Saying Good-Bye

Sunday marks eleven years (11 YEARS!!!) since my car accident.

The anniversary always makes me evaluate, and re-evaluate, my life.

Where am I now?

Where was my life eleven years ago before the accident?

Where was I (and my how was my arm) five years ago …?

A year ago?

I’ll be honest and tell you I’m having a very bad week.

Paul Newman, at my last visit, informed me I’m not progressing and haven’t been for awhile.

Add to that a few personal issues, and …

Well, I’ve spent a good deal of this week in tears.

I even had a friend dismiss and minimize my arm-ordeal this week as “no big deal.”

Really?

I’ve spent eleven years of my life going through twelve surgeries,

Twelve recoveries,

Innumerable MRIs, painful injections, and “non-surgical” treatments,

Thousands of physical therapy treatments,

Hundreds of doctors visits.

I lost almost every friend I had 11 years ago.

I lost my entire life, as it was.

I fought like hell and endured horrific pain to build a very successful business doing what I love –

In spite of the fact I was told I’d never hold a camera again.

I’ve also LOST my entire business in the last year and a half due to my three most recent surgeries.

Between down time for surgeries/recoveries and the fact I can’t hold my camera for more than a few minutes –

How could my business survive?

I feel like my arm has taken everything from me … absolutely everything.

I am beyond discouraged and feel totally defeated.

I’ve fought like hell, but I haven’t won.

I believe I’ve reached, eleven years post-accident, the end of my arm journey.

I won’t say I’m “giving up” because I know I still have a few victories ahead of me.

I know, it’s likely I’ll regain a little more strength in my arm over my future years.

At least, I hope I will.

Maybe I’ll eventually be able to carry a cup of coffee?

I really want to be able to do that.

But –

I think, in large part, I’m done.

My arm has come as far as it will, and I’m emotionally worn out from hoping for a happy ending.

I’m grateful (so grateful!!) to be out of the worst of the pain.

The first decade was horrific – it really was.

There are no words to describe how bad it was.

Thank you Dr. Itamura for being the ONLY surgeon who understood what was causing me such teeth-clenching pain.

I’m forever indebted to every single medical professional who helped me along this journey –

Most especially Paul Newman who has made my life livable these past several years.

(I’m sure I’ll continue to see Paul Newman on a part time “maintenance” basis.)

I began blogging about two years after my accident.

I started Twenty Four at Heart on a whim.

It has brought me friends from all over the world.

But, it’s time to close down the blog.

My heart hasn’t been in it over the last year and a half as I’ve struggled through these last three surgeries.

I’m very sad at the thought of losing my connection with many of you.

I hope you’ll stay in touch via email and social media.

I don’t know what comes next for me.

My life has been a series of twists and turns –

And most likely there will be more of those to come.

I hope, at some point, I’ll be able to shoot regularly again.

But, as of right now, even that seems unattainable.

I’m maintaining my twenty four at heart/24 at heart trademarks in case I change my mind,

But I don’t expect to.

I will leave this post up for a few weeks –

Maybe even a month or two to make sure my occasional visitors get an opportunity to read it.

I want to thank each and every single one of you for being a part of the 24 community over these many years.

Your support has meant the world to me and I wish only the best for each of you.

Thank you for everything –

I will forever cherish the many friends this blog has added to my life.

Edited to add:  

Facebook:  Suzanne Haggerty

Twitter:  SuzHaggerty

Instagram:  24atHeart

Please follow me – or I will miss you too much!  

41 Responses to “Saying Good-Bye”

  1. Tonya L Cinnamon-Tackett

    Hugs , Life is always a happy medium.
    Hope is a strong emotion to me.
    I hope you find peace and motivation again.
    Understanding that what we want we may have to bend it to the way we can adjust.
    Can you adjust over time using left hand on camera.
    On mine I have nerve damage and lose control of my grip from my wreck. I haven’t had a camera strap in many years. Its a wrist strap for when I lose my strength,
    I will follow you via social media if you leave this for now. You have been always a inspiration to me.
    I love the vivid color of your photos, They always seem to sing out a story.
    ((hugs))

    • Suzanne

      Thanks Tonya
      I’ve used my left hand to shoot for years.
      I can do that now, but only for short periods of time.
      I will continue to shoot, but not at the level I want to –
      Or the level I need to for a business.
      Maybe someday?
      And yes, hope is a strong emotion.
      I think I’ve temporarily lost mine.

