Yes, it's me, sorry I haven't blogged in a while. I was fortunate enough this past week to take an unexpected trip to California and accompany Bailey to the set of the television taping of "Splash."
If you've never heard of it, this is its first season on American TV and it spotlights a cast of celebrities who learn how to dive (even off the four story,10 meter, platform) and they are judged on their performance and technique with one celebrity being eliminated each week.
Through the power of social media and persistence by a friend of the Wind family, we were offered entry tickets to the taping of the season finale. This was very exciting to hear! It was unexpected but very welcomed news because, Olympic diver, Greg Louganis happens to be one of Bailey's idols and he also coaches the celebrity divers! It seemed perfect news to hear because Bailey is struggling to get back on the board and we all know she has tremendous promise and talent to share with us. She needs that one karate chop to get her confidence back in gear.
Personally, I felt that if we could get Bailey in front of Greg he might be the inspiration needed to re-motivate her. Little did I know about all the people we were going to meet. I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful trip full of kind, caring individuals. Let me share some of the incredible moments...
The day before the show was taped we were invited by Greg to spend the day at the practice pool with the celebrities as they each trained with a personal diving coach. How would we have ever known that three past Olympic diving coaches were on sight all day! Bailey had the opportunity to talk with them, seek advice, learn some motivational visual techniques and assist them as they worked with the celebrities. All three know Baileys future coach, Dave Parrington, in Tennessee. Seems the diving world is a small one at this elite stage.
Bailey also got to meet most all of the celebrities and they shared with her how they overcame their fears about getting on the diving boards and platforms to perform their dives. As most all of us can agree, there's no way we would ever consider diving from four stories up. We would need to be pushed probably - if we even ever agreed to climb the stairs!!! These celebrities have never taken a real dive in their lives and really worked hard trying their best. They practiced on trampolines and with harnesses around their waists to learn the skills. All I did was sit by the poolside watching with Bailey's mom and her Aunt Donielle yet looking up at the 10 meter platform was beyond intimidating. I had a pit in my stomach each time someone stood at the top and that was before they even dove or jumped!
I can say, whole heartedly, the day spent at the practice pool was among the most promising days I've experienced since Chris passed. My personal goal for this trip was not in meeting celebrities, it was gleaning as much time and advice from those who could motivate Bailey to stay on course with her diving career and college plans at the U of TN. That is something I, unfortunately, cannot help her with. All I can do is remind her she CAN do it and Chris wants her to stay on track!! I KNOW he wants to watch her from above as she excels and nails this sport. For me, I take satisfaction in knowing I have done my best to do what I can for Bailey but the frustration comes in knowing I have to work within the boundaries of things I can control. I cannot bring her boyfriend Chris back. I cannot bring her best friend Deanna back. I CAN reach out to anyone and everyone within my grasp to ask for help. Together we are a powerhouse. I know this because I have experienced it. Every one of you has given me virtual hugs and words of wisdom to help me and I will do the same for Bailey and for others.
I know the power of prayer. It works. I've gotten through close to five months now because of the prayers and sense of community I have been blessed with. I know working as a team and conquering fears is more powerful than ever trying to go it alone. People want to help, there's satisfaction and good feeling in assisting others. Plus there is that one other thing that I am reminded of daily; it's NOT my time to go, nor is it yours! God doesn't want me or you yet and so we need to do our best with the hand we now hold. There's room for improvement for all of us, even just the slightest touch.
In this instance, I can't say what will come of Bailey's future because that is up to her. I know I will continue to pray with all my might that she follow the path she laid out for herself before this accident occurred. I don't want the accident to sideline her. I want it to inspire her. It has its place in her life and her world but it doesn't have to hold her back. In fact I believe it will make her stronger. Her life story can either collapse or flourish. I prefer flourishing! Good needs to come of this tragedy and nothing would make me prouder than to watch her excel and overcome. My son dated a winner.
I know Christopher is right there agreeing with me, and probably yelling at her to get up and get on with things. She has too much potential to cave in. It would be a waste of diving talent but more so a waste of a love of life. Bailey is full of goodness and it needs to be shared. I pray it happens and I'm doing my part to push for it.
Look up some of these names if you want to see the incredible talent we were fortunate to spend the day with: Greg Louganis, David Boudia, Steve Foley, Wendy Lerew, Scott Reich ,Cassidy Krug, Nicole Eggert, Drake Bell, Rory Bushfield, Hank Baskett and Pat McAffee.
Who knew I would meet an Indianapolis Colt and a Philadelphia Eagle at a diving practice???? My son loved NFL football and the Eagles were his favorite team. Nobody needs to tell me God works in mysterious ways! Hank and Pat were very important s parts of my trip and I will add they were two of the nicest people I had conversations with. I know I'm blessed as I found inspiration on this trip too! I was going for support purposes and reaped an unplanned reward myself.
May I also add that my desire for Bailey to get back into the swing of life is not solely aimed at her. It is directed at each one of us. These sorts of tragedies can derail all of us in many ways, even those who didn't know the kids. I beg each one of you to learn that good outweighs bad all the time. Grieve and be sad for any of your problems but know enough to realize you can't let it stall you.
I'm thankful to be able to grab myself (when I'm low) and realize that Chris wouldn't want me to stay there. What is the benefit? There isn't one. It becomes selfish when it goes beyond sadness to debilitating. When life is so gloomy there seems no point. I feel fortunate to say I don't feel like this, but I see some who do right now and it's frustrating. I have the heaviest heart every single day and I miss my son so desperately. Some days it feels as though my heart is going to leap straight out of my chest, through my skin and bones, hit the ground and stop beating. It's not going to happen, that's irrational, but I do think it. On the flip side though, I have also been blessed with two of God's greatest creations - my boys! I held and nurtured one for seventeen years and he was a treasure. I have memories galore and pictures to remind me and love in my heart that runs deep. (I think I'll keep my heart inside my chest cavity for now thanks). My remaining son is still here before my eyes and I adore him. God is granting me the opportunity to watch him flourish and grow and I am so thankful. I will continue to do for Jeremy all the things I can and I pray to sit at his college graduation next year as he crosses the stage in person for his diploma. I pray to see him though medical school and move on to his professional career and enjoy a personal life that fulfills him and brings him tremendous joy. I have much to look forward to, as do you!
Please make the most of your days, your experiences and your life. It passes quickly. Make it count!
Let me take just a moment to thank my high school classmates and alumnae from The Academy of the Holy Names. They sent me on this trip!!! None of this past week’s events were gifted to us. The offer of entry to the show was the only certainty (which was free to everyone fortunate enough to get in and we were guests of Greg Louganis). My high school was behind me financially to make this happen. I so appreciate the opportunity to escort Bailey and witness her conversations with the trainers and see her smile. I was dragged to the Hollywood walk of fame and through the fancy homes in Beverly Hills just for fun. I couldn't have asked for a nicer few days away knowing my son was happy I accompanied her. I could feel his presence daily and it made my heart happy. I felt like I was doing something to help as Bailey navigates her new life. My heartfelt thanks to all my AHN classmates for your generosity. You did good ladies!!!
Here's hoping each of you has the insight to recognize you have two ways to go in the face of a problem; you can collapse and fall or you can dig deep, find strength and push forward. I pray you find strength. You only need the tiniest tidbit to get started, those around you will pull you the rest of the way. I've experienced it and I recommend it. Please, please, please dig deep, don't give up!
Thank you for reading.