Friday, April 18, 2008

April 18th, 1998


The original Sigma Chi House, Chattanooga, TN


On a completely personal note I must write what today means to me....

10 years ago today April 18th, 1998 I was in a fraternity house fire here in Chattanooga. To make a long story short...I was the last one out of the house - and I escaped by jumping out of the top story window. I was burned over half my body, broke my back and broke both feet. I was in the burn unit for 5 weeks and had 4 surgeries- and rehab for 2 months. I lost 87% of my muscle mass and basically had to be taught how to do everything again. They originally said I would never walk again -but I overcame that after 10 weeks in a wheelchair. It was a horrible 3 months - with much pain and heartache - but I still felt lucky to be alive - and had the support of my amazing family to get me through it all. Since then I have had several more surgeries, staph infection, etc. I have scars that I can't hide - but they remind me every day how lucky I am. Please take this day to tell people you love them....not to sound morbid but you may never get the chance again....

Today I wrote this to my friends and family - but I thought I should post it on here so you could learn a little more about me.

"April 18th, 1998 - a day that almost took my life, but in the end changed my world for the better. From this day I have been given a new outlook on life, become a stronger person, great relationships with fantastic friends and family, cherished godchildren, a nephew and a niece that I love like my own, and above all the love of my life Corey, who loves me scars and all - and as his wedding band says "you were worth it all". Not a day goes by that I don't thank god that I am alive . Believe me I still have hard times, and I have days when I feel sorry for myself, but I always get back up and going and remember that there was a reason I was saved that day....I may never know what it was for, but I believe everything happens for a reason. Something good always comes from bad moments.

I remember this day like it was yesterday and I am having a hard time believing that it has already been 10 years. The past 10 years have brought the following: more surgeries (staph infection, hysterectomy), marrying my soul mate, a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, several moves with our dream homes in each city, a fur baby that brings joy to my life every day, owning my own gift shop, becoming a godmother, becoming an aunt (twice), adoption heartbreak, meeting my best friend, random jobs that introduced me to great friends, finding out what I love to do with Ivey Handcrafted (even though I always knew I would try and follow in my mom and daddy bob's footsteps), learning more and more about myself - and living my adventure alongside my partner.

If you have learned anything from knowing me in the last 10 years, I hope it is that you learned you should live life to its fullest and NEVER EVER let a day go by that you don't tell the people in your lives that you love them.....take it from me - you never know if you will be able to tell them again.

Life is short....if you don't love what you do - change it, if you don't love where you live, move - enjoy your life, cherish your friends and family - and thank god that you are in this world and able to live every day. I wish I could thank you individually - but I hope you each know how much I love you. I thank all of you for everything you have done for me over the years, whether it be sending a card or a package, driving to visit, phone calls, emails - or just being with me when I needed a friend - everything you have done for me has been appreciated and always will be. As I have said many times before I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

I can't write this without thanking one person - because everyone needs to know how incredible she is (even though most of you already do)
My mom - she stopped her life for me....and her life became me....I will never ever be able to repay her - she is the TRUE meaning of a mom - and I only hope I can be a mother like she has been to me. I love you momma....I HOPE YOU DANCE

Thanks again - and I love you all....I thank God I survived but I know I couldn't have done it with all of you either....you are all a cherished part of my world.

With forever love,
Tobi

11 comments:

Amy said...

Wow. What an amazing story. You have such a great outlook on life!

Ivey Handcrafted said...

Thanks Amy - I have been very blessed all around!! I feel like a very lucky girl!

Brittany said...

Beautiful girl you are such an inspiration. I am so glad I meet you and am glad I was able to share with you on your day! Thank you for reminding us to celebrate life and to cherish every moment!

Ivey Handcrafted said...

thanks brittany...I love you gir!

Jimmy said...

I think that was the most inspirational thing I have ever read. You are awesome!

Natalie said...

You are truly blessed. Your story is a reminder that life is too short...and so many of us forget that. I am so happy that you are doing well now.

stacie said...

I can personally say after getting to know you that you are a light...you radiate goodness and I know you live what you say every minute...
You are really wonderful!

Ivey Handcrafted said...

thanks everyone...you are making me blush :)

Fog and Thistle said...

I read this several days ago and I was just at a loss for words to respond to this story immediately after reading it. I found it profoundly moving and inspiring. What determination and such a positive message you share with all your readers. Thank you for sharing something so personal. You are pretty amazing!

Ivey Handcrafted said...

thanks - I figured I would share it on here - because this blog has been a great outlet for me...personally and for my business. I figure I should let myself out there! XOXO

JLC Studio said...

Wow! This actually brought me to tears...thank God that you survived this and have seemingly taken something that could have been so tragic, and using it to inspire others (including me) to be thankful for and cherish what we have! Thanks for posting this and sharing your incredible story! You are a true inspiration!!!!