I would like to introduce you to Jessica. She is my sweet sister-in-law’s sister. Jessica and Ashley, and their brothers, Jake and Josh have been faced with tragedy over the past three months. Their dad, Roger, was in a terrible motorcycle accident at the beginning of the Summer. I’ll let you hear from Jessica on the entire situation as she so graciously tells her dad’s story below. I told Jessica that I wanted to help her spread Roger’s spirit as far as we possibly can, because Roger’s spirit is worth sharing. To me, Roger has always been a man that spoke with his demeanor, spirit, and eyes much more than his words. I have aways loved Roger, in fact, everyone I know that knows Roger loves Roger. It’s impossible not to. When I first met him, I had the same feeling with him as I had when Ash and I first met, and then Jessica. There’s just something about them that’s warm and sincere without a word being said. I think that’s something that’s still happening through Roger. He isn’t able to speak, but he’s still spreading his spirit through his children. They have been an inspiration. They are so strong, so wise, and so full of love. Please “like” “share” and help spread #cranes4roger.
“My Dad was involved in a motorcycle accident in June resulting in a Traumatic Brain Injury. He suffered damage to the right temporal lobe, underwent 4 major brain surgeries (so far) and was in a coma for just a couple days shy of 4 weeks. Since then he has been in what they consider a minimally conscious state. He is currently residing in a Rehabilitation Facility that specializes in brain injury rehab called Special Tree close to Detroit. He is working hard every day with a team of specialists to reclaim a quality of life.”
My Relationship with my Dad:
“As most daughters would say, I am a Daddy’s girl. My Dad has always been my hero and is truly a remarkable man. He taught me to love deeply, dream fearlessly and through that love, gave me a wonderful sense of self. Far before any of this, I always felt like my Dad’s light should be shown to the world. He is incredibly talented in so many ways. I was always in awe of those talents. He carved wood, made the best school project displays, he was a seamstress (believe it or not), cooked, baked, was a craftsman, a mechanic, an ornament maker, a provider, you name it my Dad could do it. Best yet he did all of those things masterfully. I really looked up to the way he would learn something new and then master the skill. I never saw any failed attempts; perhaps he hid those from us but to me it was like magic. He made everything look easy.”
My Feelings about the Accident:
“This accident shook me awake in ways I didn’t even know I was blinded to. It stole so much from me and gave me so much in return as well. I could never put into words how truly devastating it is to be on this journey. I miss the sound of my Dad’s voice, I miss his warm embrace, I miss everything about him. My heart aches not just from the loss of those things but it aches for him and what he is enduring. I want to fix it, I want the Doctors to tell me it will be okay, I want definitive answers but there are none. I lie awake wondering if he hears us next to him, if he feels me holding his hand , if he knows how loved he is. I wonder what it might be like to be trapped in a mind that can’t express what is going on within it. I wonder if the latter is true perhaps he doesn’t know, maybe he has no idea we are there, maybe he can’t connect touch as a feeling to a brain that registers it, maybe he doesn’t feel trapped. And in those wonderments I ask myself what is worse? What is better? On the other hand I know all any of us can do is have faith, and take it one day at a time. I find myself experiencing grace on a much larger scale, I find myself become less quickly to anger. I have found that I look at disability and people with disability differently than I did before. I have found new pieces that have always resided in my heart come to the forefront, I have more compassion, empathy and spirituality than I did the day before this accident occurred and I am not ungrateful to any of that.”
” I find dwelling on the hurt is no place to stay. I can’t ignore the feelings of anger, sadness and frustration but I also can’t live there. I embrace those moments and then try to turn them around. I turned to art as a way of expressing all of that. On canvas I get to be all of those things, it is healing. It gives me time for myself, a quiet space to clear those emotions. When I started painting and they turned into Origami Cranes I didn’t think much of it other than that it felt right. When I think of birds I think of wind and fresh air, freedom and the warmth of the sun, a symbol of strength. Origami is able to transform and morph not unlike what is happening in our lives and for my Dad physically as well. The human brain is powerful and has the ability to heal and can in some ways/sometimes take on new form. Not long after beginning to paint these cranes a good friend of mine told me they reminded her of the Tale of 1,000 cranes. Unfamiliar myself I looked into it. After reading the story I was amazed at how interconnected the story was to my own. In Japan, the Origami crane is a symbol of longevity and health. It is said that if you fold 1,000 cranes you will be granted your own wish of health. Often 1,000 cranes are given to someone who is ill or for a married couple on their wedding day.
