Three years ago, Jasmine Jamieson's son suffered an unprecedented brain injury during his high school football game. In an instant, her star athlete became wheelchair bound and dependent on a trach tube in order to breathe. In today's conversation, Jasmine shares the story of what happened, the ups and downs of a new normal, the possibilities of positivity in healing when no one has ever done it before, and how discovering The Four Seeds of Self-Care has been a game changer.
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Welcome to this episode of The Self-Centered Woman Podcast. I am your host, Rachel Hart.
And this is my guest, Jasmine Jamieson. Welcome, Jasmine.
Thank you for having me!
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And today we are talking with Jasmine. Jasmine and I have known each other, I say we've been friends.. But it's hard to say that because we never actually have any time to actually hang out.
Except at kids events, dance recitals basketball..
But the friendship, “quote-unquote”, has spanned years. Ten years probably with Hannah and
Crunk Squad! If you know, you know! (Laughter from both speakers.) So Jasmine, the Self-CenteredWoman Podcast is all about redefining what it means to be “Self-Centered”, based on The Four Seeds of Self-Care. And you are on here as an inspiration to women and mothers everywhere to see what it really looks like when shit goes down. And how you've been coping and are continuing to cope. And you would probably just say, you know, I'm just being a mom. But for all the rest of us, it’s not any kind of mothering that we would ever wish, so I'm just going to quit talking, and I would like you to tell me your story.
So the story revolving when shit went down. So I have three kids; Mackenzie, Jordan, Jace, in that order. Jordan was an exceptional athlete, kid, student, friend, all of that. And then just one night, sophomore year, second football game of the season, he got into, he got hit with a head to head, helmet to helmet hit. And then everything seemed fine. It just seemed like a bad hit. And, you know, he's walking, talking and then all of a sudden, he just wasn't. And three years later, September will be three years. We're still in it. Not walking, not talking. Certain things I do feel like are by choice with him. He's kind of been clear, he wasn't going to do certain things until other things kind of progressed. But what I can currently say about Jordan, and like where he is in that recovery, is everything that is presently wrong with him can be fixed. But we don't know like, from a timeframe standpoint, what that looks like.
Take me back to the night, the moment that it happened. And like you said, everyone thought it was a bad hit, but he was okay. And you've seen him take bad hits before.
I've seen him take terrible hits. Especially since being in high school.
How long has he been playing football?
Life Before the Accident
Since he was eight years old, third grade when he started. And his first bad hit wasn't until eighth grade. And then that happened. And he actually, we sat him out the rest of the season. Because we knew there was a bigger picture going into high school so we didn't want to risk anything. And then he played on his travel team. He played travel football as well. So we set out the school year. He continued to play travel football, they won a national championship, was great. And then we went to high school.
How did he even get into football, or do you have a background in sports? What was that growing up for you?
I ran track, I played basketball. But I was also just, I wouldn't say a wild child.. But Jordan and I are very similar in the sense of like, anything we want to do, we’re gonna try it. We don't care what it is, we just like to compete. And even if we were bad at it, like we didn't care, I still feel like I can win. I'm that person who will be watching the Olympics and be like, that doesn't seem that hard. Like it just, if you just train and do right for a few years, like that's, it's not that hard. I'm sure you can learn brain surgery on YouTube. Like, I'm that person. I could be terrible at it. But I'm still going to try and try to be the best at it. And he was that kid.
So initially, he did not start off playing football. He, at like four or five years old, we started just rec basketball up the street. And he played that for a few years. But the whole time he was asking to play football. One of my coaches growing up, told me basically, like he doesn't need to play football. Football is not a sport of skill. You can be a football player and be fast. It’s speed, power, and strength. You don't need skill to play football. Now this particular basketball coach of mine, he, so he's my basketball coach growing up, all through middle school, high school. He has passed from cancer since.
But that had a large part of why I allowed him to play football as well. So when we were growing up, all of us who have kids now, like that was the plan, to have this man coach our children. And unfortunately, you know, cancer got the best of him. So he has two sons. And they both went to college on football scholarships, but they didn't start playing until high school. So he kept telling me that, like, he doesn't need to play right now. He's too young. And then when he died, we were all kind of stuck, like, what do we do with our kids? So I allowed him to play football. And I was like, this is gonna be like a good or a bad thing. He's either gonna hate it, or he's gonna love it.
What was it about that coach that was so special to you and to others?
With him, well, with him and I's relationship, may have been a little bit different from some of the other athletes that he coached. I don't think it was drastically different. Because even today, as adults, we talk about him. And we all kind of have the same feeling that I mean, he just, he was one of those people who knew how to make you a better person, a better athlete, everything. He was just, he was the type of coach you would want your child with.
He was building character, not just the physical strength and the “win, win, win mentality”.
Correct. So, we just we wanted him with our kids, because we knew what he did for us. Yeah, just as people growing up. So that was hard, just on the whole community. But then, also, like us, the few of us who had children at the time, we were just like, what are we doing? What are we doing? So I was just like, Okay, let me, let's try it. It could make him a better basketball player. And either he hates it, and we never have to hear it about it again, or we he loves it. And then we're stuck with it. And it completely backfired on me. Because for then another four years, he didn't touch a basketball. He just wanted to play football.
Rachel: And that was at eight?
Jasmine: It was at eight, yeah. So he didn't start playing basketball again until middle school. And it was funny because he was telling us he was going to school early to do like band, like practices, whatever he was playing. I don't even remember what he was playing, maybe a trumpet. And then he comes to me one day, and he's like, hey, can I go to basketball tryouts? And I was like, well, why don't you have football practice? But, two, like, when do you play basketball? And he's like, oh, I go to intramurals in the morning.
Was that middle school?
Yes. This was at Griffin. So, he's like, I'm going to intramurals in the morning. And I'm like, but you're supposed to be going to band, and he's like, not going to go. He’s going to play intramurals. So, I'm just like, he's gonna go out there and tryout and embarrass me. But he actually did it. And he did great. And obviously we played basketball through middle school.
So he just has a propensity for athletics in general?
Everything. So, it wasn't even just athletics. I had to remind Jordan several times, like he wasn't my only child, because he consumed so much of our schedule. Because at some point, he was playing the drums, he wanted to be a magician.. Then at another point, he was an amazing artist. He was that kid who, literally anything that he tried, he was good at. He would come home, he would call me one day and be like, hey, I think I should try out for soccer. And I'm like, why? Where are you? I'm just at the park playing. And I think I could be really good. I don't know, like, when are you gonna fit this in?
Rachel: (Jokingly) When are “you” gonna fit this in?
Jasmine: Right, like, so we had to kind of like reel him in. And he was like, he had to have like a clear cut plan, or he would just be all over the place, because he just wanted to have fun and doing any and everything was having fun to him. So, cut to high school. Now, well, we can double back to middle school real quick. So he was a larger kid than most and not like weight wise. So he was very tall, but very lean. So on a middle school level, he was big. But once he got to high school, so when he walked into high school, he was 6’1”, 160 pounds. So, we realize..
As a football player, you're saying? So tell me how that really compares, like, to what you would want or expect at that age.
So Jordan, compared to, let's say, like a normal eighth grader. Do you remember what size like Brennan was in eighth grade?
It doesn't count. (Laughter) Because both of my boys are really small. And they also started school before they were five years old. So I could have held them back.
So, with Jordan, now being currently held back, he is actually in his current grade.
Okay, right. You know, let's segue to that alone. That's another conversation. When I started my kids early, I never thought about sports. And what a year could do for, especially a boy, and his strength. And so Brennan, you know, he loved basketball, but he was always, he was small anyway. And then a year behind what he really was, you know. And so, something to think about when you know, you're starting your kids early, just you know, if you have any kind of inclination to do sports.