  2. Cathy

    I don’t thing I’ve ever heard you so sad and defeated.
    I think I know you after these years of reading and I think you will overcome how you feel right now. It is normal to get discouraged but you have surprised us and inspired us for so long. I want to give you a hug and tell you it will get better. It will, I know it will.

    • Suzanne

      Thank you.
      I’m sure it will get better.
      I don’t doubt that.
      It just look like it will be anything close to what I had hoped for.
      : (

  3. Pam

    Suzanne, I’m so sad to read this post. Sad to learn you’re closing the blog, but even sadder to hear how bad things are for you right now. I’ve thought of you often, here on the other side of the world, and hugely admired your amazing courage and been inspired by it. But I don’t see this as an admission of failure, just as a realisation that all your energy needs to be focused on yourself for now.

    More than anything, I think I respect you for the lack of bitterness you show about the accident that changed your life so radically. That’s the only way forward, truly.

    I’ll continue to think of you, and hope and wish that you’ll come through this low point as you have all the others. I wish you strength, and progress, and a return, somehow, sometime, to some normality. I want you to be able to pick up your camera again, and to be free of pain, and to enjoy your life. Good luck.

    • Suzanne

      Thank you Pam.
      No, I’m not bitter.
      I am frustrated.
      I am sad.
      I know I have many photographs ahead of me …. but I don’t expect they will be made with the frequency or pace I’d like.
      I think I’m mainly just disappointed right now.

  4. Jen

    I hear frustration, sadness, fear, anger.
    I feel it with you.
    Did paul newman quit you?
    Or are you quitting him?
    I still believe great things are in your future.
    Some people are like that and you are one of them.

    • Suzanne

      No, Paul Newman did not quit me.
      And I did not quit him.
      Thank you in having confidence in me.
      I’m sure there are many good things ahead for me –
      Maybe just not the ones I had hoped for.

  5. Michelle

    I am so sorry. I will (selfishly) miss your words here, but still find joy and hope in the images you share on facebook.

    I know this is the end of this part of your life story, but pray that as you release this you will find strength and hope in other areas as you continue to do what you need to do. I so wish I lived near you so I could hug you (gently of course).

    • Suzanne

      Thank you Michelle.
      I will be fine, I’m sure.
      I will miss my readers a lot – that is the hardest part of closing down the blog.

  6. Amy Collins

    I did not see this coming. I’ve been reading you since you started and I will miss hearing about you, the dogs, your home and your life. I’m so sorry that the accident has taken so much from you, it is horribly unfair and you deserve better. I’ll follow you on Twitter and I’ll keep my RSS subscription going here so no matter what future path you follow, I’ll be right there with you. Best wishes for your future.

    • Suzanne

      Thank you Amy.
      The saddest part of this for me is going to be missing you and my other readers.
      I feel like 24 has been a community of wonderful people and I hope I can stay in touch with as many people as possible. Fred and Frank will show up on Instagram and Facebook … and I will remain on all forms of social media.

  7. Missy Stalcup

    Dear Suzanne,
    Like Sam, this made me weep. As you know, I have been reading your blog and was introduced to you at the beginning of this journey and have closely followed all your experiences, both sad and very often quite funny. Besides your family, I believe your readers are your biggest cheerleaders and will continue to cheer you on through all social media platforms. I know how much you love photography and hope you are able to rebuild a least a portion of your business. Please try and focus on what brings joy to your life. I am sending hugs through this post.
    Missy

    • Suzanne

      Thank you Missy.
      My readers have been tremendous cheerleaders.
      I will miss all of them incredibly.
      Hopefully, you and I will still be able to get together now and then since you are here in OC.

      • Missy Stalcup

        Definitely. I would like that very much.

  8. Lynne

    Tears here also.
    You’ve become a part of my life through your writing.
    I’m terribly sad but I also need to thank you for being such an honest, genuine, inspirational woman.
    I feel your frustration and sadness in this post but I believe you will overcome this low point. I have no doubt I will see many more of your beautiful photos on social media. I know good things are ahead of you. Sending hugs and lots of love!

    • Suzanne

      Thank you Lynne.
      I hope you will stay in touch ….

  9. Judi

    Dear Suzanne,
    It breaks my heart to hear you sound so defeated. I hope this low point marks a new beginning that will lead you to peace and fulfillment.

    • Suzanne

      Every low point eventually leads to better things, right?
      I’m counting on it.

  10. Denise

    One thing I know from experience, there is always another chapter to be written, and it can look very different from what you imagined. I have lived through a lot of loss and the grief that comes. You are sad and grieving a loss, but I can tell you for certain you will feel the sunshine again. And of course I will continue to check in on social media to see what you’re up to.

