I got one of those e-mails today that both puts things in perspective and inspires. It was an update on the story of Tara Berendes.
A little over a year ago I got an e-mail from an old friend in Colorado about her nanny, Tara, who was in a coma after a head-on collision only days after her wedding. She was 20 years old. Tara remained in a coma for a month. I posted about it here.
Today is the one year anniversary of that accident. What a difference a year makes. Tara's story inspires me, and it serves as a reminder of how petty the small worries we get wrapped up in really are.
Here's an article in the San Jose Mercury News about Tara.
A year ago, she lay near death after a horrific head-on crash in Utah. The June 1, 2004, accident, happened as the couple traveled from Los Gatos to Colorado to start their married life. It left the new bride in a deep coma with internal injuries and moderate burns. The prognosis was grim. Doctors warned her family and husband of 10 days that she might not regain consciousness. If she did, she would likely be severely brain damaged.
Berendes proved them wrong with her remarkable recovery.
"I'm healing more and more every day," said the outgoing, optimistic young woman who gives no outward hint of the brain damage she did suffer. "I've just finished taking my last college course, and now I officially have my B.A. in psychology. And I hope to go to grad school soon."
Just as inspiring to me as her road to recovery is her combination of goal-driven determination and focus on doing good in the world.
She hopes to get into the social work master's program at San Jose State University to eventually help the disabled and other people in need.
Her husband doesn't doubt she'll achieve her goals. "She's definitely got some barriers ahead before she can do all that she wants to do,'' he said as he and his wife held hands on their cozy sofa. "But barriers never really bothered her before."
Tara Berendes chimed in: "I shouldn't be able to walk and talk and be as healthy as I am. I should be on a ventilator in a nursing home somewhere. But this miracle happened to me. I am going to do things with my life and help other people."
It's a valuable reminder to celebrate life. And to make sure we do something with it.