So ironically, that did come up a lot, a few times, throughout kind of that seventh/eighth grade, to ninth grade year. Because I never realized, until we got around a few people, that Jordan was a year younger than everybody. I didn't realize it. Because in Georgia, you have to be five or you have to be six, by what? September 1, I think it is. Because Jace is going to be older. He's always going to be the older kid, because his birthday is in October.
Yeah. And Hannah's is November. So she was always older.
Well, Jordan is May. But there's that kind of that rule that if they go to our private pre-k, they can start kindergarten. Jordan was one of those kids, and Mackenzie’s birthday is in January. So she kind of just falls right in the middle. So I never had to think about it with her. So I moved both of them at the same time. But I think he was maybe in seventh grade. And everybody was like, Oh, well, what are we going to do for the, you know, the 14th birthday, the 14th birthday? And I'm like, What do you mean, 14, like Jordan’s only 12. And he's about to turn 13. And they're like, What is he doing here? I'm like, wait, what? Like, that's when the conversation started. So when we were gonna go to high school, they actually wanted us to reclass him and hold him back another year. So he would do eighth grade twice. I didn't want to do that. Because he wasn't struggling academically. And when I thought about what he looked like physically, to hold him back to eighth grade would be a disservice. It would almost be like we were wasting a year. Now, what do I think about that today? Maybe I shouldn't..
He was already competitive.
Correct. And it was really hard to make that decision. And somebody said to me one day, we already know Jordan could be top 10. But do you want him top 10 if you leave him where he is? Or do you want him top three, if you hold him back a year? And I struggled with that, but then at the same time, I walked in the door of high school, when we decided where we were going to go for high school, who had more to offer than just football. Because whatever my kids would tell me that they wanted to do. And I've always told them to tell me what you want to do, I'll put you in the best possible situation to succeed. So naturally, I'm just doing research on where the best places are, what do they have to offer, etc, etc. Our plan was never to send any of the kids to our District High School. Never. And I've lived here for almost 20 years. Yeah, I knew moving here. They were not going there. Even though I just graduated up the street. But when we went into it, it just never really crossed my mind of any of the sports.
Because with football, I knew that the lifespan as a football player, and the positions that Jordan played in, he would have to been retired by the time he was 30. Just because the physicality of the sport.
Rachel: What position does he play?
Jasmine: He was playing a DB, so corner safety. He was doing kickoff returns. And then he was a receiver, running-back combination. So he never came off the field. So when we got to high school, I was like, Oh, this is great. He's gonna start from the bottom, he's gonna have to work his way up. He's only going to be on the field offense, or maybe a little bit of defense. And it didn't work out that way. He never came off the field.
From eight years old to high school. Do you feel like you had a group of advisers, support people that were steering you and Jordan in the right direction, for the right reasons? Do you feel that way? Is there anything that like, now, is like a flag?
Um, yes and no. I feel like the families that we were around, are still, a couple of them are still 100%, a part of my friend group spoke to one of them today, whose husband at the time was one of Jordan’s coaches from the time he started to the time we went to high school. So the majority of him growing as a football player, he was his coach. And if I think if it wasn't for him, pushing us out in a good way. We may not have, we may have stayed. No, we wouldn't have we wouldn't went to a different high school. We literally, Jordan had his pickings of high school. So we knew we weren't going to stay here. But there was a couple other public school options.
So there was a combination of things that were happening. The moms, I don't think they cared either way, there were a couple of them that were super into sports like us, but they were also married to athletes. So they kind of knew what that looked like for their kids, their boys. And then you have the coaches, who were also some of the dads. One of the coaches in particular was not happy about that at all. Did not want us to leave. But for me, I've always said when it comes to my kids, there's no loyalty, there's no rules. I will do whatever I need to do. And if that bothers you, I wish you well, because I have to make the best decisions for them. And just because you want to continue and create this team. That's great. I get it. But your team cannot revolve around my child.
So ultimately, you feel confident that you had the primary hand in making the right decisions for him up to that point.
Yes, yeah. And the first year, ninth grade his freshman year, I felt like we were exactly where we needed to be. Now, ninth grade, there were a couple ninth graders when we realized like, okay, while he's big, and he is insanely athletic, like we knew he was different, but the type of hits he was taking.. You have to think, so he walked in freshman year at 14. And while he was 6’1, he was 160 pounds. And when you kind of look at what that looks like when you're going against 18 year olds who are seniors, who while they're 6’1”, they’re 250 pounds. They're 220 pounds. So he's literally running into brick walls. On game after game after game.
Does practice look like that too? How do they run practice? How does that work?
Yes and no. So like, you have your days you have often shifty offense, you have both you have special teams, but they weren't. I mean, you have days where you're hitting, but also they’re your teammates, you don't want to injure them. So you're not hitting in the same capacity that you would hit another team. So, when I go back and look at certain things from his freshman year, the very first game he played, and I feel like he had a concussion, at least one for sure, maybe two, but that was the game that we realized, Okay, we've got to make a huge change. Because you're 160 pounds, and you're not, your body's not going to hold up against these kids. So then the mission was like, We need him to gain weight as quick as possible. So he got on this crazy meal plan where he was just loading and loading on food. But because of sports, and then as soon as football was over, he went right into basketball. And then from basketball, he went right into baseball.
And he's all about it. Like, all in.
Like, you're supposed to be allowed two weeks in between a sport. He would do maybe three days, not even, maybe a day and a half, like two, and be like, Okay, I'm gonna go to practice. I really wished he would have took the time off and let his body rest. But he didn't want to, like he just, he wanted to go. So the the only good thing about COVID for Jordan, was that it made him sit down. And you were stuck in the house. So all he did was eat these meals and workout. And not even, he didn't really do cardio. He did like agility and speed work, but he wasn't doing actual cardio, so he was able to put on a ton of weight really quickly.
That was in preparation for sophomore year? Jasmine: Yes. Rachel: How did COVID go then in sophomore year? What did that look like?
So, I don't even remember when they started to practice? I want to say July.
COVID was March.. and then July.
And I think so while they were at home, they would have zoom practices, they would have these workouts and they would have to do all of these things and like upload it and you know, do zoom meetings and things like that. They were preparing. So when they got back to school, like for us it was, we had the option to stay home or to go back onto campus because he went to a smaller school at this point.
So we didn't have to worry about you know, 1000 kids, we were literally you know, 400 kids in the high school. So with him, he of course wanted to go back to school. We allowed it, but during football what they were doing, they were testing every week. Hell, I want to say maybe they were testing every few days. But they did cut out a lot of the summer workout like they, they were doing a lot of seven on sevens, a lot of camps. They cut all that out and they were just practicing. But even when it was time to play, it was a lot of testing, a lot of preparing the kids, things like that. But he walked in sophomore year, 190 pounds.
Rachel: Oh my gosh, wow.
Jasmine: Solid muscle. And so, because of COVID, we weren't like.. As parents ninth grade year, we were like hanging out at practices, like it was a thing. We stayed, we hung out in the parking lot. Watch them practice, you know, talked and everything. That didn’t happen sophomore year whatsoever. Because I don't even think the coaches or the school was even allowing it. We really had to drop them off and go. So we didn't know what they looked like, from a team standpoint.
The first day though, the first game. He did amazing; two touchdowns an interception. He had a couple of sacks, like he had a couple of missed tackles. But that's neither here nor there. He made up for it on offense, but like the conversation on the way home was, you set a tone. You have to continue. Like you have to keep the momentum, like have your big head for the night. You did amazing. But like tomorrow, let's bring it back down. We'll watch film, like him and I had a routine of how we moved throughout the week with him and football. So Saturdays were for watching film. Everything was great. And then the next Friday comes around.
