Kansas City to Denver

I grew up in Kansas City near the Missouri state line, which has some mild terrain, but is nothing like the flat,  mind numbing expanse stretching west towards Denver. I remember the many trips from Kansas City to Denver, departing from around 1,000 feet above sea level to the Mile High City at about 6,000 feet. The climb is very subtle, with an almost imperceptible ascent of 8 feet per mile. Along the way, you notice the varied heights of the corn and the oil jacks dotting the Kansas landscape—markers of progress in the otherwise monotonous drive.

Looking back, it’s the destination that justifies the journey’s tedium. Upon arrival, you’re rewarded with fresh mountain air, the scent of pine, and breathtaking vistas—a worthy prize for the endurance of the trip

In a way, it mirrors the journey my kids are on. They’re aware of their destination and are committed to the tedious, arduous tasks required to get there. I’m continually humbled by their tenacity as they face the challenges each day brings.

Brooks is now enrolling in remote college classes to strengthen his focus and prepare for a full return to academic life in the fall. His rehabilitation is ongoing, and his engagement in various activities is inspiring.

Lauren’s journey, though distinct, is marked by her incredible self-awareness and bravery. Despite frustrations and the acute awareness of not being where she once was, she finds solace in the improvements she’s made over the weeks and months. Recently, I caught myself spiraling into a ‘why her, not me?’ mindset after witnessing her struggle with a task. It’s a heavy burden of wishful thinking. Watching a video of Lauren taking her first steps after waking from a coma stirred a complex mix of sorrow for what she’s endured and elation for how far she’s come.

Like the gradual climb from Kansas City to Denver, progress seems scarce when living in the moment. Yet, when we glance in the rearview mirror, the strides made become evident.

On some days, progress feels as negligible as the 8-foot climb per mile. But as we piece together the journey through videos and memories, we realize the remarkable progress made. The Rockies of recovery may not yet loom before us, but with hope and faith, we trust they’re on the horizon, regardless of how long the road may be.

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