Big ole grapefruits no more!

Many of you have heard some rumors, or had some questions about what has been going on lately! Rightfully so :-)

My siblings are chugging along with school and work. All of them doing very well, and making their big sister very proud!

I had initially planned on returning to school this January. Unfortunately, I did not quite make the deadline. I was really very upset at first, I was looking forward to it so very much. I love my job, I love working with kids, not only teaching them reading, writing, and math, but also life skills. Many students don’t get the opportunity to learn the appropriate way to fix the mistake! When you’re 12 years old, you are supposed to be making mistakes, or you are not growing up right! However, there is an appropriate way to handle it. “I’m sorry, I messed up, I made a mistake, how can I make this right?” Teaching kids how to do this is one of my favorite things about my job, so of course I was disappointed when I knew I wasn’t ready to come back.

One of the reasons I wasn’t ready was because of my knees. I don’t think the doctors

Knees- yikes!

Knees- yikes!

anticipated on me walking as much as I was doing. After the accident, we realized that my knees were very messed up, for lack of a better word. I was missing three ligaments on my right one, one on my left, my meniscus, patella, popliteus muscle all in need of repair.

Since the doctors didn’t anticipate my walking, we didn’t do a lot about it.photo(25) When I first started walking, we put a brace on to help support, and that did the job in the beginning. However, in the last few months I’ve worked very hard to walk just about everywhere. It is slow, pretty wobbly, and I need a walker or crutches, but I was doing it! As a result, I pretty much destroyed whatever was left of my knees. Walking became challenging, pretty painful, and my knees looked more like grapefruits.

So I found a wonderful surgeon who came up with a great game plan to get me some new knees.

Wwweeeeeeeeeeee

Wwweeeeeeeeeeee

The unfortunate part was that for about six weeks I needed to keep my legs straight out, no bending. For eight weeks, no weight bearing… Meaning no walking or standing whatsoever! And probably no real walking until about 12 weeks out.

I live with one of my really good friends in an adorable one-story house. However, this house has no way to accommodate my monstrous legs sticking straight out from a wheelchair!

Notice the wedge of bone that they took out of both of my knees.  in the long run, it will provide more stability.

Notice the wedge of bone that they took out of both of my knees. in the long run, it will provide more stability.

So, I am back at a nursing facility until I am able to weight bear for a bit. It is frustrating to be back here, but I am so looking forward to what my new legs have in store for me. Plus, it gives me plenty of time to work on my hands, and in being honest with you; they still need a whole lot of work. Functionality is still an issue.

So, I am in here on lockdown for a few weeks, doing my best to be super cheery and not let the hospital atmosphere take me downphoto(28). I tell you what, getting to know some of the older people are hysterical! Absolutely one of the brightest points my day! So as of now, I am just keeping on, keeping on.

Oh yes, about that Christmas card. Most definitely, still on its way :-) I thought about writing it while I was high on painkillers, but I was advised against it. Should get there sometime before summer though! :-)

Also, I want to give a big shout out to my little brother Jer Bear who turned 23 yesterday! I could not be more proud of the man he has become. He is the man who makes toasts at the head of the table, the one who gives his all no matter what he is doing, and his most special gift is making you feel like the most important person in the world when you are with him. You meet him once, I promise you will remember you, your favorite color, and who all your close friends of. I am so very proud!Image(1)

1 year, 12 months, 365 days

 

Does it seem like a year to you? I haven’t decided if it feels like it has been a whole lot shorter, or a lot longer! There are times when I sincerely forget it is the year 2013, I feel like

Liana- age 4

Liana- age 4

I missed an entire year! There are other times when I look back on this year and it seems like it went by so quick. There is never a good time for an accident, but there is something universally beguiling about the renewal of our lives in the New Year.

 Maybe it’s a coincidence, maybe not, that the accident fell on the Winter Solstice. The Winter Solstice has been an important time throughout history. yx4f031eb2It marks the shortest day of the year as well as the longest night. The sun is at its lowest and weakest point, and from this point forward, the light will grow brighter and stronger. It is the turning point of the year. The Winter Solstice marks a central part of nature’s cycle. It is a time of new growth, rebirth and renewal. It is a reminder that in order to begin anew, the old must end. It is the time of year when we pay homage to the darkness of life’s mysteries, while still keeping our faith. Spring will come again.

 

 Let’s just take a moment and reflect on where my family was last year at this time. My parents were gone; the presents that they so carefully bought for us were still under the tree. 

Dec. 22 - Jessie

Dec. 22 – Jessie

My little brother Jeremy bravely stood and reassured our community that we were going to be okay. He had an injured shoulder, and very much felt the weight and the responsibility to take care of his sisters. Jaime and Steven were both medically asleep in the ICU with broken legs, ribs, arms, and pelvises. I was at a hazy point, 

Knees- yikes!

