More Than a Teacher, My Latest Role

My dad got out of a nursing home last week (people don’t typically leave those places), and given his age and condition, he could use around the clock help and supervision. So I am wearing the hat of full time caregiver along with my mother and his aide, and I am thankful I can handle all of this!

This new position has required me to practically move back in with my parents (I have not given up my home, though :-), but this is after being on my own since I was 23 years old! My mom doesn’t have the frequent memory lapses, or ask repetitive questions or make repetitive statements like my dad does, but I do administer her medication because she has had more than one slip up, but I will save that for another article.

I am not only an extra set of hands and feet, but an extra pair of eyes, also. I distribute all their medicine, as I already mentioned. I don’t know if this will be a long term thing, but I know I am where I need to be now. One thing I have learned, is that whenever the universe has called you to do something that requires MORE of yourself, do it because if you don’t, you are passing up a chance to make a difference. When you don’t take the opportunity to help, you are the one losing.95CC7B90-376C-48E7-A3AD-7B36DD1AF0F6.png

My dad has general weakness (due to his heart disease) and he’s on oxygen. Interestingly enough, when I watch him and my mom socialize (more like, hear them from my bedroom where I spend most of my time there), it seems like he never left! You can tell they are happy he is finally home, and I am also!

Sometimes in life we have to make sacrifices, and it may not seem right or even comfortable to make the choice to give up so much of our free time, or to change our regular pattern and lifestyle, but keep in mind that Jesus did not come to teach us to be independent, but to depend and rely on one another! 

I have been on my own for so long and have always had an adventurous spirit. I have sought out to get what I can out of life and have tired myself just to make my dreams come alive! I am all about opportunity and freedom. I believe that all too often we put ourselves first, though, and not attend to others. We live in what seems to be a “me me me” culture.

Living with my parents takes me back to my past, and it was imperfect, I didn’t have the best of childhoods. I searched for God a lot before my accident, meaning, I knew he was there, and I strongly felt his presence. But I wanted to understand him better. I knew he was greater than what I was experiencing.

Through my accident, I got to know him, and really saw his love through others. The people who were fighting for my life (my doctors and nurses), family, and friends (who visited) were the ones that helped me during those difficult times! You see, we need each other.

And now is the greatest time to reach out, take yourself outside of your comfort zone, and attend to someone even through a simple phone call or visit. Make a difference!

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored Not Without God: A Story of Survival. Her stories have been featured in various guest articles, medical journals, magazines, newsletters, and 200+ of her very own articles. She works as an English teacher in the Detroit area and has been an educator for twenty years. She’s had the privilege of working with thousands of students from different backgrounds and parts of the world. She’s taught at automotive corporations like General Motors, Nissan, Toyota, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz. She’s worked with numerous children and accumulated many jobs. Zina began her own teaching services incorporating math and other subjects. She currently home-schools at churches and teaches creative and structured writing as well as other Language arts courses. Zina’s goal is to help others overcome adversity. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

 

Are You Grieving?

Grief can be an interesting thing. You may be grieving and not even know it. Life can take you through phases, and sometimes it takes a while to adjust to the fact that things aren’t going to be the same. But you will eventually accept them and even see life through a different lens.

Never believe you’ve hit a dead end. Life has a myriad of opportunities that await us. Keep a good attitude. You may think you cannot accomplish something, or that it is too late. But life is full of new beginnings!

It can take a long time to accept your circumstances. Denial is the first stage. But you will be happy. You will smile and believe. You will hope. You will plan. You will open your heart to new experiences again!

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A Moment of Thanks – An Excerpt from My Book

“All you need to know is that someone cares. A small detail, but it’s enough to turn your life around. Love changes things.” ~Zina

While in the hospital at sixteen I kept a journal, and each night at midnight—under my covers, with a flashlight in one hand and a pencil and pad in the other with music playing in the background—I would write. Here is one journal entry:

Dear God,

I believe You are with me—listening and answering my prayers. I feel lucky to have You. I’ve opened my heart, and I’m trying to more. I don’t know how I got so lucky because before the accident, I didn’t know how You worked. But now I have found myself, I know who I am, what I want, and where I’m going.

I was thankful God saved me, and because of the outpouring of love and support from family, friends, hospital staff, and even families of the other children– I felt worthy. I think love has the power to do that, take a broken teenager, and make them feel whole.

In moments of despair I can revisit this place, it will make anything I’m upset about small. Can you be thankful for a time in your life when things could’ve been worse? Focus on how God’s saving grace helped you. It is an act of THANKSGIVING!

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages. Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming challenges, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, guest blogs, newsletters, medical journals, and other publications. To learn more about Zina visit: http://zinahermez.com.

“Love Conquers All”

“Love is a force that is able to heal the worst of situations.” ~Zina Hermez

It’s one of my favorite quotes from my forthcoming book, Not Without God: A Story of Survival. Love helped me heal from my accident on Oct. 18, 1994. The love from friends and family, and the love at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital was incomparable. It emanated from the doctors, the nurses, even the families of children who were ill. There was this energy I can’t explain, but it translated into a lot of love.

The reason I wrote Not Without God, is to share my story and how I healed from a catastrophic accident that left me paralyzed as a teen. I hope that through reading my book, others will be inspired and overcome their own challenges of any kind. I pray that through my story, others will be able to get insight into how to heal.

Today I’m grateful for the abilities I have and the ability to walk at all, and I have not given up. I went from being a popular teen to alone and handicapped. I was on a breathing machine. I could not talk. I could not move. I could not eat solid food in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for nearly a month. The only way to communicate was to write.

People tell me “you’re so strong” all the time. Perhaps I am; but for me to be here is a part of God’s plan. He controls everything. We have to understand that everything happens by Him and for Him. I think sometimes people have this misconception that they are rewarded because of their effort or hard work and things they do. Good things happen to them, and they get surprised when bad things occur. But God allows suffering sometimes. No matter how much I’ve been through, it’s nothing compared to what Jesus went through.

Today is Palm Sunday: the first day of Holy Week. Easter is on Sunday, April 20. No matter what our burdens, let us carry them and follow after Him.

But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. —Isaiah 53:5