Birthdays and Demons

Sherrin will officially be a 24 year old tomorrow!  

I want to wish my amazing sister the happiest birthday possible and acknowledge her amazing strength as a human being. You are my hero, sissy, and I am so thankful that is the first birthday any person in our family has spent somewhere other than a hospital in two years… even happier that it’s yours that we get to celebrate!

If you are feeling generous and want to give Sherrin a meaningful birthday present, please donate to her PayPal account that will go towards her care that is paid out of pocket. Any small amount truly helps!

Sherrin was lucky enough to have some amazing friends drop by these past few days to wish a

Steve, Chryssi, Sherrin, and Mikey G celebrating Sherrin's 24th birthday!

Steve, Chryssi, Sherrin, and Mikey G celebrating Sherrin’s 24th birthday!

happy early birthday. I want to thank Cat, Chryssi, Steve, and Mikey G for being Sherrin’s number one fans and always finding the time to see her for important occasions. It truly means so much that friends like you all still care so deeply about my sister. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

On an emotional standpoint, my morale about my family’s situation has gone down lately. It’s not always, my depression comes in waves, but when everything catches up to me, I feel like I can’t breathe.

Sometimes I get really frustrated with Sherrin. How I watch my parents run themselves into the ground as her caregivers… how my mom gets upset with our house not being handicapped friendly… and mostly because I don’t have the same big sister anymore.

I recently watched a video regarding traumatic brain injury victims. It was a mother who had twins around 8 years old who both suffered from TBIs. She explained that though she still had her children, who were still quite alive, she mourned the loss of her old kids. She had new kids now; ones that would be in wheelchairs, have weekly doctors’ appointments, and have whole new personalities. It was as though someone switched out her children with that looked and sounded like them but were completely different in every other matter.

I started tearing up as I watched this video. I knew exactly what this mother was talking about. I have my sister, the very same person that I had known since the day I was born, but she is a new sister. She is no longer the person that tells me about her crazy weekend at a music festival or about her latest love life drama. That sister is gone.

It’s so frustrating and drives me crazy. And the even harder part of it is that it’s my instinct to go to my sister, express my frustration, and listen to her advice, which is what I have done my whole life up until May 13, 2012… but I can’t.

Sherrin's laugh :)

Sherrin’s laugh 🙂

It’s upsetting but like I’ve always said, I’ll take any form of Sherrin that I can rather than not having her at all. This is unconditional love, but god is it aggravating love.

I had a mental breakdown last week. Not only am I so very overwhelmed with graduating from college next month, but my parents delivered me some not so good news with Sherrin. She had some X-rays done over the majority of her body and the doctors noticed something that I had never even considered. Sherrin’s ankle and pelvic bones have hardly any mass in them anymore- they are essentially hollow- from lack of usage. When you don’t use a body part after a long period of time, it stops functioning. These bones are so fragile that almost anything could cause a fracture. The hardest part of hearing this news is that I know that it can’t be easily reversed. I don’t want her to be this weak. It scares the living hell out of me. What if she fell during therapy one day? What if she was in another car accident? What if she accidentally kicks a wall? A fracture would slow her down and require so much more medicine to repair. What if that medicine causes more seizures or has some other odd side effect? Anything that we put into her body causes a chain reaction that can offset anything…

When I got this news, it reminded me that Sherrin is the priority. Who cares about my last semester of college and going out to bars? None of that matters in the grand scheme of things. I care so much more about my sister’s progress than I do about my social life. When I’m at Sherrin’s therapy, she does better. When I’m at home quietly watching TV with her, she’s happier. I am vital to her progress. This is where my priority lies; everything else is just fluff.

The reality of our lives is definitely hard to take. I don’t cry as often as I used to, I thank therapy sessions that I used to attend as well as good old-fashioned time, but when I do cry… it’s a lot. I find myself alone when I try to cope with everything, but I broke down in front of my mom the other day. I try not to, seeing as though everything is so much more heartbreaking from my parents’ perspectives, but I can’t hold everything in all of the time.

I sobbed for a while and just kept saying that none of this is fair and that we don’t deserve this life. Trying not to breakdown herself, my mom gave me the biggest realization that I’ve had during this entire experience: Sherrin is the most peaceful she has ever been in her entire life.

You see, Sherrin had a lot of demons her whole life that she had to battle. She struggled with intense depression since around the age of 13 and was also diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar. Lack of better judgment then led her to a slew of bad boyfriends, most of which were mentally abusive. Sherrin was a tortured soul who never felt truly happy. Sherrin was just barely on the road to success and happiness right when the accident happened, but she wasn’t very far on the journey.

Now, Sherrin’s memory is hazy and her personality is wildly different. She only recognizes things that are happening in the moment. She finds instant gratification through successful therapy and visits from friends, which makes her happy. She doesn’t have screaming, crying fits like she did her whole life prior to the accident. Though this situation is nowhere ideal and morally correct, but the ONLY positive I have seen through the tragedy is that those demons that have haunted Sherrin for over a decade are now gone.

My mom really knows how to look at the bright side of things even if the entire world seems hopeless and dark. I am so thankful for such amazing parents that can find positivity through the tragedy.

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2 Responses to Birthdays and Demons

  1. Cat says:

    Kaci- thanks for the update. I want you to know that were always here for you! So proud of you on graduation first off & second off can’t thank you enough for you being you. Your family is amazing & it’s so awesome seeing progression but yes tough because she is not the same. But I will say this- once she smiles when someone walks in the room it all makes up for it because she’s a miracle! Sherrins still with us & I believe also she’s more peaceful than ever! She’s so lucky to have you guys! Thanks for the update, I love the way you wrote it! Xo

  2. Allie P says:

    this made me tear up. what a beautiful perspective your mother has, that this is the most peaceful she has ever been. i always loved seeing sherrin at festivals and shows, she was always a little ray of sunshine. but to know she still smiles and laughs warms my heart. you are a wonderful sister, and she is so lucky to have you. congrats on graduation dear, you deserve to be proud of yourself for it. she would still want you to celebrate and enjoy this time of your life! 🙂

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