​Pandemic, Change, and Happiness

Posted by Amber Collie in Life After Paralysis on September 20, 2020 # COVID-19

Here we are a half year post-COVID-19, the pandemic that flipped the whole world upside down. Shutdowns, re-openings, closures again, then re-openings so many ups and downs. This was something new there was no manual book on how to handle a situation like this. Now with schools starting and fall approaching, it has that new season feel in the air. Yet things are very different. Most schools in my area are doing distant learning online, but stay flexible because the news keeps changing, so we are back to the wait and see the game. The initial shock has past and the new normal has set in. Wearing face masks as part of our everyday life is no longer odd. Keeping 6 ft away from people we encounter is normal now. Washing our hands constantly or looking for the nearest hand sanitizer bottle, normal. As humans, we have a great ability to adapt.Collie family selfie

I am amazed at what we can get used to, especially when forced to change. Most of us are stronger than we think. I can remember the year when my four kids where at four different schools, pre-school, elementary, Jr. High and High school, I thought I was so maxed out. This was the year my teen son broke his neck, and I realized I was not busy at all in comparison to what I was about to embark on. The four kids at four schools schedule thing was nothing compared to our new reality. These are the times when you see what you are made of. Life-changing injuries like a diving accident at the beach, running one second, and paralyzed the next, now that is something that will test your mental strength. I don’t take this lightly, but I am also a decade post-injury, and my son Zack has fought hard and made a good life for himself despite his circumstances. Life is a choice, not what happens to us but how we handle it. This worldwide deadly virus happened, and with the many different stories, scenarios, opinions, and emotions, this time is one for the history books, but we still choose. It may not seem like it, but ultimately, we do choose our happiness. We chose to be grateful, or we chose to complain. Not saying to shut your eyes tight and ignore what is happening, feel the emotions, get that out, then decide what kind of life you want no matter what hand you are dealt with. Yes, easier said than done, but it can be done. That is the point.

2020 has been an unusual year, one that will be talked about for years to come. We will learn from this time, we already have. Some of us have had to deal with the ultimate loss. There will be a pain in everyone’s lifetime. This is part of being human. During this time, it can also bring good change, new light on things, new ideas, and ways of doing things. We may not have ever considered had this not happened to our world. Since we are all in this together, then why not try to make the best of the situation. Use this time to tell the ones you care about what they mean to you. During the past six months, I have spent more time with my immediate family. I am very grateful for that. We have cleaned up the garage, sorted and organized the house, I’ve cooked new recipes, planted a small seasonal garden, hosted lots of back yard BBQs, beach trips, camping, and a road trip or two. I know things are tough, and many things are truly out of our control. Just try to remember you are strong. This will pass, so why not chose to be happy.

My life has had many parts, I could write a book just on that section but let's fast forward to when I married Adron Collie. Two weeks after turning 20 (yes, very young!) I had Zackery at age 22, Levi at 24, six years later Kaden, and 18 months after that daughter Laila, making me a busy mother of four. At that time, I also ran a photography business. The year Zack was injured I had a child in Preschool, Elementary, Jr. High and High School. Four kids in four schools! I thought I was so busy, just getting their drop off and pick up times correct was a challenge. I have to laugh now thinking back on that because little did I know my life was just about to turn upside down.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.