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Altered States and Altered Dreams

Sunday, August 30, 2015

I attended a memorial service for a young woman today. While I didn’t know her very well, I knew her mother and their journey. It was one of altered states and altered dreams.

At 22 years old, weeks before her college graduation she was found unresponsive in her room, the victim of a massive stroke. Though she survived, the assault to her brain left her living a life much different than the one she or her mother ever expected. First thought to be in a vegetative state, then minimally conscious Maggie proved to be in an altered state of consciousness – one in which she remained for 9 years.

Though fully cognitive it was difficult to develop a means of communication as the area of damage left her unable to display volitional movement. The only control she had was opening and closing her left eye. With the discovery of her cognition and the ability to blink, Maggie’s world grew bigger. Hand over hand painting techniques guided by an occupational therapist enabled her to create artwork giving a new meaning and purpose to her day.

Maggie may have lived these last 9 years with only one eye open - but her heart and mind were open to explore the possibilities within her reach. Individual choices we make lead us to who and where we are. Maggie and her mother’s choices led her to a life that was as full as it could be. It was full of art, music, dance and love.

At her memorial service a friend of the family commented about our dreams for the future and how we start to plant those seeds when we are young. But much like a bed of sunflowers not all may come to fruition. Yet just because all of our seeds were not able to fulfill our vision, this doesn’t make the ones that bloom any less beautiful or any less of a miracle.

Plant your seeds, make your choices and live your life to the fullest it can be.  Leave your eyes, your mind and your heart open to the possibilities for Life As You Know It Can Change In A Moment.