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Spinal Cord Injury Community

The Life I Chose – The Road Less Traveled

Spinal Cord Injury Advocate
02/13/20  9:30 AM PST

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost

I grew up reciting this quote in my head as it was one my dad often quoted when talking about life. It was written on birthday cards, reflected on during hard times and referenced at retreats in high school. My dad is a man of few words, but they are meaningful and will stick with me forever, which is probably why, subconsciously, this quote pertains to where I am now in life.

My name is Katelyn Baker and I am the wife of a recovering quadriplegic. Aaron, my husband, was injured in 1999.  He was 20 and I was only 11 years old. We grew up on different ends of the spectrum. He was free to travel the country pursuing his career, and I was busy with cheerleading and getting into a good high school. We dated and loved many other people, and 13 years later, we ended up living in the same city which we had no reason to be living in. We met at a wedding, fell in love and have been together ever since. In a way, I chose him and the injury that first wedding day.

I write this blog to express my gratitude to other partners who have chosen their significant other and their injury. When my husband was injured, he and those around him had to accept and manage his spinal cord injury. And not to knock those who were with their significant others when they were injured and continued to stay, but there is something to be said for those who chose “the road less traveled.”

We have been able to see past the wheelchair, the bowel and bladder mishaps, the complete exhaustion and the swings of good and bad days. We love them despite all of the battles. We see them as we are, and not the minority.

In the beginning, it was a lonely “less traveled” road. I never met anyone with a spinal cord injury, let alone any kind of injury or disability. I did not know the right things to say, what to ask or who to turn to for advice. Sure, his family was around to be there as support, but being an intimate partner is much different than being a mom or sister. I did not have anyone to relate to. The women I met were with their boyfriends or husbands when the accidents happened, and they went through the process together. I was jumping in 13 years later, and trying to find my way. I compare it to building an IKEA table – all the pieces are there, but you do not have the instructions to see what it is supposed to look like or how to put it together.

I set off on this less traveled road. Being naive, not knowing what to do, and making mistakes along the way. We got engaged quickly (eight months after meeting), and I believe with all my heart, that the ring forced me to stay. That may sound cold or rude, but it is the truth. Aaron and I are both stubborn and strong-minded. If things are not going the right way, we quickly change course and do something differently. But the ring symbolized commitment, and it was a commitment that I had never known before. It is one thing for Aaron to say he loved me and wanted me around, but the ring said much more. It said, I am committed to showing you all – the good, bad and ugly – and I trust you to be on this hard road with me.

Now here we are, eight years later and about to celebrate five years of marriage. I am proud to have chosen this “road less traveled.”  I have learned more about myself on this road – to be more patient, aware and grateful. We still have our bumps and bruises along the way, but they serve as learning tools for us to grow from and get better. In the end, I will always choose the hard road with Aaron over the easy road with anyone else.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Comments

1 Comment

  1. David
    Posted February 27, 2020 at 12:59 pm PDT

    I’m awfully glad you wrote this blog I stumbled upon, Katelyn. On the night of November 30, 2005 I was blackout drunk and speeding when I ran my car into a stone wall. Amongst a myriad of other severe injuries, I had an SCI at T-10 rendering me a paraplegic. My girlfriend at the time dropped me immediately and I’ve only had 1 girlfriend since but she was also in a wheelchair and my feelings for her were tepid at best. I’ve argued with my family that no decent woman will ever want me again, or put up with the bowel and bladder issues, etc. Your post gives me hope I will find love again someday. Thank you!
    ps- That Robert Frost quote along with Emerson’s, “Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” have always been inspirational to me as well!

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