Sunday, February 16, 2014

Life is filled with a lot of "one liners"

By Monica Vest Wheeler

I've heard and seen enough at Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camps since the summer of 2008 to fill a couple dozen books just about camp and the amazing array of individuals who gather at these unique weekends.

The survivors, caregivers, volunteers and staff who gather at each of these weekend events were brought together for a reason. Executive Director Marylee Nunley often says everyone who is there was meant to be there, and that's why every camp is so different, even if a single theme is followed an entire year. It's all about the people.

I've scribbled countless notes through the years, and I have discovered an abundance of "one liners" within this collection. These are statements or simple observations that have been uttered or written at camps by anyone and have left a powerful impression upon me.

Yes, I'm ALWAYS listening and watching and absorbing. Revisit some of these moments with me …

• A volunteer wipes her eyes, tearful at the conclusion of a camp weekend and looks at the survivors: "My legs hurt, but you take a step forward every day. You’re all my heroes.”

• A survivor announces, "I’m adjusting to the new life.”
Another reminds him, “Don’t regret the old life.”

• One survivor tells another, “One of these days, you’ll get those fingers moving. Sometimes it hurts, but you get used to the pain.”

• A survivor with aphasia writes on a whiteboard, “Where would we be without our mouthpieces (caregivers)?”

• A caregiver says, "I'm reinventing my dream in a new way."

• A survivor says, "My stroke made me stronger. I have a list of things I get to do, even if have to find a new way."

• A survivor reflects, "If I did one step every day, imagine how far I would get in six months."

• A survivor tells her fellow survivors, "Everybody has a choice. God has work for us, so get to it. No time for a pity party. We have a life to live."

• A caregiver says, "He doesn’t know where he’s coming from. I should have had video. I would have shown that to him to show his progress. He doesn’t know the difference."

• A caregiver explains, "I came across people who know how to see through you and read you. It was surprising when I'd find people who 'get it.' Hang onto that to get you through until you meet the next person to carry you through the next step."

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