Monday, January 11, 2010

New Schedule

I'm writing from home in South Pasadena. I have been here since late last night and it feels weird. I feel relieved in some ways. I went to yoga this morning, which was good, but also difficult emotionally. I am good friends with my teacher, so he purposely engaged the class in several heart-openers and releases through breathing. I felt such a well of emotion the entire class. As much as I wanted to be there, I didn't want to be there. I am realizing this seems to be the theme in my life lately.

I apologize that I have not written until now. Traveling back and forth provides me with less time to sit and write, unfortunately. However, I am always thinking about words I would like to write when I have the opportunity. :)

On Saturday, I made it to the hospital just in time to see Matthew get into a wheelchair for the first time. He had to sit on the edge of his bed for several minutes with his feet on the floor just to acclimate his body to sitting upright. He had the support of a very large male physical therapist. I realized that Matthew's muscles have atrophied so much, the simple act of sitting up is tremendously difficult. We all take this for granted everyday! (Well at least I did until now.) It was very hard for me to watch my brother struggle again and look so beat just from sitting. On the same token, there he was, SITTING UPRIGHT!!! He had enough strength to even wheel himself for a couple of minutes. He saw the 10th floor of the hospital for the first time from that perspective. He saw the view (an amazing ocean and city view from huge windows in the 10th floor lobby) and oriented himself. After 20 minutes, he was completely exhausted and it was time to get back in bed. This proved to be a feat, though, considering how tired he was already. This did not discourage him and after he was back in bed and had gone through incredible pain in the process, he asked the physical therapist about his time frame for being able to get into the chair himself. Matthew is looking ahead and he is so determined!

Sunday, Matthew sat in the wheelchair for over an hour. He ate lunch in his chair and went up to the rooftop patio to get some sun. I didn't see him at this time, but Amber was with him and kept him company. Who goes from 20 minutes in a wheelchair to over an hour the next day?? This means he is building muscle everyday and continues to have the same determination he had the day of the accident to live and not just to live, but to live fully. I wonder how many of us, including myself, at certain points in our lives have lost this determination, have become so caught up in the drama, in the distractions, in the negativity that we settle for our lives the way they are, or even worse, we resent our lives for the way they are. We stop trying to grow, to become more conscious, more loving, more compassionate. I wonder how many of us would come back to our determination if we knew that we may never use some of our limbs in the same way or that we may be bound to a wheelchair for quite some time? How many of us would dream and not just dream, but count on getting back on a bike someday? These are our lessons. As witnesses, we do our part by taking into consideration what we might otherwise miss when we are not paying close attention.

My mom has been counting the number of miracles that have occurred from the start of Matthew's accident. I don't know the exact number, but I know, according to her, there may be too many to count at this point. I talked to my mom on the phone this evening and she told me she had an amazing story to tell. She said that she went to the bank and she explained to the teller what had happened to Matthew. She said he listened so intently and then began to smile. At first, she and her friend who was with her did not know what to make of his smile. All of a sudden, he revealed that he was so happy Matthew survived the accident. He explained that he had seen the accident. He was on his bike on his way to work and had not worked at the bank very long. He saw my brother get hit by the truck and he was so worried about him ever since. My mom and her friend stood there in disbelief. My mom's story sent chills running down my spine and every time I re-tell it, I have the same experience. These stories are powerful. We are all so interconnected and our lives affect each other in ways we would never expect. We have made so many wonderful friends through this experience. We have seen the greatest of generosity and compassion. My brother's hope is an example of the hope we can each hold for ourselves and each other everyday, even in the simplest of situations. Maybe this means taking a risk to step outside our comfort zone and get to know someone and really listen to them. Maybe this means quieting our mind and returning to our kind spirit when we begin to beat ourselves up for making a mistake. Maybe this means coming to terms with the fact that our lives are not perfect or fair or guaranteed. For me this means trying to breathe more fully because I have life within me. It means building patience. And it means believing in a power larger than myself.


  1. All I can say is WOW! The strenght that Matt has to fight through all the surgeries and just everything. My prayers go out to Matt and his family. What a powerful circle.


  2. Erin, what a cool story from your mom about the bank teller. Next time you see your mom please give her a big hug from me. When she comes home I will make her a cup of tea.

  3. It was wonderful to hear Matthew’s voice today. What an enormous gift that was for me. To hear a voice. A voice that I many not have heard again if a number of factors did not occur in precisely the right time. Thank God for his voice. Thank God for Matthew.