Knees- yikes!

Jaime - Femur, pelvis

Jaime – Femur, pelvis

medicated, and learning that I was paralyzed from the neck down. I had a severe laceration that had cut my mouth, lips, and chin all the way through, a compound fracture in my femur, missing more than 50% of my knees, and some hardware in my neck where it had broken. My friends and family never left our side. 24 hours a day. For three straight months I had one of my loved ones by my side. They took shifts, a few hours at a time, and overnight. I think this speaks volumes as to the kind of people that they are, and the inner strength and

Jessie

Jessie

selflessness that they were willing to give to Jaime, Steven, Jeremy, and me.

 

 There is no way that I can put into words the wonderful gifts that you all gave us. I’m going to try to name a few, but I want you to know that there is so much more! As Jeremy went back to school he had many of his friend’s parents call and check up on him, he got so many cookies sent to him that he didn’t know what to do with them! He said that they were literally on every counter of the kitchen! You called him and helped tutor him and check in with school! And I’m so incredibly proud to say that Jeremy got the best grades of his college career this semester! You visited Jaime and Steven and helped scratch their backs and anywhere that they couldn’t reach! You sent videos, letters, and notes of well wishes. As for me, I can elaborate so much more because I was there! I had people itching my nose, helping me wash my face and brush my teeth, for a long time I couldn’t feed myself so my wonderful neighbor boys that I grew up spoon fed me! And Lord knows that I was not about to eat the hospital food, so I constantly had helpers bring me tasty

GO HAWKS!

GO HAWKS!

sustenance :-) My friends brushed my hair, let me yell at them in frustration,

and then were not afraid to kick my butt when I got too out of line! I can assure it really didn’t happen that often… But I wouldn’t ask anyone about it, they might lie :-)

 

 While we’re on this topic, I need to give a shout out to my Aunt Terry. I don’t know how anyone gets through a tragedy like this without someone so smart and so strong. Without hesitation she took us in, has taken us to every photo(22)medical appointment, has helped us figure out the financial part of this accident, and has willingly given up so many parts of her life for us. Other than my mother and father, I have never had anyone love me so deeply before.

Here’s the thing, take a look at us now! Look at what all of you have done for us. Anyone that has sent a note, said a prayer, or just thought of us during your day has helped us in our recovery. Jeremy is wildly successful in school, and he would want you to know that his intermural football team won the championship :-) Jaime is the healing photo(21)champion! Her bones are basically all healed, she only needs to walk with a cane for long distances, and she is back in law school. Steven is the cutest thing! He is back at Microsoft and is up and walking around all of the time. They bought an adorable house in Issaquah, and have three precious cats! I amphoto(18) trucking along. I am a little behind in my healing compared to them, but I’m so fiercely competitive that I have every intention of catching up! I go to exercise therapy four times a week for two hours a day; I have physical therapy, occupational therapy, and a slight addiction to online shopping :-) Every Monday I go over to my friend’s house for photo(12)dinner and we eat and play with all their little one-year-olds. On Wednesdays, we do girls night and drink wine and catch up about our week – and talk smack about boys :-). And of course there are always fun things to do on the weekends. I love men, so I’m always putting out the vibe :-) and really, I am a happy person.

 

 

 

I did not intend for this post to be so long, actually I wanted it to be more about my parents. But they would want you to know, and I do want you to know that we are okay! We are happy, and we have you all to thank for that.11526930455_8e3fcacaab_b

So, in the spirit of Tim and Cheryl li ght a candle tonight and let it burn bright and give your loved ones a kiss knowing that nothing quite lasts forever. Mom and dad loved the holidays; they had a way of inviting everyone into the folds of our family. You don’t get to 11526998166_d09cb20a01_bpick your family, but you only get one. Treasure the good things in each other can have a very Merry Christmas!!!photo(19)

 

 

Keep on, keeping on!

J

 

Address Please!

Well, in true Owen fashion our Christmas card is going to be more like a New Year’s card. In fact, I remember one year our Christmas card was actually more of a Valentine’s Day update :-)

My mother had one of those huge daytime planners with everyone’s address dating back to I’m sure what was the Stone Age. She never let that thing out of her sight. In fact, I remember when she was writing her dissertation for her PhD she said that if the house was burning down she would grab her floppy disk with the dissertation on it, and her address book. Priorities :-) At the time of the accident she unfortunately had this precious gem with her. Everything in the car was unsalvageable so I am missing all of the addresses that my mom worked so tirelessly to save!

I would really love to send you a holiday card this year. If you would be willing to send your address to my personal email I would be very grateful! You should also know, that I am saving mine in a much more technologically safe way!

JessicaJROwen@aol.com

Merry Christmas everyone!

Ugly Sweater Party 2013!

Ugly Sweater Party 2013!

