It is midnight and after arriving home from the MADD Candlelight Vigil Tori is finally settled in bed. After all the years of attending this solemn event this is the first year I did not trust my voice, or my legs enough to walk to the podium to speak and to light a candle. It certainly was not for want or desire.
When Tori was 9 years old she rode a horse for the first time outside of birthday parties and pony rides. The horse was named Sparky and within 10 minutes he broke away from the trainer and threw her to the ground. Tori got right back up and on the same horse.
Webster's Dictionary states the definition of anticipation as 1. A feeling of excitement that something is about to happen and, 2. The act of preparing for something. Carly Simon says "anticipation is making her wait". I say, anticipation becomes reality Tuesday morning, the 15th of October.
On September 27, 1990 a beautiful light came into this world and appropriately we named her Tori. There was no way we could tell what lie ahead and yet her name says it all. In Japanese Tori means bird, able to fly above and in old English the translation is for victory or victorious. The American translation is conqueror.
A portion of this evening was spent at a MADD Board meeting. Appropriately so, each meeting is opened with a moment of silence dedicated to those we have lost and to those altered forever by a choice. Before proceeding with the rest of the agenda it has been our tradition for a member to present a question to the group. This evenings question – “what is your favorite sound?” In typical fashion our answers were a wonderful mix of humor and heart. Sometimes when I hear the question I silently beg the round to start at another end of the table allowing time for me to think of an answer – no time was needed this evening as I know the answer to this question as well as I know my own name.
To me, a perfect day is all about balance - the yin and yang if you would. Yesterday was a perfect day. It started as always with my girl. Emergency backup stepped in so I could be off to a meeting and the day progressed from there.
Every year my dad starts off his children and grandchildren with a garden. It is up to each of them to keep it going. Tori is no exception. As part of her therapy we use a raised container garden situated just so which enables her, using hand over hand techniques to water, weed and hopefully soon, harvest the fruits of her labor.
This week alone I have spoken directly with 3 families regarding rehabilitation facilities for brain injury. Unfortunately, their loved ones, with serious injury and facing long recoveries, have no options within our state. And so, once again families leave these familiar borders.
Ten years ago today we left the sanctity of Hasbro Childrens Hospital and with it the doctors and nurses we had come to rely on for survival. We also left the borders of Rhode Island and therefore, the comforting reach of family and friends. For the next eight months Brighton Massachusetts and bordering Watertown, but more specifically-Franciscan Childrens Hospital became our home.
Over the last years I have marked this day in many ways. Always reflecting on the moments leading up to, the desperate moments of, and the heart wrenching moments after the crash. It has been spent seeking out our saviors and communicating with those so closely connected to those horrific and forever embedded moments.
The Brain Injury Association of Rhode Island held their annual conference on Friday. I was truly honored and surprised to receive an award. So much so I fell out of my shoes on my way up to receive it. Typical Cathy move.
What’s not typical is the initiation into this club. I’ve been a member for just a day shy of 10 years now. Early on a wise man said to me in terms of giving back, “those who can should”. Long before that, however, a young girl simply lived by the code of Pay It Forward.
It was just Tori and I again today and as we went about our routines, tunes floating in the background, I thought about the supporting role music plays in our life.
Tori Lynn Andreozzi Foundation - P.O. Box 3326 - Narragansett, RI 02882 - USA | Phone: 401.480.2277 | Fax: 401.284.2401 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
When you come to the edge of the light you know
and are about to step off into the darkness,
faith is knowing one of two things will happen...
there will be something solid to stand on, or you will learn to fly