The Ordinary Evening that Changed Everything
Rachel: Was this the game? Was it the second game of the season?
Jasmine: It was the second game of the season, 5 weeks after school started. And do you know, can you tell me what was the play? What position was he playing and what was the play? He was playing a slot receiver. So coincidentally, at the end of his freshman year, one of the coaches came to me and said, Hey, we're gonna move Jordan to running back, like full time running back. And I was like, I don't like it. And then even Jordan was like, eh, I don't know that I want to do that. I kind of want to, you know, stay receiver, play both here and there. But then throughout the summer, Jordan’s coming to me, and he's like, Hey, maybe I will play running back like in the backfield. We have me, we have Justin, we have Deuce, like we have an amazing backfield. Like, I think I should move over to running back. And I'm like, Cool. And so for it to bo a slot receiver play that he got hurt on, that was not hit.. There's so many things in life that goes around that very particular play, that was so questionable. That wasn't.. that play was not designed for Jordan. It was, it was designed for another kid.
Like the way they had been running, the practice of the play was never with Jordan in mind, it was with another kid in mind.
Right. And no matter how I feel about it today, or even when it happened.. Well, one, I didn't know that when it happened. I didn't find this out until months later. But the kid who should have ran the play was bigger than Jordan, height wise, weight wise. So, of course, naturally, you're gonna think like, had this kid ran the play instead of [Jordan]. I don't know that this would have happened.
Right. Which is all, you know, part of the grief. And, you know, you just replay, replay, replay.. if, this, and that.
Correct. And so the coach is the one who told me, the receiver coach, he, we were just talking one day, while Jordan and I were at the Shepherd Center, and he says, Hey, like, I'm really struggling with this. And I'm just like, why? And he said, Because I called the play. That was not Jordan's play. But I didn't feel like he touched the ball enough. And I wanted him in the game so he can get some reps. And so I threw him in instead of this other kid. And I said verbatim, you probably should have never said that.. And I said, Don't ever say that to anybody else. Like you should have just took that to the grave. And then to me, though, then I understood, while I know this other kid and Jordan were really close. I then understood why he took it so hard. Because he also knew that it should have been him. Instead of Jordan in the game.
Do you wish that you never knew?
Yeah. Because two reasons. The coach, I mean, he's a he's great. Um, but like, when the kids were growing up, I never let anybody else drive them anywhere. I never let them spend the night at people's houses. Unless it was like my mom or my aunt. I just never left them in the care of other people because I know who I am as a person. And if anything happened to my kids, even if it was an accident, it could have been a freak accident that never could have been avoided. I know that I would never be able to, like I'm not a forgiving person. So I knew that I would never forgive another person. And I don't know if with him it is a matter of forgiveness. I don't know. But I just wish I never know.
As far as the kid goes. Like he's doing great right now. He's in college playing football, going into his junior year and he's doing amazing. We watch, even I do not like the team he plays for but he's doing amazing. But coincidentally, that kid who hit Jordan is also on that same team. So it's almost like a gift and a curse. Because I have to watch also this kid doing amazing, doing exactly what Jordan is supposed to be doing at the same school as the kid that he should have hit. So I've actually talked to his mom. I asked them like hey, do they talk about Jordan? And she was like, I don't know. He doesn't, he won't talk to me about it. But she knew that it was his play and everything. We've talked about it, we're friends. I love the kid to death.
Even the kid who hit Jordan, I don't have any ill obviously, he was a kid. They actually were friends. They had been talking shit to each other for a couple weeks leading up to the game. Like this is a kid he trained with, um, that went to like the neighboring school, like we knew him. And one thing that a lot of people didn't understand, that what I did when it came to that kid, was, I think it was like the first week, I called this the specific coach who called the play actually. And I said, Can you get his number for me? I just need him to know that we're up. Like, we're not mad at him. And we're not I know, he didn't do this on purpose. And I just need like the parents to know that like, we're okay. Like, it's not something. And so I think the last time I tagged him or talked to him was maybe like a year ago, but we are going on three years. Like at this point, I don't know that like what I would say, right.
So after the hit, everyone thinks everything's okay.
Yeah. So he got up, he got up, he walked off the field. We saw, I saw, like, everybody saw it, because it wasn't bad. Yeah. Right. So he got up, but Jordan would do a certain motion when he was tired, when he was hurt. And, um, he would move a certain way that I had picked up on in middle school. And I saw that, so when he was watched, so he would sway left to right if he was really tired, or if something was bothering him. But he would never come off the field.
So as he was coming off the field, he was swaying back and forth in his walk. But then I saw him telling the coach to get somebody else in, which was not normal. So I shoot down. We all kind of meet at the bench, one of the trainers. I mean, there were a bunch of kids around but Jordan when he sat down, he was like, screaming, my head hurts, my head hurts my head hurts. Just kind of like, he looked like he was in pain. But I think that we saw it. Because he's walking, he's talking, that I honest to God thought, you know, dammit, he has a concussion. He's gonna be out for a few weeks. This is not how we wanted to start this season. Right.
So at some point, we walk to the training room, which is up under the bleachers. So you're walking, you know, across the track, behind the stands, into the training room. As soon as he sits down, though. He starts screaming again. I can't breathe, take this off of me. So we, you know, started to take his pants off his uniform. He um, there's gonna have to be some details I'll leave out but he. So they're doing concussion protocol. But then, like the way he was answering questions, put our antennas up a couple, a couple of us who knew Jordan, like know him. He was so detailed in his responses. It was shocking. Because Jordan is not a detail oriented kid. You could ask him, Hey, how was your day? Oh, it's fine. Whatever. How was practice? It was normal. We didn't do anything new. Like very just but he was like, I did this at this time. I did this at this time, I called you at this time, because I forgot this. I forgot that, you had to bring me this.. You came at this time. Like it was like, something is wrong here. So then eventually, we get to ChoA. And then, but at that point, he became unresponsive.
He did go to CHoA by ambulance? And he became unresponsive at the school?
At the school. So for 90 minutes, he was unresponsive at the school. The ambulance got there. We went to CHoA. I do remember before I got an ambulance. I turned to one of the parents and I said do not let this get out to anyone. Because while the lady, like I know that me and somebody were like deciding if I was going to drive to the hospital. And the lady who drove the ambulance, she looked at me and she's like you're not driving, get in this ambulance. It's critical. And I kind of was like, what like I watch you know all these medical shows like I knew what meant, but I didn't know what that meant, like, What are you talking about? I saw him not responding. But like, it's like it just was it processing.
And so we get to ChoA, and at this point, it is like 10:30pm. He got hit, at 9:16pm. We would not get to Chola until after 10:30pm. So, as soon as we walked in, there was this lady. I mean, the doctors had him, the nurses, you know, they were doing what they were supposed to. But then there was this lady just sitting here. And I'm like, Who are you? And she was like, I'm the chaplain. And I was like, I was like, why are you here? And she said, It's procedure. I said, No, it's not. She said, Yes, it is. It's procedure. I'm just here. This is my job. No, you're not. We were just here a year ago. Because he got his head a stinker, he had a pinched nerve. And I said, the chaplain didn’t follow me around. I was like, please get away from me. She's like, No, it's my job. And I'm like, You're like the fucking Grim Reaper. And for two days, this lady followed me around like a shadow. And when I say, I think at some point, somebody came in and said, What can we do? And I said, get this lady away from me. I get this is her job, but like, I need her away from me.
