Friday, June 20, 2008

Some Lessons...

When she was 19 years old, she was just another college student in Philadelphia, riding her bike. That all changed one sunny Sunday morning when someone in a jeep ran into her, and kept on going.

The damage to her body was extensive. Her pelvis was crushed. Plus, there was neurological damage. Cognitive difficulties. Short-term memory loss.

Her recovery was going poorly. The pelvis is not an easy thing to repair. Plus, she didn't seem to respond well to treatment. She felt, perhaps rightly so, that the medical staff was cold and uncaring.

At 23, she walks with a cane. Probably will for the rest of her life. She wears dark glasses and ear protection pretty much all of the time, because the accident left her hypersensitive to bright lights and loud noises. She spends much of her time with a TENS unit strapped to her waist to help with the muscle pains in her lower back that are a symptom of walking around with a reconstructed pelvis. Plus all that neurological damage. All of these issues will likely be with ther for the rest of her life.

In the eyes of the law, she is classified as 100% disabled as a result of this accident. Tragic.

Yet...

Two years to the day ofher accident, she was in a recording studio, the co-producer of her first major album.

Melody Gardot sings with an unironic hipness. A smoky, blues-tinged voice very much like Peggy Lee at her best. I loved her music before I knew her story, and now I love it even more.

And it all happened because while she was in the hospital a doctor had an idea. He had read about music therapy, and suggested she try it. She was a talented pianist, but the broken hip made it impossible for her to sit at a piano. So she was given a guitar,and learned how to play it. The goal was simply for her to find a way to cope with the tragedy that had happened to her, and to give her a mechanism to aid in her recovery.

It worked. Not only did the music help her emotionally, she started writing songs. Let me repeat that: a woman with short-term memory loss began writing songs. She recorded an EP while she was still in the hospital.

Now, this young woman is touring Europe. A person sensitive to bright lights and loud noises is standing in front of spotlights with amplified instruments behind her.

Is her life perfect? Far from it, of course. But she's at a place where she never in a million years would have thought she would be before that person in an SUV left her for dead on an empty street.

This is what I've learned from Melody Gardot: you never know from where the blessings in your life will come.

I told this story to an acquaintance of mine, who asked me if I thought Melody Gardot would trade her fame and fortune for the ability to be a 'normal' twentysomething woman.

That's not a valid question, is it? Point is, she can't. No one can change what has happened to them. We can do is change--if necessary--the way we react.

Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.

Put that way, just about anything can be a gift. Or a curse.

What are the gifts in your life?

Yeharr

Well I'm buckled up inside
It's a miracle that I'm alive
I do not think I can survive
On bread and wine alone
To think that I could have fallen
A centimeter to the left
Would not be here to see the sunset
Or have myself a time
(refrain)
Well why do the hands of time
So easily unwind
Some lessons we learn the hard way
Some lessons don't come easy
That's the price we have to pay
Some lessons we learn the hard way
They don't come right off and right easy
That's why they say some lessons learned we learn the hard way

Remember the sound of the pavement
World turned upside down
City streets unlined and empty
Not a soul around
Life goes away in a flash
Right before your eyes
If I think real hard well I reckon
I've had some real good times
(refrain)
Well why do the hands of time
So easily unwind
Some lessons we learn the hard way
Some lessons don't come easy
That's the price we have to pay
Some lessons we learn the hard way
They don't come right off and right easy
That's why they say some lessons learned we learn the hard way

7 Comments:

Blogger Heidi the Hick said...

Oh WOW.

You could not have picked a better time to share this story... I'm just about knocked speechless by this story.

Thank you, once again!!!

10:56 AM  
Blogger Lara said...

Wonderful lessons to learn.

I have never heard of her... will need to look her up.

11:25 AM  
Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Nice to have you popping back and lovely post, that lady sure is nice.

What are my gifts?

Apart from my Eva-Jane I'd say my acting and my why with people, they are gifts I reckon.

11:28 AM  
Blogger mal said...

I think we all should look around and count our blessings. I just finished the MS 150 and after 150 miles on the cranks I consider my self incredibly fortunate compared to those that were in wheel chairs cheering at the finish

I do disagree with you on one point. It is not 90% about how we deal with what happens, it is ALL about how we deal with it. We have no choice in what happens but we have complete choice in how we deal with it.

On that note, look in the mirror. In your case, I think there is a hero looking back

*S*
mal

3:35 PM  
Blogger GC said...

wow, thanks for the post
that's a beautiful story
not only did the doctor make a great recommendation, she took it! And did amazing things with it.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Guy Wonders said...

There are gifts to be found even in the midst of tragedy. . . good to see you back in print!

8:45 AM  
Blogger terry said...

those lyrics... just gorgeous. and make me all teary-eyed.

my gifts? that's easy: the people in my life. i am blessed with truly amazing friends (that includes you, pirate).

5:53 PM  

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