can tell anything to, and someday you and I are going to walk on the beach together and think back to the days when I couldn't. The days I laid in that hospital bed calling out for my mommy because I could no longer breathe and figured I was dying. You rock! Sorry I was 10 pounds when I was born and gave you a hernia! :)
There are of course many others in my life who have contributed a great deal to my road to recovery, and I want to just send out a huge thanks to all of you. You know who you are, and what you've done, and I am forever grateful. Rome was not built in a day, nor was it built by just one person! From the biggest of gestures to the smallest encouragements, it has all culminated in my finding myself again and realizing I can do anything I set my mind to. I am truly blessed to have so many people care about me and want me to succeed.
I still have a long, hard road ahead of me, but I'm looking forward to it. Bring it on!
As I write this I am sitting in a lake cabin in New Hampshire enjoying the wind rustling through the trees, and the cool breeze with the scent of burning wood coming through the windows. I could stay here forever, but real life must resume eventually.
When I get home, I am donating my chairs to someone else who actually needs them and taking the next crucial step in returning to me.