My friend, Margarita Verano, passed away last week. She was like a big sister to me in high school. Her sweet, soothing voice could always comfort me when I was upset. We had lost touch but reconnected on Facebook last year after our alumni newsletter posted an update about her. She suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident two years ago and lost the use of her legs.
Margarita battled for her life in the hospital for months after the accident, but she learned to adapt upon her release. She felt alive again while on a kayaking trip with other patients and decided to encourage people with disabilities to remain active and try new things. In 2011, she was crowned Ms. Wheelchair USA Colorado which is a contest that promotes glamour, self-confidence and community service for women with disabilities. Margarita also completed a yoga instruction course and continued to participate in the things she loved through adaptive activities.
In life we have to learn to adjust, whether we initiate the change or it is thrust upon us. Margarita had difficult and lonely moments but she chose to remain positive and motivate others. She also kept on doing the things she loved even though it took much more effort. Just like learning a new dance, it’s always awkward at first but with repetition it gets easier to recall the steps and be graceful.
I love when I master a dance I was struggling with before. I feel like I’ve crossed over to a higher level. This is in memory of Margarita who has crossed over – I hope the dance is easier now.
SCI Surprise Margarita’s Blog about adjusting to life and her excitement for returning to recreational activities