So we get to the hospital by midnight/11:30pm. Surgeon comes in, and he says, we need to do surgery right away, or he will die in a matter of hours. I don't remember, like what he was, I just knew there was a bleed that they needed to stop. And then kind of again, I was like, why are you taught? Go do your job like and he's like, Yeah, but I need you to consent. I said, like, do whatever you need to do to save my son. And he says, Even if I do the surgery, it's a 50/50 chance that he’ll make it. And I'm like, do what you need to do. But how he was talking to me, it didn't seem like he was very confident in what he was saying.
But for some reason, like I just wasn't concerned, I don't think at this point I had cried yet because I just was still in shock. Like everything was just moving and I didn't know like which way was up. And then so I actually like during the surgery outside of CHoA.. If you guys know there are these benches, and there's like, even though there's like this, um, this like breezeway type of thing. At some point in the breezeway, it like splits open, and you can see the sky, like right below the bench. So for those three hours he was in surgery, I literally was like laid out on the bench, like, just like not doing anything. And then a couple of my friends who should not have known that this happened, because I begged them not to let it get out. But of course it did before we even hit the end of the parking lot. And they were at completely different high schools, at their kids’ games literally took their kids home and came out even though I'm like, we're fine. He's just gonna go into surgery. Like we'll be out, we'll be home in a few days. Like I was so delusional.
Rachel: Where were your other kids?
Jasmine: I told my mom to take them home because everybody was at the game. So my mom had brought them home and was just waiting to hear from us. I don't think anybody got sleep that night, though. I'm not really sure what was happening here. So then, while I was laid out on the bench, a friend of mine just came up and was like, Hey, get up, scoot over. We didn't talk about anything. We just sat there. And that was fine. And at maybe about 3-3:30am, They call me back up there and they're like, Hey, we're done. And the surgeon was like a whole different person. He's like, listen, we stopped the bleed. There was minimal swelling, little to no like fluid, like his brain is okay. Like, we just need him to wake up.
And I'm like, okay. All right. So I think I slept for about an hour. I'm not really sure if I actually went to sleep, those first couple of weeks are kind of a blur. I do remember that morning at like 7am. And this doctor came in and he goes, this was the first time I panic. When he goes Jordan has no brain activity. If he doesn't have any brain activity in 24 hours then you need to make some decisions. I like couldn't speak. And so because I think what hit home to that was, I know that I've had these discussions with my mom, and my family that if something happened to me, and you needed to make certain decisions, if I had no brain activity, and I was going to be a vegetable, do not put yourself through that, do not put me through that, like, just let it go. So now I, you're telling me that I need to make that decision for my child. And so I think that was when I broke down.
And not immediately either, I just started, I like, left the room and went to go outside. And one of Jordans friend’s dad called me, and he was just like, what's going on, and I just lost it. And then he lost it. And then I walk outside. And there's all these people, because it's COVID, you can't walk in the hospital. But like all of these people were here for Jordan, but couldn't come in. And so mind you, I'm a mess. And I walk out, because I'm telling people, he's fine, he's gonna be fine. We're gonna be home in a couple days. And they're, the whole team is out there. And I'm like, what is happening because I'm trying to manage also the expectations of these kids. And that just went out the window.
So that is when I lost it for half a second. And then I went back upstairs for something and Jordan's eyes, like he was blinking his eyes. And then the doctor kind of comes back around and I said, Hey, like, if he wasn't, if he had zero brain activity, like his eyes and stuff, he's blinking his eyes, like he's moving a little bit. And he's like, Oh, his brain activity is low. And I say, get out. And don't ever fucking come back in this room. And that was the beginning of like, how crazy our experience at CHoA was. So needless to say, later on that night, so six or seven o'clock that night, we had to do like a family meeting to kind of like, this is what happened, this is what we're expecting. And “that's that” kind of deal.
Rachel: To clarify, you told him to get out because he first, he is the one that told you there was zero activity. And then like he's clarifying..
Jasmine: Just nonchalantly, like, Oh, my bad. Here's a little bit. And I just wasn't going for that. Because something in me the entire time, over the last almost three years, I have never worried about his physical, like, I've never worried that he wasn't going to be okay. What I did worry about is, you know, Jordan has long hair, I was so worried they were gonna cut his hair. And I was like, Oh, he's gonna kill me if they cut his hair. Luckily, the incision is like, on the nape of his neck. So they did not have to cut his hair at all.
And then I knew just from watching TV, you know, documentaries and things like that, that head injuries could cause a personality change. And that is what I was worried about. Was that his personality was good, because he's a great fucking kid. So I was just so scared. Like, what if he's angry? What if he is just, he hates everybody? What if he is so miserable? Like, I don't know, what do we do with that? So that was really more of my concern.
So once his doctor, the neurologist, came in, it was like him and a couple of the nurses. They sat down and was pretty much like, this is worst case scenario. And that was him sedated to want it like not even 24 hours later. Like, this is what this looks like. And I was like, okay, and they were like, but best case, like right now what we think is like Christopher Reeves, like that type of situation where he's like, in this wheelchair, he's paralyzed. This and that third, and I'm like, no, like, no..
That’s not gonna work for me..
Yeah. And I was like, I really wish I could have been, like a fly on the wall in that conversation. Because everything that they said, I would be like, Hmm, no, so okay, this is worst case, but like best case scenario is he gets better and we're fine. And they were like, Yeah, but you need to focus on this. And I was like, No, I'm not going to do that. Your job is to focus on that like, not me. We're going to be fine. So I don't know if it was like the lack of sleep, just me just feeling like things were going to be fine. Like, I don't know what it was, but..
Maybe it was the person that has been growing for the last, however many years you are, who always was up for the challenge and always looking to conquer whatever it is. Refusing to give up, maybe you know, you were just the person, just the mother for this job in an you know, unfortunate, of course, you would never want that. But thank God for Jordan, that you're the mother that he's got right now.
That I will say, and I've only admitted this recently, in the last couple months.. is, well, one, I will not take credit for Jordan’s progress, and how well he's done through this recovery because it is 100% him, he's the one who has to do the work. But the back end legwork? Absolutely. When I say I deep dive into shit that I probably shouldn't even be able to find. Because no just doesn't work for me. Thankfully, like the friends I've had around me, which inadvertently are like Jordans friends, moms, like they’re basketball moms or football moms, they're people we've met along this way who really just kind of wrap their arms around us.. we have become like this team of researchers on how to fix this.
And I feel like for Jordan to first and foremost, let's be clear that Jordan should not have survived it. He’s considered a brain bleed. That's it. Because his brain was not, was not affected whatsoever. So he remembers everything prior to up until the act of walking. So he remembers being hit, he remembers who hit him, he remembers who they were playing, being in the training room. But like him walking off the field and him walking to like, he doesn't remember him walking, which is really weird. He remembers things when he was you know, asleep. Well, that I was talking about, and I was listening to or I was having him listen to and things like this. So personality, it's exact same kid who drives me nuts. But I we kind of let him have his way a lot of, a lot of times now. Because what are you going to do? Right? Like? He does get told no now. For the first couple of years, I was like, I'm not telling, you no, just don't be a brat. But like also, like, within reason.
So well, like what are his demands?
Um, he gets bored and wants to shop. But then also, just like for us, we're trying to get him out more. And he's only told one of his doctors, we were like, is it the trach? Is that? Like, what is it? Why you don't.. Is that because you're not talking, that you just don't want to leave the house? Like, what is it and he just said he was like, all of it, it's all of it. It's him being in the wheelchair, he just doesn't want to be in the wheelchair anymore. So but to rewind, so he shouldn't have made it to the hospital in time. So when I guess your brainstem is affected, that is like your main oxygen from your brain to the rest of your body. And that was starting to or that was beginning to kind of decrease drastically. We really don't know for how long but and that is why the surgeon said like if we don't do the surgery in a matter of hours, like he will die. And so basically what it did was the bleed filled up the space in his cerebellum. So his cerebellum is injured, which affects your balance or equilibrium, the control of your body, and then that in turn put pressure on his brainstem, which controls all the important stuff to get to the rest of your body and then your swallowing your breathing. Like your internal nervous system.