Thanks and Giving and Carrying On

I can tell you that this has been a very difficult time for my family and me. Clearly, this is been one of life’s biggest struggles and I am assuming that everything is downhill from here! Very few things can trump this, so I’m thinking that things will be good for a while :-) Grief is a funny thing. It is like the ocean. It was incredibly choppy the first several weeks, but as the months went on it became easier to deal with on a daily basis. Then the waves would come… almost out of nowhere. It just shows up and runs right over you sometimes with an almost shocking intensity.

So this week, this month, is one of those storms. I knew it was coming. I’ve known for many months now, wondering when it would hit and dreading it. It is been almost a year since my parents have passed and as I look back now at how I was feeling and compare it to now, I find myself in a very different place. Although the pain of losing them is so fresh, I feel that I am more thankful than ever to have those whom I have in my life now. I am endlessly thankful for the happiness I gained over this year, and I am thankful for such a wonderfully supportive coco163891_1543624552596_4671735_non of people that have enveloped my family and me. Life isn’t always fair; sometimes you get splinters sliding down a rainbow.

Thanksgiving was really one of the star holidays for my mom. We would celebrate with a houseful of people, way too much food, plenty of chaos, and celebrations punctured by laughter and conversation. Mom would spend the day in the kitchen making sure everyone had their favorite dishes, batting hands that tried to get into the food, and attempting to tell jokes that were not really funny. 4624_1088834703134_1302775_nShe reminded dad to vacuum the living room, turned on music way too loud, and swatted away my dad’s hand when he would pinch her buns. My dad would spend the day with a naughty gleam in his eyes. He would try to get a little taste of food before it was served, sneak up on my mom and startle her, and would always make our Thanksgiving toast. After dinner we always played board games, insisted upon by… yours truly. It is easy to picture what this looked like in my house. My dad, being overly competitive, and strategic. My mom, whose moral compass always points due north, found herself naughty enough to cheat! We would have to put a cheater watch on her, and was never me, because left in my hands, not only would I let her cheat… I would do it too… But better! ??????????This year I wonder who will be the first to steal a bite of pie will before it is even served. Well it will probably be me… But it will be sad not to see my dad’s grubby thumbprint there first.

Life after loss hasn’t looked the same for my family and me, but it has been good, and it has been honest. We make choices, changes, and compromises along the way as we slowly figure out what feels right for us. We will find our own unique ways of celebrating the things that are important to us, and to honor the memory of mom and dad.

photoHappy Thanksgiving to all of you, and know that this year, we are exceptionally thankful for you!

GO BIG BLUE!

Last Friday night was such a huge honor for all of us Owen kids. The Bothell High School football team made us honorary captains for their homecoming game. It was such a touching gesture.

  photo_2

It was so fun to see all our friends, family, and coworkers cheering on the Bothell blue. It is so easy to see why we have such a strong community. All night we recognized the people we have grown up with and have made an impact on our lives.photo(12) These games have such a fun atmosphere.The student section is beyond loud, the band is huge and fantastic, and the traditions that began 14 years ago with Coach Tom Bainter are still playing out.photo(13)

 IMG_4683When the Bothell captains came out they came to Jaime, Jeremy, and me and shook our hands and said “we’re with you, you are in our hearts, and we have your backs one hundred percent. You are one of us.” It was really poignant, and I totally did NOT get a little teary. These football gentlemen come into this program as boys and so very clearly leave as men: Men with honor, with integrity, and men with leadership.IMG_4688

Jaime and I got to ride out on the cart while Jeremy held hands with the captains as we went out for the coin toss. We watched the officials do their little spiel and then we headed off to watch Bothell absolutely dominate the game!IMG_4714

The real sparkle of the night though was watching my brother. Jeremy so easily fits right back into this community. This was for him. I think it is easy to look over him in  all the bad things that have happened this year, but he is grieving very much too, and it was a nice way to honor him. 14638_1125609755308_5327343_n(2)Jeremy was on the sidelines the whole night photo_4high-fiving, shaking hands, hugging, then laughing with every player, coach, and buddy in the stadium. I think the reason Jeremy likes football so much, and specifically Bothell football, is because it was during these moments that he decided the person that he is going to be. Other than my fatherphoto(11), I might venture to say that Jeremy’s coach, Tom Bainter is the most influential man in his life. Jeremy really did sparkle that night, and it was so nice to see him so very happy!

Thank you Bothell! We are so lucky to have you, and we are so honored that you would include us in such a wonderful tradition!IMG_4670

JEREMY 2010

Aside

We love Bothell!  This community has been so incredibly supportive of the whole family and we appreciate it so very much.  Jessie, Jaime, and Jeremy all graduated from Bothell High and they will be attending the Homecoming Game on Friday night.  Steven too!  Come by and say hi.  Go Big Blue!