God is my family's glue

By  Amy Crofts, Youth Speak News
  • March 28, 2008

On Jan. 11, 2004, at 10 p.m. I walked into the emergency room of the Foothills Hospital in Calgary. My mother lay immobilized on a spine board. I prayed to God not to take her away from me.

That night she drove home from work, she was thinking about what to make the family for dinner. At the bottom of the hill from our home, she forgot to stop at the intersection and was t-boned on the driver’s side, her hip shattered.

Through six months of rehab, she learned to walk again. In six months I grew up. God was the glue that held my family together.

Life has given me many trials and tribulations; however, the situation is what you make of it, each obstacle is just a rung on the ladder of growth.

My father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when I was 10. Parkinson’s is a progressive disease attacking the nervous system, affecting motor co-ordination, physical movement (causing tremors) and cognitive control such as reaction times, memory and speech. Coupled with my mom’s car accident four years later, 2004 was probably the hardest year for my family, both emotionally and spiritually.

At the time I wondered why God was punishing me. More responsibility was put on my plate; I tried to take care of my father and younger brother while my mother was gone. Focusing on cooking, cleaning and school work could only fill the void so much — my life lacked the presence of God.

I carried a lot of resentment on my shoulders, deep-seated bitterness became a throbbing wound and time and prayer were the bandages.

It was hard not to hate the world, not to hate my friends and classmates that had their mothers cooking them dinner and their fathers at their Saturday soccer practices. These kids had everything they wanted at their fingertips, why did I have to learn the hard way?

Hard as it was, together my family grew stronger, and we remain strong to this very day.

Since I would only see my mom on weekends at the care centre, we made it a point to phone every couple days. I still remember the first phone call ending with the words “I love you.” As my mother was never very emotionally attached, this accident had brought us, mother and daughter, closer together.

Cliché as it is, you really don’t know what you’ve got until its gone, or almost gone that is. Before the accident I was a rebellious teen, a naive, ungrateful kid who just turned up the volume on her ghetto blaster whenever her parents started to “nag.” I would be far from where I am today if I had continued to shut everyone out and wallow in my unhappiness. Having both my parents in such vulnerable positions put things in perspective; you cannot depend on the world you know and you cannot depend on yourself alone. You have to be willing to let others help you.

I try to thank God every day for what He has given me. His grace is something I still feel I do not deserve. When the going gets tough, envy and jealousy still prove to be my kryptonite, but when I pull through with the help of my family, my friends and my faith, I realize that’s all I really need.

(Crofts, 19, studies biology at the University of Calgary.)

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