    • Suzanne

      Thank you Denise.
      Yes, I agree there will be positive things ahead –
      I just don’t know what that will look like yet.
      I hope you’ll stay in touch.
      I still have great memories of spending time with you! : )

  11. Catie

    This makes me so sad.
    It’s so rare to hear you this down.
    I truly believe wonderful things are ahead for you.
    Whenever a door closes ….

    • Suzanne

      Thank you Catie.
      And yes, I am hopeful for another door to open.

  12. Barbara

    I am gong to miss visiting you! I wish you the best. Remember when one door closes, another opens!

    • Suzanne

      Ugh … these comments and the emails I’m getting are making me so sad.
      I hope you’ll stay in touch.
      I feel so attached to all of you – that is the very hardest part.

  13. Nikki

    Ahhhh … this post hurt my heart.
    I send much love and big hugs to you.
    You are the strongest person I know and many good things are ahead of you.
    Take a little time just for yourself.
    Recharge and then I think you will go back, full force, into the world.
    Much love xoxoxo

  14. Linda Baker

    Oh Suzanne- My heart breaks to see you in despair. I have been inspired by your posts for many years now. I’m so sorry that your future does not seem to look the way you pictured it. Please try to keep your heart open to what ever path my appear to you next and love and care for yourself with the highest regard. (as I do) (((hugs))))

    Keep in touch and email me anytime you need an ear. I’d love to stay in touch with you and I am certainly following you on all social media.

    Message me if you would like to join a secret Facebook group Janis Smyth and I are in. It is a weight loss support group but mostly it feels like a friends support group. we would love to have you. Secret groups are fun because you can say whatever you want without sharing with the whole world. Just say the word and I’ll add you to the group.

    • Suzanne

      Linda,
      Of course I will stay in touch with both you and Jan.
      You’re part of the original crew and I’m terribly attached to both of you!

  15. Mattie

    Gah ….
    You can’t leave me!
    If you change your mind I’ll be here waiting.
    You have no idea the impact you’ve had on me over the years.
    I will miss you so much.

    • Suzanne

      I’m still here – just not blogging.
      You can email me and I will reply.
      I promise – I’m not leaving anyone …
      I just won’t be blogging.

  16. Julie

    Oh Suzanne, I’ll miss reading your blog, your humor, your dogs and your gorgeous photos and your fun pedicures!!
    Keep your chin up. You are an inspiration to many. I’ll be checking back to see if you’ve had a change of “heart”. (Julie in Michigan)

  17. Stephen

    You have been, and will always remain, my friend. I wish I could adequately explain how much you have inspired me in the last 7 or 8 years. It makes my heart ache that you find yourself at this point. I wish I could take your sadness away. However, what I can do is say Thank You. Thank you for allowing me to glom onto you and your blog when I found myself at the bottom of the deepest, darkest hole of my life. Looking up from down there, your light, and a few others as well, kept me going and looking up. I owe you big time. And whatever decisions you choose to make in regards to your life, just know that I will never stop supporting you.

    • Suzanne

      Stephen – you are my friend also.
      You always will be.
      I know we will stay in touch via other forms of social media.
      Thank you for your kind words!

  18. Courtney

    I just saw this and I have tears in my eyes.
    You’ve become a friend through your writing.
    I have been so inspired by you and I think of you often in my daily life.
    I won’t lie, this is breaking my heart.
    : (

  19. Diane

    You will be missed my dear. Always remember what a special and kind person you are. And I am very sorry to hear that your photography business has waned. Hardly seems fair. xo

  20. Gina

    Suzanne, I wish you all the best in life. May the wind be at your back again soon. Thank you for the inspiration provided to so many through your blog.

  21. Bernadette Smith

    I have to admit, I could tell you had lost your enthusiasm for the blog and I get it. It is a grind. But you have been such an inspiration to me (and I am sure so many others) that I am truly sad to see you go.

    I have never witnessed a person who was such a fierce advocate for herself. You have had to fight so many battles to get where you are (and how you are) since your accident. I have no idea how hard it is for you on a day to day basis, but the fact that you are still fighting is very impressive. Other people would have curled up in a ball and called it quits.

    I follow you on twitter, so I know I will still keep up with what you are doing, but I wish you luck in your future pursuits.

    You are a total badass, no matter what anyone else tells you. Get in touch if you ever need support for your Apple products. We are right around the corner.

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