Words Of Wisdom, Love And Faith From A Friend Too Blessed To Call Herself Handicapped
When I got up this morning to start preparing for my day, I noticed a status update on Facebook from a friend of mine who is too blessed to consider herself ‘handicapped’.
Jessica Lormand is her name, though I call her Jess. I met Jess too many years ago to remember, but I do know that she is one of the brightest rays of sunshine around.
I contacted Jessica (we communicate through Facebook Messenger, mostly), and asked her if I could post her status to our website. She agreed, and asked me to “clean it up” for her a little, as she must use a voice-to-text program to “type”, and it doesn’t always understand her Cajun accent (that’s our joke!). This is the status that she posted this morning:
Note: this is long, but for a good reason.
It's August 25, 2015: you might be thinking “what's the big deal about today?” Most if not all of my family knows the significance of today's date: 34 years ago today my life was changed - before it even started. For those who I just met, or maybe haven’t heard the story, here it is.
From what I understand it was a typical day. My Aunt Sue needed a ride, so my mom (Carolyn) and sister Jamie were together with my Aunt Sue. My mom was 6 1/2 months pregnant with me. They were in Lafayette when a Mayflower moving van the size of a small U-Haul hit the car. I've seen pictures of the car: it wasn't pretty. The front end looked a soda can after it's been crushed.
My mom suffered a broken hip and a shattered kneecap; my sister had a broken leg and a big cut on her forehead that needed stitches. God was protecting all of us that day!
I came along about a week later, on September 2, 1981. I wasn't even delivered by a doctor, as he was too late; I had to be delivered by a nurse. I was 2 1/2 months premature, weighing 2 lbs. 12 oz. With both of my lungs collapsed, I had to spend six weeks in NICU at Lafayette General Medical Center. The doctors didn't expect me to survive, but this I know: God had other plans for me. He wasn't done with me yet.
Soon, I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, which is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain before, during or after birth.
Now that you know my story, I have to share this: I hear little jokes all the time. “Man, I could use your wheelchair. Get out and let me ride.” Or just a simple “I wish I had a wheelchair”. I know that they are just jokes to break the ice, so I laugh. But honestly, sometimes I think “can I have your body, so I can walk”? – but then I think about it, and realize how blessed I am, right here in this wheelchair.
Do you ever play that game where someone asks the question “what would you change about your life”? I know what you're thinking, that I’d probably want to change the fact that I can’t walk. Well, I’ll tell you this: I don't know if I would want to mess with the life God created for me. Don't be so quick to say "well you could change the fact that you can't walk". God chose to let me live: I would not trade my life for anything. Not even for a day of walking because the accident could have turned out much worse than it was. I am so grateful that we all survived the accident. That's why I wouldn't change a thing, because of that one important fact that we all get to live to share our story. Yes, sometimes I wish I had a normal life. A job, a marriage, kids. It’s not often, but sometimes I have to remind myself that I am so blessed with what I do have. My family, my friends, my church family at Crossroads Church . Thank you God for giving me what I do have over the course of my life. Thank you for protecting us on August 25, 1981. Thank you for continuing to provide for us. — feeling blessed.
Yes, she ended her post with "feeling blessed". Because, deep down in her heart, she knows that she is blessed.
After I told Jess that I was going to post this to the KTDY website and Facebook page, she sent me this message to add to the end of the story:
Thank you all for taking the time to read and show your support. I was asked by my friend John” JayCee” Falcon if he could share my story on the radio stations website. Of course I said yes: not for the recognition, though. It’s because I frequently hear people saying “I wish I could change this, I wish I could change that”.
We shouldn’t think about what could have been if things were different, as your life can change dramatically even if one little detail is changed.
I started my school career at three years old at Alice Boucher elementary in special education classes. I left after third grade and continued my schooling at Sunset Elementary. I then went on to high school at Beau Chene. My time at Alice Boucher was unforgettable. I wish the school went up to eighth grade. The staff back then was awesome! When I started at Sunset and Beau Chene I started taking regular classes. By the time I got to high school, I was involved in regular classes all day long. Honestly, it was like being thrown in to ice cold water. By the grace of God I was able to graduate by the time I was 20.
I love telling my story just to remind people that, even though I am physically disabled, I do the same things other people do: I went to school, I got my high school diploma, I go to the movies, I go to dinner, I go to church. I have my own thoughts and feelings, and family and friends who care about me. Thank you for allowing me to tell my story to a wider audience.
You are welcome, Jess. Thank YOU for being such an inspiration!