Losing a loved one and being diagnosed with a critical illness would destroy someone’s life. Yet, one amazing woman has bounced back stronger than ever.
By all accounts, 37-year-old Riona Kelly of Halifax, Yorkshire got off lucky. While a car accident 18 months prior shook her up, she had her health and was able to walk.
But one day would change all of that drastically in ways she couldn’t imagine.
Rushed to the hospital with a spinal stroke leaving her paralyzed from the waist down, she heard the words anyone dreads to hear.
“Doctors told me I would never walk again,” she recalled to the Sun.
However in a cruel twist, she’d soon lose more than just her mobility.
A Husband Deserts His Wife
Just five days into her hospital stay, Kelly says that her husband of fourteen years called it quits on their marriage.
“It was the time I needed my husband the most.”
It left Kelly — a mother of four — alone to fend for herself in a scary new world in a wheelchair. Her lows were perilously low.
“The first time I went out in a wheelchair I thought everyone was looking at me, I hated it and hated myself,” she recalled, adding that she considered the worst.
“If someone had given me the choice I would have ended my life, I didn’t want to live anymore.”
She thanks her lucky stars for her friend Sarah and her kids for seeing through that dark period.
Riona Kelly was not ready to go out without a fight.
A Strong Woman’s Comeback Story
Kelly did physiotherapy around the clock, determined to get strength and feeling back in her legs. Then one day, despite what the doctors told her, she took her first steps on her own.
She says there are four great reasons as motivation to never give up.
“It took me 25 minutes to get up 16 steps, and the same time to come back down again, but I was determined to do it for my children.”
Amazingly, that’s just the first act of her incredible success story.
During her rehab, she met personal trainer Keith Mason. The two instantly hit it off.
“After our sessions, Keith and I stayed in contact, he would ask me how I was getting on and our relationship blossomed from there.”
It’s been a love song ever since.
“We have now been together for 11 months, the children really like him and I finally feel like I’m living the life I deserve.”
How One Woman Reminds Us to Walk Our Path
Kelly’s ex-husband Richard maintains that he told her of the divorce the morning before her stroke. Kelly’s just thankful that he’s in the rearview.
“Looking back, going through what I did was the best thing to ever happen to me.”
Against all odds, Kelly is literally walking away from her troubles. She only needs her wheelchair to walk longer distances. Like, for example, the two marathons she’s completed.
Who can imagine how lonely Kelly must have felt in that hospital in the weeks and months after her husband left her?
Author Ryan Holiday talks about two choices we have when faced with adversity. We can wallow in the ‘Dead Time — where we are passive and biding.’
Or, as Kelly chose, we can choose ‘Alive Time,’ where we are ‘learning and acting and leveraging every second towards their intended future.’
With friends and family as motivation, she chose life and is now living her best. Even at our darkest point, it’s a path available to us all.
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