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Rising from the Ashes

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

By Kelly Deeny

Life never happens quite as expected. In my last ACHA post, I wrote about my plan to raise money for ACHA by walking a mile for every set amount (for instance, $20 or $25)—that I'd ask family and friends to donate in support of a worthy cause that means so much to me. Roughly a month later I needed their help, but not as I expected.

My apartment building caught fire, leaving all the residents of the building without a home. In a very short period of time I realized that for all the hurdles and struggles I face, I am strong. I am resilient.

I often marvel at the strength the infant Kelly had, to face so much adversity—physically, emotionally and spiritually—as a child and flourish. I started to wonder over the past few years if that strength still existed. How could I choose to fight when I was so small yet struggle in day-to-day existence? How weak did that make me?

The morning after the fire, I woke up at my parents' house with an odd mixture of calm and focus. So much was out of my control. I took charge of that which I could and trusted others to handle the rest. In a day and age when we try to micromanage every aspect of our lives, we sometimes forget to trust one another. To let someone help us. To accept assistance when offered. Does that make us less capable, less independent?

If my spirit knew in my infant body that the people around me could help, then why was I determined to do it all myself now? At 20 months old, I was dependent on everyone: My parents, doctors, nurses and surgeons. Decisions were made for me by individuals who were capable of understanding the seriousness of the situation and responding accordingly. I took control of what I could, my decision to LIVE.

It's been three weeks since the fire, and I've learned so much about my strengths, but also those of people around me. So many amazing people reached out a hand to help. My family, friends, co-workers, even my local pharmacist. Their generosity moved me and humbled me. We're all on a journey, finding our own way through life. Some individuals simply choose to extend a hand and walk alongside another. For all those generous spirits—“Thank You!"

P.S. I salvaged this framed artwork from my apartment and my mother hung it in the guest room for me. It was drawn by my aunt, from a photo of me when I was about 4 or 5—a reminder to me during this tough time that I went through a great deal worse and flourished.


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