(The journal the North Country Chevy Dealers gifted me to celebrate our one year partnership!)
It’s been one year now since I first met the North Country Chevy dealers, who showed up to my physical therapy appointment with the gift of a lifetime: My very own, brand new car.
When I try to think of how to summarize this first a year, a year full of both accomplishments and exciting turns in my life as well as complications and setbacks, there is one memory that keeps coming to mind… it was the very first time I drove my new car home alone. It was such a quick drive, and such a quick memory, that it surprises me how much it still stands out to me. I had finished my driving lessons and learned the unfamiliar skill of using hand controls, all while working hard in physical therapy every single day. So not only could I finally drive outside of a lesson on that day, but I was able to grab my crutches, and walk out of the door, and into my car on my own. Something that I had been told I might never be able to do again. In this five minute drive, I rolled the windows down, put my sunglasses on, and turned the radio up. And for just a moment, I completely forgot about my injuries, and I felt like the same person I had always been. I felt completely and totally back to myself again – a feeling I had lost for so long.
I think the reason that this is the memory that stands out so much, is because I have grown use to the medical appointments, the surgeries, the recoveries, the work I have to put in to physical therapy, and since that day I have finally allowed myself to focus on simply having a life outside of this as well. When I had first met this group of Chevy dealers, I had still been in a place where I thought that all I was allowed to focus on was my physical recovery, and if I let myself stop to do something simply to relax or to have fun, that it was a waste of time, and that I couldn’t afford to do that anymore. That brief moment of indepence and feeling carefree again, was when I was finally able to decide that I was allowed to do more than simply live, and that I could once again have a life of my own.
Now I drive to Boston, not only for medical appointments, but sometimes just to visit, or to stay an extra night in a nice hotel. I drove myself to my college campus, where I took my final test, and earned a college degree. I’ve driven myself to Burlington, where I met up with my family, and went skiing all day long, just for fun. I’ve been able to pick my sister up, and drive us to go shopping, or to spend a day together and finally feel just like sisters doing normal things together again. I’ve picked friends up from airports, and drove us around Vermont, showing them our very best restaurants. I’ve driven from town to town, as I shared my story to crowded rooms, and found a new and exciting possible path for myself. I’ve been able to stay in touch with friends, to spend long car rides with my family, and to meet so many new people. I have watched as my life, and my world expanded more than I ever knew it could.
This freedom and this new independance didn’t change what had happened to me or help my injuries to heal any quicker, but what it has done is it has given me a life back. It has allowed me to feel good enough and strong enough to actually go out and live it. Which gives me even more motivation, to work hard, and to get stronger and better, so that I can do this all a little bit easier. It’s shown me all the reminders of what is so good about this life, and why working this hard every day, has been so worth it. The North Country Chevy dealers didn’t just give me a car (which believe me, would have been enough on its own), but they gave me back a sense of myself, and they gave me back a way to live my life.
#StefFindsNewRoads #StefStrong #NorthCountryChevyDealers
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