I’ve thought about this post for a year. I started it May 13th, 2019. Every time I go to write I’ve stopped.
One year ago today, I was coaching my beloved 6pm “Tuesday night crew” when Mom called. I muted her… She was clearly calling to talk to Jax. Then she called again. Pure panic was on the other end of the phone.
“He’s in the desert and no one can find him”
“Wait…what? Mom slow down, calm down, what’s going on?”
“Trevor crashed in the desert and they can’t find him! He can’t feel from his nipples down!”
I knew it wasn’t good… But my Mom’s a Mom.. a super caring one. I wasn’t sure the REAL extent of what she was talking about. Then Jare called… So I switched over to him, I said “did they call you?” Jare said hold on- he had Trev on the other line. It then became a three way call with Jare myself and Trev.
He was laying somewhere in the desert, no feeling below the chest, waiting on a chopper that couldn’t find him.
Between cries and whines, “I’m fucked” was his line. He was calling to tell us he was hurt, and sending his love to our little family.
I packed up and headed home as soon as I could. I knew that I was most likely getting on a plane. When I got home Jared was standing in the kitchen of the house we just built- it was our 5th? night there. Jared looked at me with a sincere kind of smirk.
“He’s going to be okay.”
I cried in his arms while he assured me of God’s plan. I agreed, but it didn’t make it any less sad. We waited to hear from Dad with the medical report. The report confirmed our fears. I booked the flight we already had picked out for the morning.
I’ve always been protective of Trev. But not like this. I knew right away that my family needed me. Maybe more so than Trev: Mom and Dad. Let’s face it; Trevs physical abilities have shone bright throughout Trevor’s entire life for my Mom and Dad. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I knew that this was going to be a rough transition of life for all three of them.
I knew, without a doubt, that he was in fact okay, and that most likely with the proper support, this could actually turn into the best thing that ever happend to him. But I knew the support of myself and a few close friends wasn’t going to cut it though. Before publically announcing that Trevor was paralyzed, I sent the medical report to our dear friend to confirm that what the report said..indeed meant he was paralyzed. Once she confirmed “it wasn’t good”, I spent the entire trip out to CA, creating a GoFundMe account for him. When I landed I shared it everywhere I knew how to. My phone never stopped going off. I had people I hadn’t talked to since I was a child contacting me. And..People I didn’t even know.
The whole trip felt numb. It was like everything was on mute. It went so fast. I never once got off my phone, doing all I could to help, and respond to peoples messages.
I took my first ever Uber from John Wayne Airport to the hospital. It was a 60? 90? minute drive and I don’t remember any of it- other than designing a shirt to be used as another fundraising tool. When I got to the hospital I remember going into the ICU, Dad was there, I walked around the bed, and kissed Trevs forehead.
In the first few hours, I helped feed him some yogurt. I remember him telling me groggily “you’ve gotten pretty good at this between taking care of Gram and Jax” …Trev doesn’t make you feel special very often..So I took it and ran with it.
My mom had just flown home to MA from CA just a day or so before the accident. She then booked a flight back to CA as soon as she could. I can’t remember when she showed up, but I made sure to go with Dad to pick her up. She was a wreck. I didn’t want her rushing into the room with Trev and loosing it, the last thing he needed was to see the sadness of everyone else. He needed positivity.
Trev was in a great deal of discomfort, and was scheduled for surgery to stabilize his spine on the the 1st. Mom and Dad (Dad more-so) was fixated on knowing whether the spinal cord was “severed” or not. Basically is his chances of walking 0- or does he have something to work with. I believe they (Mom and Dad) thought that the surgery was going to “fix” him.
I don’t blame them.
1. God “fixes” things every day.
2. He’s their baby, I get it.
To me, it didn’t matter. I was looking at the situation from the big picture.
- He’s alive. How incredible is that!!??
- He has the use of his arms! (His injury was high on the spine.)
- He’s going to become a better person because of this.
- He’s going to do incredible things.
- My Hope was that he would find his own version of faith. (Peacefulness)
- Legs or not. He’s still Trevor. My brother.
I remember many hospital hall way cries on the phone with Jared and our dear friend, Lisa. Hidden from Mom and Dad. I didn’t want them to see my sadness.. I felt like I was, and needed to be, the glue holding them up. I still knew he was okay… but I was still sad for him.
The surgery was long, longer than they expected. Dad Mom and I left the hospital and got some food. At one point we pulled into a gas station and were parked.. I can’t remember what we were doing, but we all were on our phones… Not one of them stopped ringing. Then we all just stopped and looked at each other with an amazingly overwhelming sense of gratitude for the love and help that was pouring in. All over the place. People organizing events, donating to the GoFundMe, reaching out, helping at home, ect. It was an astronomical amount of support. Unbelievable. The GoFundMe account had raised a significant amount in a very short period of time. (At the end of it, there were 550 contributors and $58k raised.)
The first was also my birthday. There was an event going on at the gym that day. My phone rang, it was my sister-in-law. She turned the phone around and 60+ people sang me happy birthday over FaceTime from the gym. I was a mess of uncontrollable sobs sitting in the waiting room with Mom. I was so grateful for their call.
When he was getting stitched up, the surgeon came out to talk to us. Mom and Dad were still trying to get the “truth” out of him. How bad was it? The docs don’t like to say, nor will they tell you it’s severed. He said: “it’s bad, really bad. It’s mush.” Mom lost it. It was not what they were hoping to hear. (Prior to this, a nurse pulled me aside and told me the extent of the injury. Now whether it was, is, or isn’t, [severed] it doesn’t matter. The fact was that he wasn’t walking out of the hospital, and isn’t going to walk tomorrow. I knew, and know, that it’s possible..and NOW the way that he’s going today, that he will someday hold his own body up again.
