life, changed

30 Nov

A month’s reflections:

This month, our lives have changed in more ways than I can really even fathom at this moment.

One person’s life, in particular is never going to be the same.

My brother Cody.

October 30th, 3 am. Things changed in a way that I could never have imagined for this person. Being driven home from a party from a good friend, a drunk driver ran a red light straight into the small pickup truck that my brother was a passenger in, t-boneing the car and braking my brothers neck.

Within four hours he was in surgery.

Within five hours we were being told that it is likely that he  may not breath on his own ever again. He will never walk again. He will be quadriplegic.

Within seconds, everything that he once knew was taken away. Without a say, without him being at fault.

At first I didn’t hear the negative. I heard the part about “the small chance he may get movement back.” But slowly the negative thoughts sink into your brain as you see him laying there, completely motionless, not able to even move the build-up of saliva out of his throat.


The smallest of improvements, things that we take for granted every day, become the most joy-filled experiences we have had all month. Something as simple as being able to cough mucus out of his throat. A day without unbearable pain. Or being able to breathe without any assistance, on his own. Something so simple that none of us probably even think about once throughout the day. When everything is taken away, that is when you notice how much you need it.

Priorities change. It was torture to go to work and hear complaints of people around me. I wanted so bad to scream, “Your problem is so minimal! Move on! My brother can’t even breathe on his own, let alone move a finger! Be thankful for how SMALL your issue is!!” We didn’t care what that lady was saying about Herman Cain or what Lady Gaga was wearing. I just wanted someone to care; to reach out, and recognize the tragedy of this. The complete un-fairness of itall.

Some people I thought for sure who would be by our side and rush to our aide, failed. Yet people who we literally have never and may never meet provided us with a donation that normally compared to a mortgage payment was minimal or something as small as a prayer sent from across the world, but in this case has meant the world and more to us. Friends and family that we have not seen or heard from for years stepped us and heard our hearts.

Thank you.

I look at people in wheelchairs completely differently now. Sadly, mostly because my own fear that myself or one of my loved ones may end up in one, I felt uncomfortable around people with disabilities. After this month, I feel a connection on another level with these people and their care takers. Unfortunately such a life-changing occurrence had to happen for me to get over my insecurities, but you just can’t go through this and not be changed.

But out of this tragedy, this pain, something else has happened. A boy has become a man. A hero. An inspiration. A person who I thought I knew has shown me his real colors; a strength that I just don’t think I would have if the roles were reversed. A person who has given me hope when there might be none. Who has made me laugh when he had every right to shut down and not say a word. A family once divided now is brought together by something so much bigger with such large ramifications. Strength and hope. This man has changed and has changed me forever.

This road is a long one. With only a month into this new life, things have happened that were practically promised to us that never would. Many tears have dropped. We have been broken down, built back up, only to be broken down again. But he has changed. We have changed. And I thank the Lord that he is still here. Here to enrich our lives because he is so special. So unbelievably special.



One Response to “life, changed”

  1. Holly November 30, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    kaleigh! my thoughts, prayers and love are sent to your brother! i cannot even imagine something like this happening, and i am truly in awe of how you see the human spirit rise amongst the tragedy. much love, holly

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