On December 20, 1979 I kissed my wife and two little daughters goodbye and walked across my newly frozen lawn to climb into my burgundy colored Dodge dart. Little did I know those would be the last few steps I would ever take. Two hours later my car was crushed by a tire that broke off a tractor-trailer and I was a quadriplegic.
The accident was about 75 miles from my home in South Jersey and all I remember is that when someone arrived at the car I said “call everybody I know and tell them to get here right away”. That’s all I remember for the next 48 hours. But somehow in my shock and delirium, I knew I needed the loving care of others in order to survive this nightmare. Then again, we all need the loving care of others to survive whatever adversity we face in life.
So this year on December 20, when I celebrate 37 years of living, I reflect back on how the loving care of others has not only helped me survive, it has given me my reason for living.
If I hadn’t been held when I felt weak, I wouldn’t have made it. If I wasn’t loved when I felt unlovable, I wouldn’t have made it. If I didn’t experience the compassion of others when I suffered, I would have died of loneliness. And if I didn’t have the honor of loving all of the people I love, I wouldn’t have the quality of life I’ve had for all of these years.
If I didn’t have my family, biological and otherwise, to love and care for, my life wouldn’t have meaning.
“Call everybody I know to come here right away.” And they came. And I lived. And I loved.
There are no words to express my gratitude for you, only tears of gratitude