This YouTube video is of the 36th National Veterans Wheelchair Games, in Salt Lake City, in which I took part. I thought I would share it so you all can see a bit of the types of events I, as well as all the friends I have made over the last 9 years, take part in the course of a week. Enjoy!
I have been here in Salt Lake City, Utah, since Sunday afternoon. When you are in the sun during the day, it is like sitting in an oven (not that I’ve ever actually sat in an oven). But yesterday morning was cloudy, and there was a little breeze. I wasn’t doing anything until 1pm, so I went sight-seeing (and looking for a drug store). It was really nice and I took a lot of pictures. You can check some of them out on my Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/vanbenschotenk. Here is a good sample of what I’ve seen and done since Monday morning.
During the past four days, I have pushed myself to compete in four events during the National Veterans Wheelchair Games here. I have bowled Silver medal), ran the motorized slalom (an obstacle course for power chairs – gold medal), played 9-ball with two other women, both of whom I already knew (bronze medal), and played Boccia Ball (no medals, just had fun… I was winning until the last round, when my opponent pulled ahead with a final score of 4-3).
But it’s not about those medals! It’s about grit and determination, friends and fun, and great competition. Having MS, I suffer from fatigue most of the time and it’s with a lot of effort that I go out and compete like this. And I don’t only do it here. I also take part in the Valor Games (for veterans with all disabilities), in Chicago and San Antonio, where I push myself a lot more to succeed.
Now I am looking at participating in new events through other types of games all over the country. I also have set a goal to go back to the gym on a regular basis, participate in adaptive sporting clinics, and get myself out of that recliner, where I normally spend most of my time.
I want to get stronger, and more active, pushing through the pain and fatigue and succeeding in doing the most I can do and not give in to this disease (MS).
That will take pushing myself to do more, all that I can do, with determination and grit. I will not give up!
Another year has passed away,
I haven’t had a lot to say,
It’s hard to express all that’s there,
It’s hard to find someone who’ll care.
I often think I’m on my own,
But, in many ways I’ve grown,
No longer need help every week,
Though, it sometimes I do seek.
I am a stronger person now,
I got here but I’m not sure how,
Perhaps it’s faith of what’s above,
And His all abiding love.
I received a gift today,
I want to find the words to say,
Thank you all who’ve held me near,
Thank you all who’ve held me dear.
Throughout the years I’ve often heard,
That action speaks, louder than words,
I hope my actions really show,
To all of those I’ve come to know.
Thank you God for the love you give,
Thank you friends who’ve helped me live,
Through a year of growth and pain,
A new year has now come again.
A fissure on Fimmvörðuháls, by Henrik Thorburn
To look at me you wouldn’t know,
The things inside that grow and grow.
The outside that is calm and cool,
Every one of you, I try to fool.
But the fool is really me,
Hid inside, no one can see,
But sometimes things come boiling out,
The fire you’ll see, have no doubt.
But with the fire the tears do come,
It may seem childish to some,
But the hurt runs down my face as tears,
Easing some hurt from long passed years.
The tears wash away some pain,
A better outlook, I might obtain,
This outlook helps me to see,
When I’m not how I should be.
I’m all alone, it’s time to start,
Looking deep within my heart.
What is it I so desperately need,
But no one ever seems to heed?
I can’t always make someone be,
Ever available to me.
People have lives of their own,
They try to tell me how I’ve grown.
But on my own I do not see it,
On my own I do not feel it,
All I know is that I want,
Someone to help with things that haunt,
Deeply buried inside my heart,
Feelings I’ve felt from the start,
Things no one should have to bear,
Things that always need someone to care.
I’ve been told that something is better,
But somehow that scares me inside.
Do I want to go back there?
What is it I’m trying to hide?
It scares me to need less than I do now,
Would then every one ignore me?
I know not what I need, or how,
I wish that someone could see.
I’ve been wounded oh, so deep,
The depth is bottomless it seems,
There are things I just want to keep,
To fulfill those deep-rooted dreams.
Tomorrow I go once again to talk,
Of all those deep-seated needs.
To hear that something is better,
Is beyond all I could ever believe.
I know that I’m a few days late, and Mother’s Day has come and gone. But the day did bring you to mind. I feel obligated to wish you a happy mother’s day and so I am writing this letter. You left us almost a year and a half ago, and it felt bad, but not for long. The only time I cried, was the last time I saw you, lying there in that hospital bed.
Do I miss you? Mostly no, but there are moments when I still think, “I want to tell Mom about . . . oh, I can’t. But during my 50+ years on this earth, life was very unpleasant with both of you alive. I had moved away long before Dad passed, and I really cried at his funeral.
At your funeral, I sat right in front of you, with your sister, and my sister-in-law on either side. Your sister cried. I believe she was the only one; maybe she didn’t really know how you were. I also think that losing a sister would make me cry as well, but I only have brothers.
You made home, a scary place to be. I never knew, when I got up each day, if it was going to be good or bad. Oddly enough, I carried that fear away from home, both as a child, and even as an adult. While you were still here, you had control over me, because I allowed it. The act of saying ‘no’ wasn’t even my vocabulary. You taught me well.
Oddly enough, that part of you that I feared, still controls my life. I can’t tell the neighbor lady, “No, I just want to go home.” or maybe “No, I want to go by myself.”
You are present in almost all my relationships, both professional and personal. Thank you Mom for that gift, and I hope you had a Happy Mother’s Day.
Your only daughter,
There’s nothing much inside of me,
As much as feelings go,
Only a few people see,
But I still can’t say no.
Like a jug, a very small top,
For things to pour inside,
That doesn’t even help me stop,
Wanting to run and hide.
There’s really no place I can go,
A place, to me, that’s safe,
And so I run to and fro,
Seeking another place.
A place where no one is ever mean,
Where no one raises a hand,
That place is deep inside of me,
A place that I can stand.
I can always put up a wall,
So no one sees inside,
But then how, if at all,
Am I to take a side?
Take a stance where I am strong,
A stance where I am free,
Then it will not take too long,
To fill up, the inside of me.
– van –
All I feel or do today,
Is based on time long ago,
When nothing right came my way,
How else was I to know?
I still feel the fear from days gone by,
The fear I’d feel that hand,
Somewhere not seen by the eye,
How could anyone understand?
They all thought that I was bad,
And I felt guilt ridden,
That life was all I had,
So, I must be bad then.
That little one inside of me,
Is still in there somewhere,
But still, very few really see,
And so they don’t dare to go there.
There to where the ache runs deep,
Deep inside my soul,
There to where the secrets keep,
Me buried in that hole.
I feel the need to climb up out,
And stand up all alone.
And to all who can hear me shout,
I don’t want to be cold as stone.
– van –