Social media can be a connection to a whole new world. Kristen, Andrea, and Monica met in an online support group for wives and girlfriends of quadriplegics. The three found comfort in each other as they shared similarities involving their significant other’s spinal cord injury. The trio found that not only were they united in dealing with paralysis, but their families' personalities just seemed to click.
Kristen and her family live in Las Vegas. So, a suggestion was made that the families meet in Vegas, as it is full of attractions. Plans were made, flights and hotels were booked, and before the families knew it a social media connection became real life!
Andrea and Monica arrived in Vegas with their families. Kristen and her family welcomed their friends with a dinner at the hotel the two families were staying at. Kristen says that her daughter could barely contain her excitement as she ran to greet her new friends.
“And there, in the crowded casino of a Las Vegas hotel, the bonds of a unique friendship were forged. There must have been a million eyes on us that evening. Three quadriplegics in power wheelchairs pulled up to a long table on the cafe patio. Three wives helping their husbands to varying degrees with their dinner and drinks. Three little girls sipping root beer and chocolate milk, giggling their way through their meals.”
The group met at Kristen’s house the next day. Kristen states that the three little girls were in heaven as their day consisted of activities such as tea parties, karaoke, splashing in the spa, painting toenails, and sneaking snacks.
“It was extra special meeting other quad fathers with similar age daughters and watching them interact. Only they are able to understand the angst of wanting to be able to do more with your daughter but also finding joy in the simplest moments that you are able to share."
The adult conversation topics were said to range from funny to solemn - from shocking to serious. The couples compared wheelchair gadgets and equipment used in daily life. The guys shared injury stories. The ladies discussed what it was like having a spouse who was paralyzed. Everyone learned from each other and gained a different perspective.
“As we talked, I watched how these women moved around their husbands. How they helped them with things like taking a sip of a drink or putting food in their mouths, or helping them put on a sweater. How they did it all without missing a beat in the conversation. And I realized that this is what I must look like when I'm helping Jeff. It was my first time seeing the dance from the outside - seeing how husband and wife move together as a synchronized unit.”
The group found out that another couple from the online support group was in Vegas. They welcomed the couple to their get together. “Our house was so full! Full of hugs and laughter. Full of questions and answers. Full of sharing and learning. Full of understanding,” says Kristen.
"Watching all 3 groups (the ladies, the quads and the daughters) instantly connect, laugh and talk effortlessly made my heart happy. Instead of stares, pity, questions, misunderstanding and judgement, we were all surrounded by smiles, empathy, understanding and love."
These families show just how significant camaraderie can be. Do you and your friends share a special bond? Share your story with us at AbleThrive.com!