Monday, June 4, 2012

Up, Up, Up, It's a Great Day for Up!

“Up, Up, Up, It’s a Great Day for Up!”

When I wake up in the morning, I love to look out the window and admire the glowing life of all of my plants and flowers. Somehow by just looking at them, they make me feel very alive. Occasionally, I find myself enjoying them so much that I may feel a little saddened prematurely knowing that too soon the beautiful blooms will fade. It all seems to happen entirely too fast.

As a Mom, when my son was younger, I sometimes found myself feeling the same as I would watch him at night while he was sleeping in his bed. It was almost as if I could actually see him growing. That time too, went entirely too fast. (He is now 24.) Regardless of the passing of time and the occasional sadness in my life, I still find myself almost daily quoting Dr. Seuss in his book, Great Day for Up! “Up, up, up! It’s a great day for up!”

The amount of time that I spend in my garden may actually surprise many. Some people may think that I’m a little strange for spending so much time outside. I, on the other hand, think they are odd for never going outside. Although, I do sincerely believe that if I had more property that I would never get any work done on the inside of my house, and I would probably work myself to death outside.

Nothing is more beautiful than a flower bud that is ready to burst open with life! Somehow, and somewhat mysteriously each individual flower bud will unfurl with incredible detail and beauty. You can almost feel the life as it bursts open towards the sun, each flower looking a little different than the other. I don’t think I could ever get an identical photograph of any flower or plant specimen.

I’ve used a wheelchair for the last 28 years of my life. At the time that I broke my neck in an automobile accident in New Hampshire, I never thought about death. I was 22, and at the beginning of my independent life as an adult. Life was really good. The only time that I vaguely thought about the possibility of death was when I had to sign a statement declaring that I realized the possibility of never waking up from the anesthesia the hospital gave to me before undergoing a spinal fusion of my cervical vertebrae at C 5/6.

Few people know that plants were important to me then as well. While I was in the hospital, I received a note and special concoction of three homeopathic medicines. The author, J.D. Salinger sent the medicine via my ex-brother in-law. Although, I never met the writer, he had a home in Cornish, New Hampshire, and was very much into alternative medicine. He lived to be 91. At the time of my injury, I was willing to try anything conventional or not. My doctors were aware of this as well.

My injury was incomplete, which means that I regained movement and sensation throughout my body. Initially, I was paralyzed from the neck down. Whether or not there was any effect from the homeopathy, prayer, or if it was entirely a result of traditional medicine and surgery, I’ll never know. At the time, I was open to any available option.

Plants are not just intriguing in appearance, but in their use as well. Few people realize that aspirin was derived originally from a plant. Many plants, fresh fruits and vegetables have remarkable health benefits, and we are constantly making new medicinal discoveries from them. This is an area of study that truly fascinates me, especially the gardener in me.

“Life is a Gift”, in some way or form, whether it is known to us or not. Plant life is a gift too. When I wake up in the morning, I try to keep this all in mind. Although, I may not wiggle and waggle with quite as much excitement as my rescue puppy Jodi does when I let her out of her crate, I try to appreciate it all.

It wasn’t until I had celebrated the 25 year anniversary of my accident (most SCI do celebrate this and every year after onset of any paralysis) that I realized that the average life expectancy after a cervical spinal cord injury was 20 years. Knowing that I have reached a comfortable place in my life, I am able to work at what I enjoy. The old saying that “life is short” certainly applies. We have no idea what is in store for us next, especially when we feel our happiest. That’s how my life seems to unfold anyway.

Regardless, we have to enjoy what we have now or otherwise we would constantly feel depressed about the next tragic event that is just waiting to occur in our lives. Like a flower, we need to enjoy every stage of our lives. I’ve raised an awesome son, and hopefully, someday in the very distant future, I’ll have a few grandchildren to spoil too.

Like a puppy, we all need to wiggle and waggle more. Enjoy the beauty of the here and now, and appreciate all that is fabulous! As a new flower bursts with life, we should learn to appreciate what is really important in life. We should take the time to really see the true beauty as it unfolds before us.

Note: I recently LinkedIn professionally with another blogger, Bill Tipton who writes on issues with life with a visual disability, Dialogue with Bill is a beautifully written blog. He in his writing introduced me to a very inspiring musician, Justin Hines. His life story, video and positive attitude are absolutely refreshing. Enjoy!
Link to life story: Link to Video:


  1. Life IS a gift...use it or lose it!! Excellent blog!!

  2. Very very inspirational, sis! Nicely done!

  3. Brenda, this blog today really touched me in very special ways. I admire you even more. As a person with a bad spine myself, I realize some of the complications you endure. Instead of giving in, you have given. Your garden is beautiful, and I enjoy each and every topic you discuss, and the great wisdom you impart to us. Thanks for how you are helping inspire others. Debbie Hayes