Finding Gratitude: Overcoming A Life Changing Accident

May 15, 2014

Sondra Pickering of Springdale, Utah shares how her family's love allowed her to overcome her painful, life changing accident.

Credit StoryCorps/Utah Public Radio

Sondra: My children were left without a mother for two months. I was still nursing my youngest and just after I turned 41 we were up in the mountains and through a series of weird events a pine tree fell on me and broke my back in two places and paralyzed me.

My children were all in my husbands back hoe so they were safe but they witnessed the whole thing.

I could not believe that this could happen to me. I questioned my faith in God. I left my religion because I was so disappointed and heartbroken that something so terrible could happen. Anyway, I didn't want to live for probably a couple of years after.

I did not know how to take care of three small children and a teenager and be in a wheelchair. But anyway, actually through some things that I remember reading in a Buddist book that I had that I realized that if I was going to be released from the extreme suffering that I was going through I would have to accept it. And when I did my life became good again.

I learned to drive and had a lot of fun with my kids. We went places and we had a lot of fun. So, almost always I can turn my sadness around if I start finding gratitude. If I go to gratitude and start remembering and thinking about everything that I am grateful for. And everything that is beautiful. And pretty much I realize that its my friends, its my family, especially, its love that is the healing force of the world. And as my son said when he was in 9th grade which was very mature of him, "the only thing that's real in this world is love."

So, I am very blessed to have a lot love in my life. And if I have a story then its a story of love and how that helps heal or helps you to get through, helps you to go on and realize that one day as wish you weren't here but you realize this too shall pass and love helps you to go on.