Pay It Forward Winner
I knew that choosing a winner for this contest would be hard but I never thought it would be nearly impossible. I am so proud of the people that decided to respond and do something good for someone else. From giving strangers lifts to the airport to being vulnerable and sharing stories about their struggles and past, this contest restored my faith in humanity. My intent with this contest was to give something back but in return I feel like I was the one who received the biggest gift of all. I think you from the bottom of my heart for the greatness you all have done and remember, just because the contest is over doesn't mean that you can't keep paying it forward. Make everyday a day to make the world a better place. It's the easiest thing and most rewarding thing you will ever do.
It is almost impossible to give one example of how my wife goes out of her way to improve the life of someone around her. She is an Occupational Therapist so it is her job to help people. But as many people have experienced there are degrees to the level of quality care you can get. She exemplifies what it means to be a therapist and I will give you an example of that, but first I want to tell you what she has done for myself and our children.
My 11 year old son has Developmental Dyspraxia, ADD, and is moderately to severely deaf. She has been his champion. I don’t mean she fights with insurance companies, schools, doctors, and what or whoever else was required to get the best care for him. But she has taken a kid who was once afraid of sitting down (literally afraid he was falling when he sat) and formed this confident young man who can run and ride a 4-wheeler and play in the woods with his brother and can dominate a video game.
She didn’t do this by being his therapist but by being this constant source of emotional support. She refused to let him be boxed in by what we were told he would and wouldn't be able to do. When he was afraid to do something she would guide him through every step supporting him not only physically but by being his strength when he was so very afraid.
I have never met anyone with the patience she has to help someone who is so clearly unable to achieve even the simplest goal, achieve that very goal and more.
Carrie has been an incredible wife. I used to joke that I married her for her earnings potential. We met in college and she was so much better at it than I was. She is brilliant in her field and it is an honor to have watched her grow. Shortly after marriage it became quite apparent to me why the universe saw fit to grace me with this woman. I was and do struggle with pretty severe anxiety.
Honestly the only time I am not anxious is when I am on my motorcycle. I can not count the number of times she has just sat with me while I thought I was dying and I could literally feel her strength pouring out to me. She would sit and pray for me silently asking for peace and I would feel her calm. Her presence alone would calm me down.
Fortunately, it is not as bad as it used to be but there are times when just hearing her voice on the phone is enough to know that my world is not crashing down. The most incredible part of this to me is that she has not once ever made me feel less masculine because of this.
Regardless of whatever she has witnessed she still thinks I am a badass. I assume that is what true love is. I know I wouldn't be the man I am today without her in my life.
So, she is an Occupational Therapist. She teaches people who have disabilities how to function within those disabilities. I am pretty mechanical and have more than once been asked to make a piece of equipment that was too expensive for one of her patients to afford. She helped make a set of nail clippers for a man who couldn't use regular sized clippers.
So, we worked in the garage together to create a jig to insert a set of clippers so this man would no longer have to rely on a nurse to clip his nails. If you think about what that really means it is pretty soul shaking. Something as simple as clipping fingernails and having to rely on someone else to do it for you. It is her responsibility to create a way for people to do things like that (and so much more) for themselves. Every day at work she gives people hope.
Words like believe and hope are stenciled on kitchen walls and have lost so much meaning. Hope isn't a word that should be taken so lightly. Not when you have experienced actual hopelessness. There is something that happens deep within you when you are given hope.
It can be a a pin hole of light in an otherwise black void, or the exploding revelation that you are no longer where you were but have been magically teleported to a place where you never believed you would be. She carries that with her and she gives it out freely. It is freaking amazing to see the transformation of the countenance of the people she works with.
I was having a difficult time trying to come up with one story that would illustrate how she impact people but I know the perfect one.
Carrie had a patient that was 4 months old. I don't know any of their names she takes her job seriously but we would discuss diagnosis and ways to accommodate for certain limitations. A lot of times I think she just needs to think out loud and entertains my ideas to make me feel like I have a purpose.
Other than someone in the same room so she isn't a crazy person talking to herself. Regardless, for over two years we talked about this boy who I never met but who she loved like our own kids. He had a lot of limitations, visual impairment, trach, colostomy bag, sensory disorders, you name it this poor little guy had it. But she had hope. She knew with time and work that she would get him to a place where he would be able to tolerate being touched by his mom and dad.
As I said before she carries hope and gives it away. That was the first thing she did for that boys parents. She gave them hope that they would have a little boy that would function at his highest level of ability. That would learn how to adapt to his sensory issues and would be able to be held. I think thats what makes her such an exceptional person. She cares so very deeply about peoples hearts.
She wants to see whole people. Physically and emotionally whatever that looks like she leaves them better than she finds them. The reason I talk about the little boy is because she got a text from the mom a week ago and he was riding a little push car around his house. That may or may not have happened with her involvement. It probably would. But the hope she provided to the parents to me is at the core of who she is as a person.
I don't know what else to say about my wife. She leaves an indelible mark on the people who know her. She sees the greatness in people and draws that greatness out. She is the only person I trust, she is my strength when I am weak, and my hope when I am hopeless. I could keep telling stories of how many people she has touched in her life but at a certain point you would think I was just blowing smoke.
I hope you consider her for your giveaway because honestly she deserves more than I can ever give her.