2019-10-02 21:59

  Upon hearing her evaluation I became furious for I thought, "Who is she to tell me what I can or cannot do. She does not even know me. I am a very determined and stubborn person!" I believe it was at that very moment that I decided I would somehow, someday return to college.

  It took me a long time and a lot of hard work but I finally returned to the University of Texas in the fall of 1983 - a year and a half after almost dying. The next few years in Austin were very difficult for me, but I truly believe that in order to see beauty in life you have to experience some unpleasantness. Maybe I have experienced too much unpleasantness, but I believe in living each day to the fullest, and doing the very best I can.

  And each new day was very busy and very full, for besides attending classes at the University I underwent therapy three to five days each week at Brackenridge Hospital. If this were not enough I flew to Houston every other weekend to work with Tom Williams, a trainer and executive who had worked for many colleges and professional teams and also had helped many injured athletes, such as Earl Campbell and Eric Dickerson. Through Tom I learned: "Nothing is impossible and never, never give up or quit."

  Early, during my therapy, my father kept repeating to me one of his favorite sayings. I have repeated it almost every day since being hurt: "Mile by mile it's a trial; yard by yard it's hard; but inch by inch it's a cinch."

  I thought of those words, and I thought of Tom, my family and Sharon who believed so strongly in me as I climbed the steps to receive my diploma from the Dean of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas on that bright sunny afternoon in June of 1986. Excitement and pride filled my heart as I heard the dean announce that I had graduated with "highest honors", been elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and been chosen as one of 12 Dean's Distinguished Graduates out of 1600 in the College of Liberal Arts.

  The overwhelming emotions and feelings that I experienced at that very moment, when most of the audience gave me a standing 17)ovation, I felt would never again be matched in my life-not even when I graduated with a masters degree in social work and not even when I became employed full time at the Texas Pain and Stress Center. But I was wrong!

  On May 24, 1987, I realized that nothing could ever match the joy I felt as Sharon and I were married. Sharon, my high school sweetheart of nine years, had always stood by me, through good and bad times. To me, Sharon is my miracle, my diamond in a world filled with problems, hurt, and pain. It was Sharon who dropped out of school when I was hurt so that she could constantly be at my side. She never wavered or gave up on me.

  It was her faith and love that pulled me through so many dark days. While other nineteen year old girls were going to parties and enjoying life, Sharon devoted her life to my recovery. That, to me, is the true definition of love.

  After our beautiful wedding I continued working part time at the Pain Center and completed my work for a masters degree. We were extremely happy, but even happier when we learned Sharon was pregnant.

  On July 11, 1990 at 12:15 a.m. Sharon woke me with the news: "We need to go to the hospital… my water just broke." I couldn't help but think how ironic it was that my life almost ended in a convenience store and now on the date "7-11" we were about to bring a new life into this world. This time it was my turn to help Sharon as she had helped me over those past years.

  She was in labor for 15 hours. At 3:10 p.m. Sharon and I experienced the birth of our beautiful daughter, Shawn Elyse Segal!

  Tears of joy and happiness came to my eyes as our healthy, alert, wonderful daughter entered this world. We anxiously counted her 10 fingers and her 10 toes and watched her wide eyes take in the world about her. It was truly a beautiful picture that was 18)etched in my mind forever as she lie in her mother's waiting arms, just minutes after her birth. At that moment I thanked God for blessing us with the greatest miracle of all-Shawn Elyse Segal.

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