So those two things took the most took the most out of the injury. His surgeon said Don't say damage because there's no proof that it's permanent right now. So, come to find out a couple weeks later, we were deep diving. And we realized that, a mutual doctor friend called us and said, Hey, if anybody tells you, I don't even think it was a week later, or two weeks later, it might have been like, right at five to seven days. She called and said, Listen, if somebody tells you, they know how to fix this, they're lying. And don't let them near him. And we're like, What are you talking about? And they're like, we just like deep dove into any type of case that we could find that was similar and no one has survived this type of accident. So the only answer that they can tell you is they don't know.
So now looking back at how our time at CHoA played out outside of saving his life, which Yes, I am 100% grateful for, I feel like they should have let us leave a lot sooner. Because they did not know what to do with him.
Rachel: To go where?
Jasmine: Anywhere..to a rehab. I wish we would have got to the Shepherd Center sooner. Even if it wasn't a Shepherd Center, anywhere, any type of inpatient rehab, I wish we would have got there sooner.
The Shepherd Center, tell us about what they handle. Are they strictly brain?
Brain, spinal cord.. They do strokes, they do any type of like aneurysms, but mostly the brain. So it's brain and spinal cord injury. I'm sure they do other things, too. I think they do. Like they haven't, you know, it's a multi specialty type of situation. I think it just depends on the type of injury you have. I don't think they're like, you know, they definitely, definitely pick and choose because of space, but I feel like they more so pick and choose like if they can help you.
How long were you there, at Shepherd Center?
Jasmine: 100 days
Rachel: How long were you at CHoA? Did you go straight from CHoA to Shepherd Center?
So we were at CHoA, from September 25, to November 30. So they let me spend, they let me spend Thanksgiving with my family. Because at CHoA, you could leave and come home or leave and come back. So we got on a schedule where I would be.. because at first I think I was there for the first two or three weeks and I never went home. So you know, obviously it started affecting everybody else. I have two other children. My mom, my aunt, like everybody was affecting everyone. So we kind of muscled our way. And we have a list of people because the nurses and stuff were like you have to go home. And I'm like until I am comfortable with the people who can stay here with Jordan, I'm not leaving. So we kind of muscled our way into a list of people who were allowed to go stay with Jordan when I was gone. Which was like my mom. My mom, my aunt, and a couple of my friends. They set the bar, a couple of my friends did spend the night. It wasn't without me. Not for no reason. But I mean, it's a lot to handle.
So what we were doing was I would stay for two days. And then I would go home for one day, and then go back for two days. So at least I was here with my kids because so many things were changing. Is was in August and September so they were in school as well. And then everything changed for them overnight as well. Jace was 10, Mackenzie just turned 16. Yeah, so they were kind of in their prime, too. Jace’s last year of elementary school, Mackenzie's just trying to figure out her 16 year old life and what that looks like, and then just got thrown into the mix as well. So it was just a mess.
So at CHoA, we were there from September 25 to November 30. And then December 1, we started at Shepherd Center, and then we did not come home until March 9 of 2021. So, and the reason they let me come home for Thanksgiving was because they knew the minute I stepped into Shepherd, I could not leave the building until we discharged because COVID. They were not letting people in and out the building.
Rachel: You didn't know that?
Jasmine: I knew that. I knew before we agreed to go, because that was one of CHoA’s kind of counterclaim says you should keep him here and do rehab because you can't, you'll be able to go home. But Jordan didn’t even fit in their bed with extenders on. It didn't make sense to me. I felt like Jordan being around a bunch of 9 and 10 year olds in a, you know, a children's rehab facility was not going to make him want to do better. He needed to be around older people. That's what he's done his whole life. I didn't see why we needed to change that.
And also, I didn't feel like that some of the people at CHoA allowed me to really advocate for him the way that I was trying to, because you know, we've talked about this before, like, we're very holistic, all natural family. I didn't want him on a lot of those medications. I wanted him to be pumped with like vitamins and minerals. And they were just not okay with that.
Jasmine: And that was a problem for me. Yeah, because that was one of the things that I talked about with the doctors at Shepherd before we even got there. Like, I want these vitamins, I want these things to be a part of his medication, and they were fine with it.
Recovery at Shepherd’s Center
Rachel: Oh, good.
Jasmine: So it was an easy switch. Now, once we got there was a whole different story. Not in a bad way. But like I don't think we prepared. I don't think I was prepared for being locked in a building like that. It was basically like being in jail. And it was miserable. And I don't think, while Shepherd did their job amazing, how he went in there is not how he left in a good way. But I do not think the directors or whoever put their COVID protocol in place thought about what that would do to the caregivers of these people that had went through this horrific incident. I don't think they thought about what locking them in a building, not even in a building, but in the same room on an air mattress for three months next to your child, your husband, your sibling, whatever it was, and not letting them leave..
Not having any outlet from that trauma or any way to process, for you..
For anybody. I mean, you go to a support group, but like nobody, you don't want to do that. I've never been a support group type, I went to one and it was so sad. And I was devastated. And I never wanted to go back. And then you have a little courtyard, which was on PeachTree. And that's actually how you did your visits like your family visits. Your family had to stand outside of the gate. And you had to like talk through the gate. But you could only get so close to the gate. Which was insane. Because again, the Shepherd Center is on Peachtree, so it's very loud with the traffic. So you're yelling at each other. There's homeless people like taking the shit in bushes and people fighting in the street. Like it was insane.
And even now, like to this day, three years later, we go to Shepherd Center for certain appointments still, and I kind of like talk shit to them about like, hey, so are you still locking people in buildings? Like, is this still a thing? And actually, I think they just stopped like at the beginning of the year. Which was crazy. I mean, no, I'm thankful. Like, everybody gets to live decent lives now. But I do think had his friends, my family would have been able to visit. Like that was a hard conversation for me and him to have because I was like, Listen, I don't want you to think that people don't want to come see you. Because they do but like they blocked us in here because of COVID, like you cannot risk getting COVID. And while he understood, he was like, take me home.
So we got there in December, like between the Christmas, New Year's timeframe. He was like, give me like, if you don't take me home, I will not do anything. And we went through that for like a solid week or two. And I finally went to one of the doctors and I said I cannot watch him like go through this. And if you don't give him something to help him like push through this. Like we've got to go home. I cannot keep him here like this. And so that's what we did. We put him on some medication to kind of just make him feel better. And we made it through.
And so now, you talked about the different areas of his body that are affected because of the injury.. So does rehab, does treatment look like individual therapies for those specific things or what does it look like now?
Unlocking Potential: Overcoming a Traumatic Brain Injury
Um, so what we do, like what our week looks like, we go on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, we do physical therapy, just at just a rehab. So it's not like a Shepherd Center or a pathways, which is kind of just outpatient of Shepherd. But it is just like your run of the mill rehab, because when he was kind of in these institutions, I guess you could say, these brain injury specialty places, it was like, they put them in a box and said, he can't do this, he can't do that, when in fact, he's just like, I want to at least try. But it was almost as if they were like, well, you have a brain injury, you're not going to be able to do this. So we're not even gonna work on it. And for him, and he kept telling them for months, like I need more. And it just all happened at one point. I think we did like an update on the GoFundMe. And we kind of said, like, our time at this place is ending, and someone reached out to me, God love her soul, and said, Hey, like I don't like, I'm not gonna donate any money. But I have this rehab facility that I think maybe will be good and be helpful to him. And we'll come by your sessions, if you can, you know, if you feel like this will work. And it just so happens, I think it took me a couple of weeks to call because I just needed a break because we were just going, going, going. I needed a break. So it took me a couple weeks to call, get it set up. And then she said, Hey, coincidentally, we have a brain injury physical therapist who works at Shepherd on the weekends. Like he's gonna work with Jordan. And like, he's the only one.
