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We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

Jacks Smack 081521

Always KNOW where that deployment handle is for your PARACHUTE.

And, KNOW that even if we successfully pull it, life may have something different in store for us. 

My son enters Appalachian State University this Fall. We both have been feeling the impending change. For the last few months we have been creating moments, rites of passage, to commemorate one of the most significant life changes – leaving home.

On our last mother/son, pre-college excursion, a trip to Los Angeles in July, we got some ink. Yes, we went to a tattoo establishment in Venice Beach and took the plunge. We each chose completely different art, selecting a design which spoke to us as individuals. But the shared experience was by mutual design. It was a wonderful bonding moment.

It’s been a weirdly emotional, not-so-sure-how-to-feel time for us both. Last minute “Let’s get dim sum one more time.” or “Let’s have one last family dinner.” have punctuated an otherwise mostly normal few weeks.

At the eleventh hour, we scheduled one more… “Let’s….”. 

My godson turned 18 August 8th and he asked to skydive. He requested my son join him and I immediately had two responses:

  1. No way my kid is jumping out of an airplane without me … as if I could protect him.
  2. Hey, what a great “Let’s….” 

Best Laid Plans:

Scheduled… now, there’s a word that makes me giggle.”

Every minute counts as they prepare to fly the coop. The only time slot available for the jump was the same day that we were scheduled to drive 3ish hours to Boone, NC in preparation for his move-in day/time at App. State.

I took it as a sign. How kuel to have two drop zones… the first, at Triangle SkyDiving Center… the second, his dorm room. The schedule was tight. Some may think it’s crazy to work so hard to fit in one more “Let’s…” But, that’s the way we roll around here.

Scheduled… now, there’s a word that makes me giggle. Yes, it was on my schedule. Yes, we had the logistics very well laid out. The skydiving facility was an hour away and in the wrong direction, but we figured it out. Cars packed. Family members at the ready to make all this happen, smoothly.

Needless to say that word “scheduled” has a whole new meaning to me now. I never made it to the second drop zone.

I am on a different journey now than the one I had “scheduled”. A skydiving accident completely derailed me and I am once again reminded of how little control we have over our lives. 

Given that this was my third jump — after two skydives brought on by an existential crisis when I turned 30 many, many years ago — my tandem instructor last week was comfortable with me actively participating in the jump. Donned with an altimeter and clear instructions to pull the chute when we fell to 6,000 feet, I climbed aboard the plane.

That “perfect” jump ended abruptly when my body slammed to earth seconds later.”

The jump was incredible. Not only did I get to deploy the parachute, he let me fly us around in free fall and handed over the controls to the parachute once fully open. It was an incredible experience. Everything was going perfectly, smoothly, and on schedule.

Until it wasn’t.

The Universe, on its own schedule, decided differently. That “perfect” jump ended abruptly when an errant gust of wind blew us violently off-course mere feet above the ground and my body slammed to earth seconds later. As my tailbone smacked the ground and I heard the cracking of bones, I realized that my scheduled life had instantly derailed. Immediately, thoughts soared into my brain: “I have f-ed up the rest of my life… I just paralyzed myself.”

I am not paralyzed. But, I have a long road to recovery with three compression fractures to my spine. 

I didn’t get to the second drop zone. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to my son as he left for college. Thankfully, his Dad is a rock star and managed the whole excursion on his own. Strangely enough, what hurts more than my back at times is the fact I didn’t get to make my son’s bed at school. I didn’t get to put his clothes in their respective drawers… underwear, t-shirts, sweaters, etc.. As if they would stay in those anyway.

Now I find myself facing an odyssey not of my choosing.”

Instead I spent 20 hours in the Emergency Room and now face quite a journey.

A mere three days ago I knew exactly where I was going and how I was getting there. Now I find myself facing an odyssey not of my choosing. But it’s unavoidable. I don’t get to pick a different one. 

So, now what?

I invite you all to join me in this pilgrimage back. If you are struggling with one of life’s many setbacks, reach out. We can do this together!

I’ll be documenting my lessons earned, along with my frustration, anger, sadness, and moments of victory in the hopes that it can help someone else.  If I can inspire one person who might be feeling overwhelmed with their own interruption to their regularly scheduled programming, it will be worth it for me.

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30 thoughts on “We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

  1. Roslyn Tanner Evans says:

    And I thought only young people feel invincible- nothing can go wrong. We warn our kids to “be careful”, ‘wear a sweater”, etc & off we go with a tight scheduled plan & a belief that nothing can go wrong. Sometimes the universe (in this case it was mother nature) sends us a message. So crappy this happened to you. Looking forward to the wisdom you will share from this painful experience.

    • Kuel Membership logo large
      Kuel Life says:

      Too funny…. I do thought only young people feel invincible… I certainly feel my mortality these days … this back break healing thing is way too slow for my liking. Thanks for reaching out! Hope you enjoy the unfolding of this process.

  2. Carol Zeller-Henderson says:

    Hello Jack! I just learned of your accident. I am so sorry for the injury. May I say I am impressed you have the energy to continue to blog! I’m sorry you missed being a part of your son’s move-in. Sending you a ton of good-healing-vibes!

    • Kuel Membership logo large
      Kuel Life says:

      Thanks Carol! So good to hear from you. If there is another good thing that came from this accident, it is fodder for Jack’s Smack… soooo much to write about. Hope you enjoy the unfolding of it all.

  3. Cat says:

    Oh my gosh – wishing you a speedy recovery. I love your resilient spirit though, and remember – while you didn’t get to organise a drawer, you created so many other amazing, unique memories with your son.

