When An Anniversary Stings

When An Anniversary Stings

I had a tough day this week. Maybe it was the weather, the unending rain and clouds, or maybe it was simply my lack of plans. But for whatever reason, February 12 was particularly hard for me this year.

On that day, twenty-one years ago, I was paralyzed. In six short hours, transverse myelitis attacked my body and it left me without the use of my legs.


The memories would not leave me alone. I wheeled into my sunroom and parked my wheelchair beside my favorite window, searching the sky for signs of my friend, the sun as I began my morning quiet time readings. But the thick gray mist invited reflection, pushing play on memory tapes that are too important to forget.

And I cried.

Perhaps the magnitude of a moment is missing until we look back. Maybe we’re so busy slugging out the day-to-day issues that we can’t see the bigger picture. The horror of what just happened. The ripples that last and affect a lifetime.

In the early stages of writing my book, one writing instructor suggested the class pretend our books were on the bestseller lists (so fun!) and asked us to craft a one-sentence summary. Here was one draft of mine:

Nine days after her divorce was final, a healthy 38-year-old mother of four, two with special needs, wakes up with strange shooting sensations in her legs that paralyze her.

Gulp. Glad no one asked me to summarize any earlier. What a dark theme song that would be!

Yet, we can’t ignore reality. Sometimes life hurts. Anniversaries sting.

Even so, I knew I would get through that day – and for twenty years I have. Some years are going to be harder than others. I knew that, too.

I also know I’m a fighter. I don’t like to lose. Paralysis has already taken so much – was I going to let it have any more of my life?

And with that thought, I pivoted.

What can’t it take from me?

It can’t take my ability to love, my capacity to grow, my willingness to learn and problem-solve. It may limit me, but not my ability to manage, to focus, to accept what I can’t change and get on with rethinking what is possible, despite paralysis.

As my father used to tell me, “Ten percent of life is what you make it; ninety percent of life is how you take it.”


Attitude is everything. A shift in focus is a shift in attitude.

How about you? How do you get through an anniversary day that stings? Tell me about it. I’d love to know.

My best – always,

Becky  (Neehah! Note the new name!)

P.S. So honored with a wonderful Kirkus review. Here’s a snippet:

“In her poignant and courageous book, Galli pulls no punches. Rage, tears, frustrations, denial, and doubts spill from the pages through articulate, conversational prose. She shares the intimate complexities of her new reality-bathroom complications, the dangers of unfelt skin abrasions, and mysterious pains where there are no other sensations. Acceptance was slow in coming, but fierce determination lifts the narrative tone: ‘Life isn’t about what you’ve lost, but about what you’ve learned – and what you do with what you have left.’ A touchingly honest and thought-provoking account that focuses on resilience.”
-Kirkus Reviews

P.S.S. A special thanks to those who have written Amazon.com reviews of my book. They mean so much to me personally as I navigate the ups and downs of this writing life of mine. If you have the time and inclination, it would mean the world to me if you considered writing an honest review.

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