Needless to say, that was February of 2022. So we've been there for like a year and a half now. Jordan loves it. He doesn't want to go anywhere else. Because he, the guy, his physical therapist was just like, so tell me what you want to do. Jordans, like I want to walk, I'm gonna stand, I'm gonna do it. And he's like, alright, well, let's go. And it's kind of been like that ever since. We were supposed to go back to the outpatient facility like several times, and we're just like, No, we're not ready yet. Call us back in a few months and see if we want to. And we're just not gonna go back. And we're gonna go where he feels like he's doing better and what he needs. And that will always pick that over.
Because whatever he believes whatever any of us believe and grasp onto wholeheartedly, is probably where you're going to have the greatest likelihood of success.
Correct, and if you’re going to tell him, he can't do something, you're only going to make him mad. Yeah, especially if you just won't even let him try to do it. So that's Monday, Wednesday, Friday, we go there. Monday and Thursday, we go to speech therapy, which obviously he has the trach. There's some swallowing issues, and there's no respiratory issues, but he doesn't swallow. So we're trying to figure that out. So because of the trach, he decided about two years ago that he was not going to attempt to talk until the trach came out. He was not going to talk. We're starting to get him to change his mind. So he has been vocalizing but it hasn't been words. It's just been kind of sounds, playing the flute, doing things like that. And then we have a private speech therapist that also comes because we're trying to like expedite getting his trach out and trying to figure out what that looks like.
And then, Wednesday and Sunday, we have trainers come to the house. We turned our garage into a gym and basically took everything that he was using at Shepherd and everything that he uses at physical therapy, and we brought it here with the help of Betsy who was like my right hand man and like my partner in crime, anything I need. I literally pick up the phone and I call her and I say hey, do you think we can build this? Do you think we can buy this?
This is the lady that has the rehab facility?
No, this is Betsy, Marco’s mom.
Yeah, you’ve mentioned her. Okay, good.
So, Betsy is.. She is somebody who is also with all of my nonsense. We are like on a, we're not necessarily on a mission to prove anyone wrong. But I mean, I guess maybe you say you can say we can..
You’re on a mission to prove YOU right!
Jordan’s Progress, Against All Odds
Right! So here’s always the kind of conversation with me and the doctors.. Is you know, say hey, well, is he going to be able to do this? Is he going to be able to do this, this, this, this and this? And they're like, We don't know, we just need time. We don't know we just need time. And when I say like, I hate that answer. When we were at the Shepherd Center, like because you literally have nothing to do but think and stare at these hospital walls and crazy. Just one like, probably it's just like on the verge of a meltdown. I was literally like, what is time? What is time at this point? Like, who's to say that in five years, like he can't be doing this? Or I can't be like, who made this stuff up? If if the conversation is always everybody's different, every patient is different, every brain is different. And then why are we putting like time on this?
But see, the difference between Jordan and other people was, if this kid had a frontal lobe accident, right, there is a timeframe they give him. Jordan never had that.. It was we don't know, we just need time. And okay, so tell me what that time looks like. And it's like, we don't know. So I started, like, I started to hate that conversation. So I just stopped asking.
So instead, I would say, hey, we want to do this, and we want to try this. And we want to do this. Are we allowed? Some people, you know, depending on the doctors would say yes or no, or we don't know, we don't think it'll work. But if it's not going to hurt him, you can try. So I started to be like, if you aren't going to tell me how to fix it. Because you don't know because he's the only person to ever survive this, who's to say that I'm wrong in the things that I want to try for him. Because if you don't know, like, you're not going to take your time and help me. You have 100 other patients. He's just like a drop in the bucket to you, you can admit that you've never seen anybody survive this. And like the surgeon, we saw him, maybe like right at a year later. And he said in 26 years, I've never seen this, and that I've never like, what he's able to do and what he's doing.
He was like, I don't know what you're doing. But keep doing it because he shouldn't be able to do anything. And I think that's all the confirmation I needed. That Okay, y'all really don't know. Like, I was hoping you were inside of his brain. You could tell me what to do. No, it’s like they really just don't know.
Yeah, they really just don't know. And it's sort of a blessing. Because if they thought they knew, then they would tell you. And then that would limit your ability to believe otherwise, because it had been a seed planted in your brain. So having, “I don't know” is frustrating, it also did enable you to start to advocate for yourself, think about things for yourself, start to put together from point A to point B to point C, and it just for anybody what is capable when you start to sit still, think about things, advocate for yourself, and watch how things can move in the direction that you want it to go.
Absolutely. So I am so so. So this was only a couple months ago, I finally just was like I can wholeheartedly say like want I do think that a few of my friends, and probably plenty of other mothers on this planet. I mean, I don't know. Like, when I stopped my life. For Jordan, I didn't think I did anything special. Right? Like, that's my kid, right? That's what you're supposed to do. But also, I can admit inside that I did not think we would still be here three years later. I thought I thought it was gonna be a few months, and we would just go back to life. And here we are with this time thing again, right.
So what I will say is though, if I like I always hated the fact that I was an over thinker, and I over analyzed everything in a question to everything and out ask you one question, and then based on your answer, I'll have 10 more for you. Like I used to add, that used to bother me. Even as an adult, there's just like, leave it alone. Why do you need an answer? But I do think that largely plays a part in me being able to effectively help Jordan, I think had I just rolled over and listen to the doctors, we would not be in the space that we're in. I don't know that I was built for this. But I've adjusted. And I've just done what ever I've needed to do. Like I said to Jordan, before we left CHoA, I think even before we knew we were going to shepper I don't know what we were doing, he was only awake a couple hours a day. So a misconception is that they everybody thought that Jordan was in a coma, he was never in a coma. They just kept him sedated. Because they didn't know what else couldn't have been wrong with him. I didn't find any broken bones. I didn't find anything else. But they just didn't know. So they just kept them sleep until they could figure out what was going on. So but he would wake up for a few hours out of the day. So how we were talking at the time was when I would ask him yes or no questions. And for yes, he would look up for down. You know, that was no.
Advocacy and Trust
So I just, we were talking one day. So I would like read to him when he was awake. And even though he hated it. But you know, I read all the time. He didn't want to hear it. But what else were we doing? I kind of took advantage of the fact that I could like read to you and you wouldn't complain. So one day, we had a conversation and I said, Do you trust me to get you your life back? And he looked up, and I said, okay, and I'm like, I don't care how much time or how much money this cost, we will fix this. And that's the only thing that I care about.
Obviously, you know, I have my kids. I have you know, I do still have a life but at the same time, until this is what I kind of say, until I fix my house, nothing else is a priority. Because naturally as a parent, like your kids didn’t ask to be here, right? Like, I know that. This was no one's fault. But we're still going to fix this. No matter what. And I don't really, nothing is really going to stand in my way. We had an appointment just like not even a month ago, few weeks ago. It wasn't good. It wasn't bad. But then it put us in a place where we're like, dammit, what do we do? Like we were hoping for one thing, at least something and we kind of just got nothing. So it kind of just, it didn't push us back, you know, five steps, maybe like a half a step. We weren't back at step one. But we were just like, Well, shit, now we're really kind of stuck. So like, what direction do we go in?
