18 August 2012

To Boldly Go Where Everyone Else Has Gone Before


This is my niece, AnneMarie. She likes to wear stylish clothes with just the right jewelry accessories, keep her manicure and pedicure up to date in the latest colors and have a coordinating backpack and purse on her wheelchair. She enjoys music, word games on the internet, texting, emailing, playing cards and shopping. She works out with a personal trainer every week and uses her pool for exercise as well.

She shares a home with her Mom (my sister-in-law) who describes AnneMarie as a fun and interesting companion to live with. With extraordinary generosity she opens her home to family members who drop by at all times of year and, for the last 5 years, hosts our yearly family woman's gathering for all who attend (8 years now and counting). That includes her 2 sisters, 6 cousins, her Mom, of course, and me. Her Mom and I are two are the Crones of the gathering. Add in spouses and children and it's a large and growing group who love time together and time with AnneMarie.




This is the bumper sticker on AnneMarie's van.



Ten years ago AnneMarie was in a car accident on an icy highway and sustained a closed head injury which nearly took her life, left her wheelchair bound with right-sided weakness and spasticity and with speech that's difficult to understand. Nonetheless, AnneMarie's goal is to walk. It's an ambitious goal that has taken all these years of torturous re-learning to sit up, balance on her own while sitting in the wheelchair, strengthen unused and reluctant muscles, stand, balance on her own while standing despite weakness, a brace on her right leg and muscles that forget how to carry out the messages from her brain. She is undaunted by all that and behind her lovely, feminine demeanor hides a steely resolve.

When physical therapists said she had gone as far as possible and dismissed her, she found personal trainers who would support her goal to walk, who would teach her the skills she needed and help strengthen her muscles to enable her to do what she declared in our gathering 2 years ago she would do, to walk. She called it into being and did whatever it has taken to get this far. When my Honey and I together with our daughter and her family visited AnneMarie and her Mom in February, my daughter filmed this (less than 2 minutes) with my camera. (AnneMarie's personal trainer and personal assistant are with her.)


video


Perhaps you can tell how proud I am of AnneMarie. I'm glad she's my niece, glad she's my daughter's cousin, glad she's my grands' auntie. She's my teacher in her fierce resolve to set goals and do all that is humanly possible to meet them, to believe in herself, however broken, and her ability to heal, to believe that she'll find others who can and will help her. No wonder our family wants to be around her. You're my hero, AnneMarie. I honor and celebrate you.


p.s. Don't forget to always leave the handicap parking spaces open and remind others to do so, too - AnneMarie needs them to have access to the world we take for granted.

p.p.s. Thanks to my Honey for his technical support in getting this video upright from its sideways orientation that defied my attempts to right it.

25 comments:

  1. Anne Marie is definitely a determined woman who deserves everything she wants out of life. She is a very determined person, obviously, from that video! Thanks for introducing us, Mary.

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    1. Your welcome. I'm excited about what's she's doing and wanted to share AnneMarie as a personal, particular story behind a disability.

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  2. Glad to meet such a strong-willed, loving and generous woman! She'll definitely walk!

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  3. Anne Marie is beautiful in so many ways. An amazing young woman, an inspiration, and very very fortunate as well in her support from family.

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    1. We do love her. And speaking of beautiful- I forgot to mention her amazing thick, curly red hair!

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  4. Brava to Anne Marie for her courage, determination, and commitment to her goal. Is there any more positive proof that what anyone one else believes "possible" doesn't matter? It's what you believe that counts.

    And brava to you too, Mary, for honoring and celebrating your niece, for she surely deserves it.

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    1. Since our visit in Feb. I've been wanting to share her story. I'm glad I did.

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  5. Anne Marie is an inspiration. Thank you for showing us the face of determination. I love her spirit and her style.

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    1. She has great style! I love that about her.

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  6. Her courage and determination are awesome, and she has great style. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. She shops for nice shoes that will go over her brace for when she's dressed up. You gotta love that!

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  7. She is truly an inspiration. Go Anne Marie Go!!

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    1. I'm pleased to share her and glad you felt inspired.

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  8. Both terrible and wonderful story. Life such a hard teacher; congrats to Anne Marie. k.

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    1. Yes, it breaks our hearts, wide open.

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  9. What a spectacular human being! I wish her continued success!
    May she be blessed, always.
    Hugs, my friend. ~

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    1. What a lovely comment and blessing- from your mouth to God's ears!

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  10. Wow, what a beautiful gal and I applaud her spirit to "boldly go".

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