Kristine from Indiana

I've worked for nonprofits much of my adult life, including with families facing challenges around autism and with new parents. However, nothing prepared me for outcomes of the head-on car collision that permanently disabled my husband, over seven years ago. His mental and physical challenges remain the background of our lives, worsened by distance from medical options. We coped--I worked several jobs (U.S. census, dept. store, etc.) and we wore all resources thin. Although days were exhausting past words, we found a certain regularity to our radically changed lives. Then, the next blows: my husband, Thom, recognized serious deficiencies that seemed new--and were exactly that. At our nearby hospital, we found he'd suffered numerous "mini-strokes." Rounds of consults, tests, painful travel followed, along with moment-to-moment accommodations which were nothing like "routine." I help with all his needs, from dressing and ambulation to supervising health procedural choices. He's regained greater speech, social and personal strengths with my support. Trying to imagine how he feels to have choices blunted, I find pockets of patience, tolerance and insight for rebuilding neural connections. It's exhausting! We're not the same people we were before that reckless driver struck his car--and our options for simple fun are slim. Our 35-year "bank" of love has been the greatest resource. For over five years, I've facilitated sessions to help people tell their personal stories, as legacy and as healthy outlet, across five states ("What's Your Story?" Writing Workshops). Connecting with others (even in quick store errands) has battled the isolation I've felt, and participants in my workshops sense an authenticity they trust.

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