This weekend Dana is attending Allume, a conference for women bloggers. This will be her first blogging conference. She has been following pointers from successful bloggers and writers for building her platform and strategically developing the blog and community around it. But something special has occurred.
Three years ago we were fairly naive as we jumped into life together. For the newbies reading this post, I've been paralyzed since high school. Dana and I kept in touch via email, chat, and video for almost eight years. We visited each other three or four times a year during our courtship --that's the best term I can use to describe it.
Being paralyzed, I need a lot of help. I always had friends and aides to do the stuff I needed. Now I was across the country and Dana was my caregiver. The adjustment was overwhelming. She found herself alone and taking care of everything for the both of us.
In her previous life Dana's world revolved mostly around work and her puggle. I kind of upset that balance.
With so much change and responsibility, we were overwhelmed. Opening up to a wonderful counselor, trusted family and friends, and each other helped us get back on solid ground.
And then Dana began to blog. At first it was about day-to-day stuff like recipes, trips and date nights. Those were fun. But when Dana began opening up about the struggles of being my caregiver and married to a paralyzed man this blog took off. She laghs at how the more raw the post, the more people respond.
Responses from others in our situation trickled in. Some were caregivers to their parents or husbands, some were taking care of a spouse, some were grateful to read someone actually writing the thing they had hidden from everyone else. The more the messages came in, the more we weren't alone. We were an inspiration and encouragement to others. And they encouraged us!
Four years ago I told Dana we could be in ministry together one day. It was an idea, but not real. Now we are doing it. Without launching some big "ministry" our story has become a kind of safe place for others.
Work, me, the puggle all still have very important places in Dana's life, but her heart is also in this blog and all of the wonderful people whose lives are becoming part of our story.