At one point I was looking at flights home. By this time there were enough people there that I felt like I could go. Even though he was just out of surgery, and super groggy..Another moment I’ll hold dearly is when he kept telling me “that’s the worst news I’ve heard all day” about me leaving. It was SO much harder than I thought it would be to leave. I felt like I was abandoning him. But I had a family and business at home that needed me too.
Then on the way home…a song came on that I’ve never heard before. As I’ve written about before:
Just be Held by Casting Crowns- I was sitting on an airplane, crying, heading home from seeing my brother, laying helpless (paralyzed) in a hospital bed, when this song came on Spotify. Unbelievable timing. I was immediately connected probably more than any other song I’ve ever heard. Not only did this song articulate to a T the message I wanted so badly to express to Trev, but it also holds true for life in general. You are always taken care of. Just simply be held. Your path is already paved…But I didn’t know this until Jared’s second accident, (which is a whole other blog in itself.)
When I got back to the gym, everyone was super supportive. The day after I got home, I walked into my bedroom and there on our bed was a wedding dress, and Jared on one knee- again. He had my ring- (that I left in MA weeks prior to get worked on) and a custom wedding band to match. He then explained to me that over the last three months he planned our wedding and honeymoon. It was planned for the following Saturday. WHAT!? This just crumbled me. I knew how much this meant to him, but I just couldn’t do it without my family. He was crushed, but completely understood. Then we had to make a decision: go on the “honeymoon” or not. We couldn’t get the money back, but I was feeling super guilty about going on vacation during such a time. We did end up going, It was really hard for me to get my mind off of what was happening in CA, but at the end of it, it was the best trip Jared and I have ever taken together. We joked and called it our “test run honeymoon”.
The next Friday we had another event at the gym. I started my workout to the song I heard on the plane on the way home. I sang the whole time, and somehow didn’t feel any of the discomfort that comes with what we do. I was moving because Trev couldn’t. He no longer had the opportunity to feel that discomfort. Despite lack of training, food, and recovery, It was by far my best performance I’ve ever done. Of the 60+ people there screaming and cheering, I didn’t hear anyone. I just moved. I’ll also never forget that night, the workout, and the significance of it.
A little while later, Jared flew out to help Trev and Dad in the transition from the rehab facility to our house in CA. It was a rough transition, as nothing was set up for someone in a chair. I remember Jare calling me and saying “I have no idea how Dad is going to take care of him when I leave”. They did all they could to make things easy, it was rough for all three of them to learn what he could and couldn’t do outside of a facility that was set up for SCI. Jare wanted to help, but he needed to be home too. He stayed for 9 days then flew home.
We had a benefit planned for April 20th, and Trev wanted to be there, so he decided to fly home the day before. He showed up and surprised everyone at the benefit, and we raised around $20k that day. There was an entire committee of people that organized it. They did so much work to get that thing to what it was. So grateful for their love and commitment to make it happen. Such great people.
That’s the bulk of “the story”.. but the actual truth of it all, and what I learned above everything is;
I have an undeniable love for my brother.
Probably too much..for how much of an asshole he is.
Trev and I used to be close, I followed him EVERYWHERE when we were kids. And then…girls happend. 🙄 I’m not really sure if it was because I was protective, or because I was jealous of the attention they got over me… But either way.. I then became the asshole to every girl he ever dated. Because of that, it distanced us for quite some time- like for 15 years or so. I continue to play that part of asshole sister..except now I know I’m just protective.
Since his accident one year ago, I talk to him at least once a week. It’s something I now cherish.
Also, something I must not forget to mention, is how proud of him I am. Throughout this past year everyone kept saying “he’s never been one to give up” … I call BS. That’s not true. (Sorry, I’m here to be honest.) He was always good at everything and didn’t really have to work at much. I’ve seen him quit and have an excuse many of times- particularly racing (esp when Jared would beat him…those were never happy rides home from the races.) Any-how… I was happy that he was optimistic.. but I was waiting for that to end once all the chaos faded and he was back to “real” life. To my pleasant surprise, that has not been the case. I’m extremely happy for him to have found hard work, positivity, and dedication. The use of his legs will not just show up for him. He gets the opportunity to work for it, and he’s taking full advantage of that opportunity. (Life!) I have more determination and work ethic than he does.. but I don’t know that I would be as strong as he is if the roles were reversed.
- He has gotten himself back in the position to be able to do what he loves again. It’s not two wheels (for now), but he’s able to go fast and have a good time in his new (fully custom) ride. (And i’m sure he now know’s EVERYTHING there is to know about those four wheels.) It makes me happy to see that he has something he can look forward to doing again.
- He is stepping up to help others in similar situations… He asked last month to be appointed to the town’s newly established Disability Commission.
- He has some pretty awesome ideas to get others back into an action sport after SC injury that he wants to pursue.
- He’s working with people at Berkshire Health Systems on a possible plan to regularly speak to staff and patients about his experience and rehabilitation.
- And he has a “rough” business plan sketched out to improve rehab equipment that is subpar and isn’t always covered by insurance or takes months for approval.
I believe that things are just getting started for Trev, his path is already paved, and I’m excited to see where it goes.
As for me, I think I’ve said it all above. But one last thing..
I am eternally grateful for the gift of life that was provided for him on this day, one year ago. In so many ways.
I love you, brother. 🖤
2 thoughts on “Paralyzed”
I was one of the people that sang happy birthday to you that day. It meant so much to us to give you something in the middle of a crisis. I also want you to know that you and Jared are part of my recovery from exploding my ankle 11 years ago — and you are both stubborn about pushing me. I can’t imagine how much you’ll push Trevor. I’m sure he’ll brag about you for years, and love you for your stubbornness.. –Marianne