“The story really touched me; it got me thinking what can I do to make the best of this? I decided I would paint 1,000 cranes. Looking at the paintings I had already done and how few were on each canvas that seemed like quite the challenge but it was minimal to the challenge my Dad was already facing. Then I thought, well what will I do with all of these paintings? I always find it to be a shame for art to sit and not be shared. How can I use them to help others I thought? If I were to sell them I could use that money to help out other people in this situation. My Dad had his own expenses being taken care of but a lot of people are not that fortunate. Through researching my Dad’s injury I learned that there are 2.5 million ER visits due to Brain Injury in the US each year. Many of these people with TBI do not reach their full quality of life because they can’t afford the therapy needed. The benefits run out well before the healing process is over. My heart goes out to those families and so creating cranes4roger was born.”
“My goal is to have 12-15 paintings totaling 1,000 painted cranes. I am hosting an art show in Denver CO at Skye Salon on December 11th. We are going to do it brunch style with breakfast snacks and mimosas from 11-2pm. I am going to auction off my paintings through a silent auction. In addition I am getting everyone I know to fold 1,000 paper cranes as well. My goal is to sell each one of these for $5 this allows those who cannot afford a painting to donate and be a part of this cause. Each donor will write their name on the paper crane that they purchase and after the event I will string together all 1,000 cranes. (Kind of like the Shamrocks you buy at the Gas Station) All profits made will be donated in my Dad’s name to Craig Hospital in Denver, CO and I am gifting the string of 1,000 Cranes so they have this piece of Artwork to commemorate the event.”
Why Craig Hospital?
“Craig Hospital is a non-profit brain injury rehabilitation and research center. Since it is just blocks from where I live and it is non-profit I couldn’t think of a better place for this donation. I am hoping that this donation will really help a family like ours and make it a little easier for them to deal with journey they are on. I know that this road would be much more difficult if I was worried about finding ways to pay for my Dad’s care. Helping someway else helps me heal in a way I cannot describe. I am really excited about being able to facilitate this.
“For me one of the hardest parts of this situation is that at the hospital during the first phase of injury and recovery the Doctors were very dismal about my Dad’s future. Based on statistics he wouldn’t make it. In fact we were given an outlook of around 2%. I can’t tell you how many times we were told to think about arrangements in case of his death. That’s a hard pill to swallow when you are trying to stay optimistic. No one wants to hear those words about a loved one even more so about their Dad. It seemed like every time we were feeling really good a Doctor would meet with us to bring us back down to earth so to say. I don’t blame them; it is their job to tell us these things. I can’t say I would be better at it, in fact they really did try to tell us the worst in the most compassionate way they could. I understand that giving us false hope isn’t helpful either but when my Dad was moved to Rehab and changed environment the world of possibility opened to us. Rather than statistics they gave us actual cases. They reminded us kindly that he may not come out of this but also encouraged us with stories of many who did. They allowed us to have optimistic energy and encouraged us to be involved in the process. They assured us that statistics were not always right and that we hadn’t reached the point of no hope yet, we weren’t even close. The Medical staff at the Hospital said “It’s ALREADY been 30 days.” The Rehabilitation staff said “It’s has ONLY been 30 days.” Upon our arrival. I can’t tell you what a difference that made to me and my family.
“This is the driving force behind wanting to help in any way I can. If more TBI sufferers can gain proper treatment, those statistics will change. More families will have hope from the beginning. If more research is done than they can understand why one case recovers and the other does not. Families will have the answers they need and deserve, it won’t make things easy but it will help make things easier.”
What can you do?
You can learn more and follow my journey through my blog cranes4roger.com on this blog I share different aspects from a loved ones perspective as well as the creation and follow through of my fundraising campaign.
I can be found on Facebook www.facebook.com/OliveJuiceArt here I post updates and progression of the art as well as share my blog posts.
I am still looking for Origami Crane folders. Preferably 8-9 inch paper size (so names can be written on them). I need these by the end of November. Folded cranes can be mailed to:
4650 E Yale Ave
Denver CO 80222