And I was talking to one of my friends and I was telling her how the appointment went. And she was like, when you're in these situations like who do you ask for for help? Like, is there a doctor you call? And I was like, no, like, it can't give me any answers. I said, I have a roundtable of my friends. And we all sit down. There's probably like five of us. Maybe not even that many. We sit down and we kind of go over like what's happening, what we want to be happening. And we just start making phone calls. We start doing research, we start pulling case files and trials and say hey, look, this doctor at this time did this, this, this and this, like, Who do we know who can get in touch with this person? That is literally what we're doing and what we have been doing, since this happened. And that's how we've been managing. It's a bunch of moms trying to fix my kid.
And at the end of the day, you have to make the decision, you know that you intuitively feel is the best decision and in order to keep yourself grounded enough for your own mind to be fertile enough to do that. There has to be some level of care that you have for yourself. So you know, don't say it's not nothing. It might not be the way that you think that I describe it: eating well, sleeping well, meditation or exercise. But of those four, two things stand out for me right now. And that is the reading. The reading is something you've been doing for forever. How did you become such an avid reader?
I don't know. You know, the book fairs at school, when you're little, which is not a thing anymore. Is it?
I don't know if it is, but that is a form of meditation.
is my favorite book of all time by Shel Silverstein.
Oh, I don't know that one.
Oh my gosh, I'm gonna get one for your little kids.
Is Shel Silverstein, the one that also wrote “Where the Sidewalk Ends”?
Rachel: Yeah, I know that. I know “The Peanut Butter Sandwich.
Jasmine: That one, too!
Rachel: (Animated speaking and laughter) How about a peanut butter sandwich? I always remember that one. So reading is a meditation, but also you were telling me about your fasting.
Okay, so we just recently went to Houston for a stem cell treatment. Just quick backstory on why we go to Houston for stem cells. Because of the cost, I pay like a third of what it would cost for me to stay here because insurance doesn't cover stem cells. And staying here would cost me $30,000-$40,000. Going to Houston cost me about $8,000 simply for this treatment that doesn't cover like you know, travel, we have to rent a car, the type of hotels we have to stay in because we need it to be 100% accessible. It's a pain in the ass. But we've been doing it for about a year now, every four months.
However, I did find a contact here. So hopefully that pans out. So we never have to go back to Houston again. Because I hate it there. It's the last time we went it was 107 degrees, and I despise everything about Houston. I'm not gonna say the state of Texas, but at least he's been like, I just don't enjoy it. Yeah, maybe because of the premise of why even we had to begin going, whatever the case is, I don't want to do it anymore.
So hopefully, our contact here works out. But so right before we went there, the week leading up to it, me, none of us were excited about this trip. We knew we had to do it. But to have to drive to Houston with a kid in a wheelchair, who's not eating doesn't talk, it’s miserable. Because none of us want to go to the drive. It's 12 and a half hours. So technically, it's 11 and a half hours without any stopping. But like us stopping these days isn't like, Oh, everybody get out, go to the bathroom, grab your snacks and get back in the car. It's not like a little five minute stop. It's like 20 to 30 minutes every time we stop because you can't leave him in the car by himself. Right?
So then, me and my aunt do the drive or take the trips. So she'll stay out, pump the gas, I'll go in, go to the restroom, you know, grab my snacks, whatever I need, come out. And then she'll go in, and she'll get put in the mix. You know, he's got to have water, he's got to have like, you know, if he needs any medicine or whatever's going on that day, making sure his stuff is charged. So he's not miserable through the whole ride. So now, now our stops are 20-30 minutes. So you're pushing about 12 and a half hours. So again, just the whole week. We were dreading the whole thing of going to Houston like I just none of us wanted to go. Usually, I'm never excited to go. I don't enjoy driving or riding for that matter. Like I don't like it. Let's get on a plane. Jordan can't fly right now. Medically cannot fly. So we have to drive. But the whole week leading up, I was just miserable mentally.
Because realistically, if we're being honest, have I been like seeing a therapist or going to support groups or talking to people about this over the last three years? Absolutely not. Reason being is because I feel like when it's time for me to go to therapy, I'll go. Because I know at some point I have to process what happened. I know for a fact that I'm not in that space, because I'm still in the middle of fixing it. I don't want to feel anything. I don't want to cry about it. I don't want to go through, ironically, because this is a whole part of what's come up through this like this, this fast thing that I'm doing is the forgiveness aspect of one the people involved but then also the accident in totality.
So I started to think about, leading up to the trip, when Jordan gets better, and Mackenzie is already 19. Jace is 13. So he only has five more years and just based on kind of how he's maneuvering, his last year of middle school, and then kind of what he's trying to do but you know, come High School, he's not staying home. Once he graduates I'm like, that's five years. Who am I If I am not taking care of children? I had Mackenzie when I was 17. And Jordan when I was 19. And then I had Jace when I was 22. So I have literally been taking good care of kids more than half my life. Now, pre-accident, or even the day of the accident, yes, I had a job, I had a great job. I didn't like it. However, I had a great job doing what I wanted to do. But as I started to move up in the company, it turned into the less creative aspect of it and more into the corporate, sitting in meetings all day. And that's not what I wanted.
So I knew at some point I was I planned on leaving my job. But also, I was weighing the pros and cons of, I was able to work from home whenever I wanted to, if a kid called me, if the school called me I could leave right then. I could work from home. So the freedom to be able to be present for my kids was more important than me not wanting to be at that job anymore. And that always kind of took the higher road of, I'm just gonna stay here a little bit longer. So I can be there for my kids. And so I don't, I don't really know how to describe how my job, I don't know how they handled it.
I know that the management aspect of that company in the people who I talked to throughout are no longer at that company. So when I got fired, I don't know that I've ever said that out loud. They fired me because I couldn't, I was locked in a hospital, like I literally could not go back to work. And my FMLA ran out. I do know, to a certain extent, they could have extended it. And I feel like they made a choice not to, I tried to go back part time. Just as like my beginner role that I had walked in there seven years prior, I tried to say hey, I'll just come in as a part time designer, just to take some weight off, like I want to be here. I want to work. And a few days after that conversation, I said, I'll come back part time, will be home in a couple of weeks. Let me adjust to life at home. And then let's you know, have another conversation about how much I really can do. But I was also supposed to come home with a nurse and I never got a nurse. And now at this point three years later, we don't give a shit. We've we're in our own little routine, we figure things out on our own, we don't need a nurse.
So that was I think on like a Wednesday. Friday afternoon, they called me and said if you cannot come back in your role, we need you to resign. And I said no, I need you to fire me because I need to be able to get on unemployment. So they fired me. I had never got unemployment. The reason being is because they said that I did not follow the rules by coming back to work after my FMLA ran out. And I've actually appealed it, but nothing has come of it.
Rachel: It’s amazing that people have the power to make a different decision. And based on just humanity.
Jasmine: Yeah. They could have extended it, they tried to say because it was a minor child that it was different from it being yourself. And while I get that, it is still, you could have extended it. I've read the laws. But it is what it is, no hard feelings. It's business, right? But also, though, when I left my job, it was with the understanding that at any point that you want to come back, you let us know. And we will find a place for you. What I didn't know at the time when I did try to go back months later. Because we came home in March, I think by like August or September, I tried to go back and reach out to my boss and the HR guy. Never heard anything back from the HR guy. But then my boss was like, listen, we just we don't have a role for you here. And then come to find out they never even filled my role that I no longer had, they were just like winging it. And so I just kind of separated myself.
So like throughout all of this, but also know that I could not go get another job to that capacity in the same field. So just I worked in the tech field as a designer, and just so much has changed in the last three years that I've witnessed and not been a part of like, I know that it would be really hard to kind of just walk back in. And to be all the way honest, I don't know that that I want to be back in that space.
