In 2015 Kristen SURVIVED a cryptogenic stroke. The word survive is used intentionally as Kristen didn’t let herself suffer during this trying time. She turned recovery into a full time job. The stroke took away much more than her ability to communicate. It took the way she related the world. It took her ability to tell her kids she loved them, and took her energy to care for them in the way that they deserved.
It took her ability to choose to follow her passion in nursing and stole her identity and who she thought she was. As hard as this was, when all was said and done, the stroke gave me more gifts than ever took from me.
PLEASE VIEW: A Stroke Could Not Silence This Hero.
It gave her a gift of knowing time is finite, and the gift of valuing her life and those in it. It gave her purpose in helping others that are affected by stroke and to bring more compassionate care to our healthcare system. As crazy as it sounds, it made her life better in a lot of ways. After seizures, a heart surgery and another Transient Ischemic Attack she continues to fight through the tough stuff and re-evaluate her WHY.
2017 was a defining year for Jessie. It could have been said that 2017 was an awful year for Jessie, but she didn’t treat it as such.
One day Kristen and Jessie were planning a photoshoot and the next thing they knew, Jessie was texting Kristen that her horse stumbled and rolled over her, crushing her pelvis and vertebrae in her back only moments before she was going to barrel race for $50,000.
Jessie was cracking some jokes and told Kristen that she was in unbelievable pain but that she would, “be just fine- no painkillers needed.” Because as much as she was in an insane amount of pain, a liver disease she lives with everyday prevented her from taking any pain medications.
There she was facing a crushed pelvis and who knows how long off her feet, with no pain relief. When she learned to walk again, she FINALLY sold her house after years of being on the market, she moved, then the sale fell through a day before possession and then had to move back to the original house again. She ended up getting a bad case of shingles, pneumonia, having her grandpa in and out of the hospital, and 2017 wrapped up with losing her dad very suddenly just days after Christmas.
Never once did she complain. She is resilient through and through and probably a little too stubborn.
Jessie and Kristen had these gifts. As heart breaking, difficult or discouraging as the troubles have been they had to redefine their purpose. Gifts and messages come in unique ways if you are open to receiving them and these two were listening, loud and clear. Ultimately time together in the hospital bonded these two and showed them how similar everyone’s journeys through recovery can be.
FROM KRISTEN AND JESSIE:
You see too often we believe that people think that happiness is this drive to the top. When, WHEN, you get to the top you will be happy. Interruptions aren’t good, bumps along the way are bad and only after you have found success will you have freedom and TRUE happiness.
Society seems to tell us that we need to have this straight line through life.
Graduate, go to post secondary, meet someone, get married, have two children, work, retire, travel, die an old person with our perfect person. Unfortunately, few of us in the room are going to have that straight line through life. That is reality. Many of us in this room don’t want much of what I just said and some that is all they dream about. Our lives have been anything but what we expected. In fact, everything we thought we once were and everything we once had perfectly planned- is no longer. We have learned that when you learn to make the struggles worth it- the roller coaster can be a part of the fun.
We see this differently. We don’t think there is an up, or down, top or bottom.
Life for us, we try and see as a journey, a mess of highs and lows, loops and valleys AND it is apart of that crazy ride that gives us contentment, meaning, fulfillment and purpose.
It maybe shows us we work too much or work a job that is more of a job and less of a fulfilling career. It might show you that you need more self care, teach you which battles to pick, or put forward who your true friends and family are. It can show you where you spend your time that doesn’t matter and make clear where you should be spending it.
To make the struggle worth it and use the pain to benefit we have taken those lows and experienced greater highs than we knew prior to the tough stuff.
THE FOUNDATION FOR the My Why REVOLUTION
It is safe to say that we have had our fair share of interesting issues over the past few years. It has made us realize that we no longer want to spend time working for what looks good on a resume. We want to spend time on how people will remember us. If we were to die tomorrow, What do we need to do today? Were we kind enough? Did we make the wrongs right? Did we learn from the mistakes? Are we helping enough? Are we spending time doing things that matter?
We think it’s important to look at building a ‘legacy.’ It’s important to look at what we are doing today that we will be remembered for tomorrow.
There have been times we have been driven to developing the ‘resume’. We were the YES people. We almost found a sense of security in that resume. That “security” was false security though. Giving up that we have any real control when it comes to the big things in life has given us a freedom we can’t explain and a focus on what we love, what we enjoy and the quality people to surround myself with. Thus, My Why was born. We want to tell stories for those who maybe don’t have the platform, courage or support network to be open, honest and vulnerable. Spending time with the true heroes that walk has meant more to us than we could ever explain.
Thank you for reading and learning about how My Why got it’s start. If you would like to have a coffee chat, book us for a workshop or presentation or have a story you or someone you know would like to share, ‘Contact Us’.