For the first twenty-four years of my life, I didn’t really have a lot to complain about. Which doesn’t mean I didn’t complain, but in hindsight, I really had it good! I grew up in a happy home with two loving, smart parents and two siblings whom I count as best friends. I have a huge extended family (the majority live within a block of my parents) and my childhood was full of eating barbeque and playing corkball in my grandparents’ front yard.
As hard as it was to leave the family compound, I did manage so I could attend Vanderbilt University. At Vandy I majored in English and minored in History, but more importantly, met Findley, my husband of eight years. If falling in love is a choice, then falling in love with and marrying Findley is the best choice I will ever make. Through all we have been through, the twinkle in his eyes has not disappeared. He has never lost sight of hope. And he always knows when to come home from work with chips and salsa and Corona.
Our daughter Virginia was born on October 3, 2003, and due to gross medical negligence, she has severe cerebral palsy. The is no way to describe the vast difference in my life before and after that day. I was introduced to a world of suffering I never knew existed. Every minute became soaked with tears of anger and fear. I never thought our family could experience a moment of happiness again.
But I was wrong.
Yes, there is a lot in this blog that is about the pain of what my daughter Virginia has been through and how our family is still reeling from what happened to her. But I want to make sure that I am not defined by the events of her delivery. That my life is not dictated by anger and sorrow. I hope this blog will be the story of how we have tried to seek joy in the midst of great suffering.
I want to make it clear that I am not the chief sufferer. Virginia is. My sorrow comes from watching her pain, but she has to live through things every day that I can’t even imagine. It is her smile that pushes me on. It shows me that I, too, can choose happiness even when sadness seems the more logical choice.
I have always been a writer, but when Virginia was born, our family went into survival mode. There are still days when surviving is the only game plan we can muster, but a lot of healing has taken place in the last six years. I am beginning to find my words again and it feels good. There is a healing aspect to transparency and I appreciate your taking the time to read about our journey.
In addition to Virginia, Findley and I have two other children, Wills and Eliza, who fill our lives with love and have helped force our family back into the world. Obviously there are many people who have suffered in far more profound ways than I have, but I have been in a very dark place. I hope that my story provides proof to others that “sorrow may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” There are still tears, but there is a lot of laughter, too. And somehow, the tears we have shed have caused the laughter to be that much sweeter.