What I Now Know: Cole Sydnor

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on September 20, 2019 # Relationships, What I Now Know, SCI Awareness

Dear Cole,

Today is going to be hard. Again. Just like yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that. Getting dressed will be a challenge; you’ll need someone to help you. Brushing your teeth will be, too. Even feeding yourself breakfast could be frustrating enough to throw you off for the rest of the day. That is after you waited patiently for someone to prepare it for you while doing your best to ignore the put-upon look on their face.

But these are struggles with which you’re familiar. Eight years of fighting every day has made you stronger, better, and prepared to conquer whatever needs conquering. You know now the skills needed to live a full life despite the constraints of quadriplegia. And armed with those skills, you have. Remember what you have accomplished from your wheelchair. When you would rather stay in bed than have someone come dress you, remember. When you are on the verge of hurling your toothbrush at the mirror, remember. When your appetite is lost because you can see the burden its preparation placed on a loved one, remember.

Also remember where you started. Yes, you may have to fight through your day yet again, but are you fighting for your life like you were? For every breath, or to simply lift your arm and scratch your face? No. Those days are over. You got through them. If you emerged from that seemingly infinite pit of difficulty and continued on for eight years, not just existing but thriving, what you are capable of should be clear. You know now that your greatest challenge is not presented by your body, but your mind.

Trust me, I know your frustration. I feel it, too. Every little struggle drives it deeper and deeper. Before long that frustration will morph into anger and you will wish with each fiber of your being that you never took that dive. But does it matter? Dive you did, and a quadriplegic you now are. Therefore, nurturing such hatred over confinement to a wheelchair serves no purpose other than confining your spirit as well, and that simply won’t do. You’ve too much to offer the world, to yourself, to allow anger from within to ground you. And, believe me, anger will ground you far more deeply than the wheels on your chair ever could.

Yes, today is going to be hard. You knew that, though. And you know that today, just like yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that, you are going to blow it out of the water.

-Cole