The Sky Is the Limit

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Meridith Hankenson Alexander, Florida

On February 19, 2016, a group of tourists were frolicking in the river after a morning of white water rafting in Colombia, South America. A river guide climbed up the rocky ledge to take a photo. The next thing that the group below heard was his frantic cry, “Boulder!” Mass panic ensued as the tourists tried to get out of the way. All but one succeeded. That one was my daughter, Schuyler.

I had no experience with serious injury and I certainly had no training in becoming a caregiver. All of a sudden, that didn't matter. All that I prayed for was for this remarkable young woman to live!

Textbook medicine gave her little chance of surviving. Her injuries were beyond massive. Any one of them could kill her or leave her paralyzed and in a vegetative state. I was devastated and probably cried more tears than any one human being should cry in a lifetime.

And then I realized that as her mom, I had to become bigger than this boulder. I might not be able to control my outer game, but I sure as heck had to find a way to control my inner game. Hadn't I seen evidence all my life of people achieving the “impossible”? If it could happen for others, it could happen for us.

I began to deliberately focus my mind into a state of what I call positive realism. I began a 3-step process that I hoped would make an impact on my daughter's progress. I would not let my daughter’s life end up having been lived only so I could live the rest of my days as the mom whose child was killed by a boulder. She (and I) were more than that. To be the best mom to my daughter right now, I had to find a Greatness within myself that was beyond all other.

Miraculously, using this deliberate mindset, I was able to find a place of such powerful knowing that Schuyler would be fine that it became an expectation. As an expectation, it began to feel as if Life had to find a way to conform to my vision. Doctors who had once looked at us with pity began to look at us in awe. They referred to us as the miracle family.

Yes, Schuyler survived and two years later, we are still early in our journey. Our mindset remains positive and strong. Schuyler is relearning everything and yet we laugh and shower each other with love and joy. Our Facebook page "Schuy is the Limit" has gone on to inspire thousands of others. I published a book that hit #1 new release on Amazon in November. Our story was featured in the December 2017 issue of Prevention Magazine. We shared a pamphlet of Caregiving Tips with others in need and now I have begun speaking and doing keynotes on overcoming obstacles.

I truly believe that it is not in spite of our obstacles that we succeed. It’s precisely thanks to these boulders that we learn how high we can soar. Our own boulder taught us not how to face death. This boulder taught us how profoundly important it is for each and every one of us to choose to TRULY LIVE.

There is a long road ahead of us — which just means that we get to smell more roses along the way, doesn’t it? And with the right mindset, the Sky Is the Limit! May all of your boulders evolve into gems!

To Your Joy and Success, Meridith (and Schuyler)