I’ve told myself that ‘it is a happy day’ so many times today that I’m actually starting to believe it. It is always amazing to me what the power of positive thinking can achieve. Want to be miserable — well, that’s easy … focus on misery. Want to be joyous? Find the joy — even if it takes all of the strength you can muster. I preach mind over matter all day long but it’s always easier said than done.
It’s been three years since I received that life altering phone call from my step-mom (Judy) about my dad’s catastrophic ski accident. Three years. But the memories are so vivid that when they hit me, I start to feel like I’m reliving the experience. It’s like a flash bulb memory — I can picture all the details of where I am in my house and all the emotions flood back into me and literally — they hit me like a brick.
I remember feeding Tyler in the middle of the night and checking my phone and seeing a missed call and then debating whether or not to return the phone call. I remember not actually understanding how bad things really were until I walked in that hospital room the next day. I still remember that one doctor that I wanted to punch in the face when he basically called me an idiot for not understanding how life-threatening my dads injuries were (and ironically enough, six weeks later, I loved him). I remember being the former paramedic that drove the doctors and nurses crazy with my nonstop questions. I remember my brother reminding me to eat and making sure I was staying alive. I remember that I couldn’t handle phone calls so I finally learned how to text (shocking to some now, I’m sure). I remember just crying on the phone with friends on the other end just listening to me cry. I remember giving up on my contacts and walking around the hospital looking like the walking dead in my glasses. I remember my daily journal where I kept family and friends informed. Writing everything down was so cathartic. I’d be scared to go back and read those posts now — especially since most were written while I was breaking down in tears.
There were good things, too. Family bonding. I have never loved the Schmid family so much as I did from that point forward. His siblings and cousins and second cousins and first cousins once removed. They took care of Tyler so I could sit with dad in the surgical ICU. They made sure Judy, my brother and I were eating and getting out of the hospital, too. I remember waking to beautiful sunrises and walking around a gorgeous lake with my brother. I remember laughing from time to time, too. My family is pretty darn funny. I remember the love and kindness from my friends. And Tyler, well, he learned how to walk in the waiting room of the hospital. Who doesn’t love that kind of memory?!
I got a text right around eight this morning about how Judy experiences them, too — the memories. But she reminded me that today is a happy day. And my dad reminded me with his facebook update about how he was celebrating this day. It’s a good day. I finally believe it. Against all odds, my dad is living proof that ‘mind over matter’ works. Doctors told him he would never walk again — and not only does he walk faster than I do — he walked a 10K last year. He may not ever ski with us again — but our ski trips are so much more than just hitting the slopes. They are sharing family meals, and lots of wine and family games. They are long conversations about anything and everything and we are making memories that I will forever cherish because he’s here with us. I miss him on the slopes — of course, I do. He taught me everything I know about skiing — but I’m so beyond thankful that he chose to live. And I firmly believe he didn’t just do it for himself. He did it for us all. He’s a Schmid — a determined, positive, amazing man and I’m so very proud to call him my dad.