Thursday, June 21, 2012

This Little Community of OURS

I am home.

Home.  Where my husband lives, and my bed is, and my spot on the edge of the couch is warm again, and covered in Puggle hair.

I love it here.

I have been traveling a lot for work lately.  In the last 2 weeks I have been to Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Virginia Beach and New York.  Next week I will be going to Dallas for a couple of days.

It has been GREAT. We are getting a lot of good stories done and I am having the time of my life.  I miss my husband like nobody's business, but you knew that already, right?

What I am so thankful for is all of Y'ALL. Do you guys get that?  When I started pouring my heart out on this blog, it was to vent. Free therapy, I like to say.  Writing makes me feel better. People's encouraging comments and prayers propel us to keep going, and to stay positive.

But over the last year, something amazing has happened.

We have become a community of our own.  One of the best things about traveling for my job (and even on our recent vacation) is I can almost always find one of you to connect with.

In Nashville, Michael and I met Katie and Bryce - we stayed with them.  We had only read about each other online, and exchanged e-mails, and we stayed in their guest room, and enjoyed dinner and live music out in Nashville with them and Katie was the best hostess ever, sending us off with a homemade biscuit breakfast, and chocolate to go!

Katie and I could not possibly have more in common, I don't think. We even have the same dishes, I mean, come on!  Her husband, Bryce, is also a quadriplegic - similar to Michael - and they are alike in many ways, too.  We had a blast with them.

Last week, when I was in Salt Lake City for work, Jason and Kolette came and picked me up at my hotel and treated me to dinner!  I think we were there for like four hours talking! It felt like we had already known each other for years. Jason is a quad too, and they have been married for almost 20 years!
We talked about all of the stuff you're technically never supposed to talk about over dinner - religion, politics, going to the bathroom, and making babies.  And in the end, we were even closer than ever! Hahaha.  That's usually how these meetings go.  Jason and Kolette were some of the first people I met online when I was searching around for information about Spinal Cord Injuries and marriage.  They both have blogs, and I soaked both of theirs in, and they have both been a great resource for me.  So thankful for them!

And last night, in New York City, I had dinner at Applebees with Lina.  Lina is another friend I have made over the last year because of the blog, and our connection on Facebook. Her fiance', Leon, is a paraplegic as of about three years ago.  It was so nice to sit and talk about all of this stuff together, that so many other people may try to understand - but bless their hearts, just don't really get.

I can't even begin to express to you guys what this community means to me!  There have been numerous other people and couples I have connected with, either visiting here in DC, or throughout my travels covering politics, this is just in the last month or so! And Saturday Michael and I are looking forward to meeting up with Jim and Karen, who live not too far away, in Maryland.

These get togethers, our Facebook connections and the emails that we share with each other are just priceless to me.

I went from feeling SO alone, to having a national network of friends who are there for me, and who I/we can be there for - it is a blessing I didn't see coming, and the number one thing about this blog that I LOVE.

Please, if you follow us and you have a spinal cord injury or other disability, and you want to share this heavy load with us - email us or find us on Facebook. We want to be here for you.  We want to stay in touch.

The icing on the cake is when I see you guys interacting with EACH OTHER.  That's what's really fun!  To know that through each other, we are forming this little network - it makes me almost giddy.  It makes my heart happy.  And I don't think I would mind one bit if this just grows and grows and grows and I end up devoting the second half of my life to it.

I love you guys.


Kristen Maddux said...

Love it. Absolutely love it.
I know this may sound strange, but the very first time I read one of your "therapy" posts :) I just knew this blog would become exactly what you've described.
And I have a feeling it's going to keep on going too. Exciting stuff in your future! God is so, so good. And you all have quite an outreach here.

Cheri said...

This was a great blog Dana! When my husband had his accident we felt like we were the only people out there going through this. Since I have been blogging the friends I have made online have been a great source of comfort and pleasure. God can use any tool to bring people together!

Dana Brown Ritter said...

I love you guys! Or should I say girls? :)