    • Kuel Membership logo large
      Kuel Life says:

      Thanks Cat! Funny, my kid has offered to make his room a big mess before I visit so I can “clean” it. As if it wouldn’t be a big mess already. We did make some unique memories – for that I am grateful.

    • Kuel Membership logo large
      Kuel Life says:

      Thanks Stephanie…. unless it was yesterday… this recovery is already way too slow. Sigh… I am working on making peace with it. And, I have learned so much from the experience. Stay tuned…

  4. Kay Newton says:

    Now that certainly is a Jack’s Smack! I loved my Tandem dive, also got pulled off track, luckily for me I only ended up with a bum full of nettles. Wishing you a speedy recovery special lady.

  5. Kris Rudarmel says:

    Oh dang!!! Ok I’ll just say it lol DAMN IT!!!
    So sorry I’ll keep you in my prayers 🙏

  6. Lori Lyons says:

    When Jack Smack’s into the ground! Ouch!! You so throw yourself into your work! Jack in all seriousness, prayers and healing thoughts to you. You are a warrior and rockstar!

    • Kuel Membership logo large
      Kuel Life says:

      So funny… YES… the SMACK part is pretty prevalent in this one. Thanks for the prayers and healing thoughts… I am absorbing amazing healing energy from our Kuel Life Community. I feel so lucky.

  7. Suzy Rosenstein says:

    wow, thank God you’re going to recover. I was sweating as I was reading this post. I so related to that feeling of squeezing “one more” thing in on the brink of empty nest – I remember almost feeling kind of panicky in that exact moment 8 years ago. Healing vibes and prayers on route. Hang in there. I’m so sorry and best wishes for a healthy recovery.

    • Kuel Membership logo large
      Kuel Life says:

      So glad you resonated with the “Let’s…” affliction. Right now I am definitely NOT trying to shove one more thing in. It’s going to be a process, for sure. Sorry about the sweating thing… xo

  8. Lisa says:

    I’m so sorry you had to go through this. Honestly, it reminds me once again that life can change in one second. Sending you much love and many positive thoughts in your journey! 💫💫💫💙

    • Kuel Membership logo large
      Kuel Life says:

      So crazy, isn’t it? In a nano-second everything can be turned upside down. We have zero control Thankfully, we can control how we react…. well, maybe NOT in that nano-second…but, eventually. xoxo

  9. Melanie says:

    Oh Jack!! Will be thinking of you lots, sending a big cyber hug your way. I’m so sorry you’re going through this AND had to miss setting your son up at school. You, my new friend, are a fighter with a great positive mindset. You will get through this, but take your time!! I’ll be following and cheering you along

    • Kuel Membership logo large
      Kuel Life says:

      Thanks Melanie. Your well wishes are greatly appreciated. We are all fighters.. in some way or another. I have learned quite a bit thus far in this “oops” of life… I look forward to sharing

  10. Mary Congdon says:

    I’m so sorry, and send healing Light for recovery that is conducive to living your best life, sooner than later once again. You’re a great Mom!❤️

    • Kuel Membership logo large
      Kuel Life says:

      So wonderful to hear from you, Mary. Thank you for the healing energy. I need any and all currently. If great Moms are ok letting their only baby leave a perfectly good airplane at 13,500 feet…. then I get the GOLD!! Tee Hee… couldn’t help myself.

  11. Lisa Selwitz says:

    What a scary moment that must have been! Heights terrify me, and there’s no amount of money you can pay me to jump out of a plane. But I give you so much credit for being open to new experiences and being such an awesome mom to Aidan. He’s a very lucky boy to have someone like you on his team! And kudos for turning this into a learning opportunity for all of us to dig into living with unexpected circumstances. Life is plan B.

    • Kuel Membership logo large
      Kuel Life says:

      Life is soooo Plan B… or C… or well, I think you get the picture. Thanks for the wonderful thoughts. I believe I am the lucky one with Aidan. He is a unique and interesting human. Someday I would love for you two to meet.

  12. jess says:

    Hi Jack,
    I have some had interruption of my regular scheduled programming recently! I’m going merrily along with my EDS under control, as well as my Gastroperesis. ( as good as can be) Then, one day I wake up with pain in my abdomen, burning below, and needless to say, I have been in bed for nearly 3 weeks. Endoscopy is on the horizon. Like you said, things go well, until they dont!
    I am in awe that you skydive period! I am afraid of heights! I love the “Let’s” in your article and how you wanted to share a bit more of those before your son went off to college. So sorry to hear of your injury and best wishes on your recovery.

    • Kuel Membership logo large
      Kuel Life says:

      Wow, Jess…. I hope that your condition is not too painful. Don’t you hate it when the Universe changes course on you without your permission? Yes, we are big “LET’S….” around here…. Here’s to your recovery too!

  13. Sheryl Wilson says:

    Our precious Jack! You are a Warrior! Thank you for knowing what you want in life, having no fear and going for it! God was telling you, your number is not up yet. You have much more to do and share with your loyal and devoted followers, one of them being me! You said something on the phone to me, once I found out that this unfortunate incident occurred, yet I know you loved the experience until that time. You said if your body had not been in good shape due to exercise and healthy living, this outcome could have been way worse! I hope you get into that a little bit more with your subscribers! I love you and am praying for a fast recovery! I am glad you have wonderful loving support around you!

    • Kuel Membership logo large
      Kuel Life says:

      Thanks Sheryl. Yes, not my turn… for that I am grateful. And yes, being physically fit made ALL the difference to how this turned out. You can be assured there will be a Jack’s Smack about THAT!! Keep those healing prayers coming… I can use them xoxo

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