For Those Who Know The Significance Of Today

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Today marks the 20 year anniversary of that horrible crash which took my sight and nearly took my life.

Dates are curious things. We celebrate wedding anniversaries and birthdays and holidays. Those who’ve lost a loved one, especially a child, have that date as ingrained in their memory as that person’s birth date. And, I’m no different. I’ll never forget that October 9, 1993, was my last day of normalcy. I’ll never forget how, just a few minutes before midnight, there would never again be life as I’d known it earlier that day.

Every year sometime in late September, the knowledge that October 9 is not far off starts to itch at the back of my consciousness. I don’t dread it, it’s just there.

Twenty years is no different than 19 which is no different from one which is no different than 50. But yet, it does, I admit, feel a bit different this year. Again, there’s no dread, it’s a date just like any other year in the grand scheme of things. And, I get to do what I love this year…

Today, I’ll be presenting in front of about 700 high school students at a conference in Missouri. Yes, Missouri. And wanna know the interesting and weird synchronicity of also being in MO on the anniversary of the crash? Our rental car is a Toyota Corolla, the exact make and model I was in when the crash occurred two decades ago. When the attendant at Hertz said “Toyota Corolla”, I thought about asking for a different car. Then….nah, screw it. I don’t mind tempting fate.

After the keynote, we’re going to rush to St. Louis to fly to Vegas. You may be saying, “Great! You’re going to have some fun to recognize the anniversary!” Well, sorta. I speak for a health care conference on Friday morning and, logistically, this just works out best. But, yes, once we arrive in Vegas, I’ll toast to the date with a fine libation.

I do not mourn my blindness. I don’t pine for the life I had before. My life now kicks ass. Period. So, when this date rolls around, it’s just the chance to intentionally remember, ponder and, mainly, to be thankful for the incredible life I live. It could have been so, so different.

And if you’ve walked this journey with me since 1993, thank you. That’s all I can really say…thank you.

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  • Kelsy Merideth

    I can not begin to understand what you go through each day, but I must thank you for your amazing keynote speech I had the pleasure of attending in Las Vegas. As a Missouri native, my colleagues, my students and myself were touched by your story. I purchased your books and plan on implementing the three of them into my courses in order for my students, future health care professionals, to understand the impact they can have on their patients. I can not thank you enough for sharing your experience and story and I look forward to hopefully having you come speak to additional students in the future. You are a blessing!

  • Patrice Thomas

    Hi I was wondering what happened to the other people that were in the car with you? your story is amazing to me as a nurse. I love your book and plan to use it as gift to nurses.

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