Woman on the RISE – Carey Mazzaroni
“The only way on earth to multiply happiness is to divide it.”
Well, I suppose we all know how we got here, scientifically, but how our “who” gets here is of a different depth. Our, “we”, my, “I”, is the scientific portion of our life. We traveled here through DNA; interesting for some, not my cup of tea. Our, “who” is “who” we are and why we are “who” we are. Not our genetic coding, but our “who’s” hurts, fears, experiences, triumphs, downfalls, the times we fell; whether it be a little or downright rock bottom, how we had to learn to pick ourselves back up with or without any help, our triumphs, our “who’s” joys, tears, screams, knots in our bellies, love, death, the blessing of our children; you get the point.
My “who”, well, has seen a lot, felt a lot, experienced a lot and all at an early age. Most people, well the people who know my story, all of it, have said, “Carey, most people in their 50’s, hell even their 60’s and 70’s have not experienced and been through what you have.” Some of it I brought upon myself and some I had absolutely no control over, unfortunately. I know there are people who have.
On March 13th, 2010, I was in a bad car wreck. From this wreck, I suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury, which caused seizures, amongs many other things, including compromised relationships and self esteem, memory, even taste; yes taste!! I have and still at times do not even feel as if I know who I am; who I was. I also have other medical conditions; quite a few that impair me. This made me depressed and I can’t say that at times it still doesn’t. One of the other many symptoms from my brain damage is being overly empathetic from what the neuropsychologist reported. This is the one symptom that I feel is iffy, as I was already a little sappy, but was able to hold in a good cry. Now, my level of empathy is very high. And not only that, from being so down on myself and literally calling myself stupid all the time to myself and aloud, my empathy was for myself. Can we say, “There are so many people who have it worse than you!!?”
A family member, Brett Bobbitt Williamson and her husband George Williamson had my nephew, Lawson in 2009. On the 3rd day of his life he was taken to the NICU at McLeod Hospital because he was “breathing funny”. The 4th day they were told that Lawson had multiple heart defects and would require an emergency surgery, and there was a helicopter on its way to take him to MUSC in Charleston SC. The 5th day, Lawson had open heart surgery for a coarctation of the aorta. During the surgery Lawson’s vocal chord was paralyzed. This became a complication for many reasons. Reflux caused him to aspirate. The vocal chord paralysis also caused him to not be able to eat orally. Lawson would head back to surgery. He would have a “nissen” (they would wrap the top of his stomach around his esophagus) and also insert a “g”-tube in his stomach. After a 6 week stay in Charleston they were finally able to bring Lawson home for the first time. Lawson’s medical term for his heart defects is called Shone’s Complex. This is a very rare multiple heart defect. This is what changed my direction of empathy. I always knew how extremely blessed I was the day I gave birth to my son, Thomas Clarke Moss on July 31st, 1998. He was healthy. I brought him home with me. When I heard Brett talk about Lawson, and saw the look of concern her eyes, not just a family member, but a mother, I felt like a self absorbed idiot. All that mattered to me was that my child was healthy. “God, you can do anything you want to me, just please let my baby live the long life I dream of him to.” Every mother’s prayer, right? The friend who was with me when I visited Brett & Lawson talked with me after we left. I was upset because Lawson was going to have to have another surgery. I couldn’t drive because of my seizures and I said, “I wish there was something I could do!” I was tearing up. She looked at me and said, “Well, let’s do something. We can do it. Let’s think of something.” And Lord knows, we didn’t know what we were doing, but we did it! It was great! I always rode motorcycles. I loved it!!! But after my wreck, what I loved so much and always couldn’t wait for; getting together riding with my friends, became a fear, not that I haven’t tried on more than one occasion. For Lawson, I created a fundraiser ride and with the help of others in the community, was able to raise a healthy amount to help a family in dire need. So this, this reaching out to the community and bringing others together for a cause, helped in so many ways. And so it was, the birth of Lawson and this part of my “who” and why I love to do this.
Then there were others. People I knew would ask for help. Only one since Lawson have I personally known. I do not know Logan. I do not personally know her parents. I didn’t even know their last name until the other day. But what I do know is Logan is a child. Logan is a child who is in a battle with brain cancer. Logan likes Bob Segar a lot and her favorite song is “Turn The Page”, by Bob Segar of course. Logan likes the outdoors, softball, shopping for clothes and shoes, loves her family and hanging out with her friends. Logan is a 9th grader who is home schooled. Logan’s mother, Lacy was fired from her job from missing work to take care of her child who has brain cancer, for the second time and this time it is two tumors and it is inoperable. I know I talked to Logan’s mother for the first time today over the telephone and I know from the sound in her voice, she is grateful, scared, and hopeful, loves her only child and is in constant prayer for her daughter. I know that Logan’s mother hears her daughter talking about going to prom, getting married and having a wedding one day. So, imagine this is your child. That is all I’m asking people to do. Imagine. Help. Support. Be there. Pray. I mean, what better way to support and take care of your community? My opinion, take care of the people in it. I’ve seen the unbelievable community we live in come together and support the people who live in it. As Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home.” I could not be more happy and proud to call Florence, and our whole state of South Carolina, my home.
I hope everyone has enjoyed my extreme short story of my, “who”. I hope everyone realizes no matter, and I mean no matter what your “who” has been through, it is so very special, because your “who” is the very best and most important part of each and every one of you!
“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”
~ William James