Embracing Self-Care Beyond Motherhood
So I started to think about all of these things right? If I'm not taking care of somebody, like who am I? And when I kind of realized that I was like, okay, like, I really just need to sort some things out for myself. So I was like, Oh, well let me start researching like, what what is fasting? Like, what does that look like? So I started to kind of look at all the different kinds of fasting.. not eating was not an option. Of course, we looked at the the 40 day fast. It was never a thing, never going to be a thing. Because naturally I can go days without eating, and it does not bother me. I've never been somebody who has like this big appetite and I also lost a ton of weight because of this. And then in December of 2021, I had to have an emergency surgery to have my gallbladder removed, which means now I don't even have the organ to help you digest food. So now I have to be very picky about what I eat. So I knew that at night, right? When it's time to go to bed, and everybody’s asleep. And when I go to talk to God, it's about just keep me alive. Like literally my prayer, or I'm not gonna say prayer, because I don't say that I pray, I say that I talk to God. He's just a friend, right? All day long. Probably talk to God more than I talk to any person on this planet.
You’re probably better off. He's probably much more interesting. I know.
Right, exactly. So I would always say, just keep me alive. keep me alive long enough to see Jordan through this. But then the next day, I was not like being intentional about taking care of myself. I wasn't eating, I wasn't working out. Smoked cigarettes like a crazy person. While I would meditate, and I would pray, and I would do these things, I was just going through the motions of oh, we gotta get up. We have to do this. Jordan has to be here. Jase has to be here. Where's McKenzie? Why is she not home? Everybody's getting on my nerves. I'm going to bed. Right? Like, I was literally doing what I had to do. But I wasn't, nothing about my day was intentional.
And I was actually just telling Mackenzie yesterday, so over the last year, like time has always been an important thing for me. Probably prior to this, because you know, when you have kids, time is important. You have to be places on time. So in order to be here, you need to be here, here doing this, and doing that by a certain time. We lived on a calendar, we lived on a schedule. So time for me has always been important. So then, this whole thing, like blew up my life.
And it was like for those first, I want to say, I'm gonna say probably like nine months. So from the time of the accident, nine months later, I feel like it was pure chaos. And I don't know how I made it through that. Because nothing was scheduled. You were literally going like minute by minute, hour by hour. Even once we got home just trying to adjust to what this looks like. And me just being by myself taking care of him, how exhausting it was. Because when you're in a hospital, everything is electric. And you have day nurses, night nurses, the technicians, like you're not actually doing anything.
Rethinking the Value of Time
Jasmine: And then they're like, throw you back in your house. And you're just like, mind blown about how hard this actually is, from a physical standpoint. I was just gassed. And so I had to pump my brakes. But what the time thing now, like when, I think when your child like, you know, supposed to die and doesn't like the quality of time changes. So while me and Jordan, and both of the other kids probably Mackenzie more than Jace, because she you know, with dance and sports, we did travel, but I traveled most with Jordan.
So it was a lot of times it was me and Jordan by ourselves. We have been to all of these states. But because when we went to these tournaments, we were either living in a gym, or at a football field for the whole weekend. Like I couldn't tell you anything about the states that we were in and these places that we were at. And it's almost like what was the point of what's going, right, to now be here? I think had somebody told me that this was going to happen to us, I wouldn't have believed them.
Like because you're crazy, right? But I think I would have spent our time more intentionally. So like, me and Mackenzie were just talking yesterday and I said like how important time is. It could be like, one, it’s the best gift you can give somebody because that is the only gift you can give that you can never recoup. You can buy somebody something, you can spend money on people, but you can always get those things back. And I said, Do you ever notice when you get in trouble when people go to jail, they're not taking their money away. They're taking their time away. You are literally stripping somebody of the time they have here on Earth.
So while it can be the best gift, it can be the worst punishment. But also, it's the greatest illusion because I can sit here and say, hey, we'll do this next week. But who's to say I make it to next week or you make it to next week? Right? Right. So like, and me and hurt literally just yesterday, and today have been, we've just been talking about like, I get like the social media thing. It's hard to like stay away from because it's your home, everybody's life. Okay, but what are you doing with your life? Right? All the things that I've talked about with my friends, and what you know, what we want to do in the future, I started to notice that everything was for everyone else. So it's like, still, we have all of these great plans. But when I go to bed, like what is going to be for me? And so I set my eyes. I got on a very strict diet, which can I just I never realized how hard it was to like eat three meals a day and like making sure I was like nourished.
There’s a difference, right, between just like being on a diet and being nourished.
Right? It's so hard to like, the discipline that it takes to eat three meals a day, because I never would eat breakfast. Maybe I would not probably not eat lunch. I might eat like a granola bar in the middle of the day, but then I'd be fine. So right like, putting actual food and fuel in your body is probably been the hardest part of this. Because I just didn't. I'm good for juicing. I could probably juice my whole life away because it gives me everything I need. But not really, though. We got on like a very strict workout routine. I get up at five o'clock every morning, before I get Jace up at 6:30. So I get up at five o'clock. I pray, I read the Bible. I have my like devotional book, I meditate, I journal. Because one of the biggest things that has kind of come up through this..
So it's been maybe like two weeks now, like a week and a half. I've never been the person who needed to feel like I needed to forgive people to move forward with my life. To me, it's simple, like you did wrong, or I did wrong. I wish you well, right. Like I don't I never needed that in my life.. To hear an “I'm sorry” or an apology, like it is what it is, you did what you did. And now you know, I just never needed forgiveness for or from anyone.
However, over this last week has been very, the question I've been asking myself is what needs to happen? Or what do I need to be able to forgive these people? Who were involved in that night.. The people that I feel like mishandled the situation or have mishandled Jordan over these last few years. Like, I've really tried to figure that part out. I don't know that I need to, I just I don't know. But I feel like it's been like living rent free in my head lately. And I've never thought about forgiving anyone. It's more of just like, just just stay away from us, stay away from me. But I've very much been in that space of I have to be able to move forward without looking through them when I see them. Because that's easy for me. I think forgiveness was the hard part. And I get like people say forgiveness is for you. But like how does it fix what happened? Right?
It doesn’t fix what happened but you are uncovering how forgiveness is for you. Because you're hitting up against that wall. You're sitting still long enough to eat and sleep and meditate and exercise is bringing the shit up that is what you need to enable you to next level yourself as a person, as an individual, as a mother, as a friend, as a community member, and unfortunately, the last things, you know, that we think we don't need to work on, is the thing that's going to come up.
There is no growth in the
comfortable things that you think you already.. there's no growth in looking through somebody. You know, it's it's not gonna be settled here or next week. But the fact that the wheels are turning, and that's because of the intentional living that is starting to happen. And unfortunately, you go down the rabbit hole, you have to frickin you know, fight your way through it.
I had like a mini breakdown. I think it was yesterday morning. Like, I'm not a crier, by any means. I am definitely like, if I feel it coming, or if like, I have a moment of oh my gosh, this sucks, and a tear falls, I'm like, stop like, you're fine. Everybody's fine. What are you crying for? Like, I have those like, I'm that person. I give myself. I used to say I give myself two minutes a day. But now it's a lie. Maybe two minutes a week? Because what are you crying for? Nobody's coming to save you, figure it out. Right? Like that's, that's been it right?
So while I was praying, that time thing came up. I am just like, Jordan just, he just got robbed. Like, I think people think that I'm upset and I'm angry. Well, yeah, of course I am. But I think when you have to look at your child, right, who was just this great kid, and I'm not going to be this isn't like a Oh, this is my kid. I'm gonna like boast him. No, I'll tell you if my kid was an asshole. Jase. I'm sorry, son, you're not anymore, but you were an asshole for forever. Up until like, the last two years, Chase was miserable child. And he was just mean and angry. And like, it was kind of scary to be all the way honest. Jordan was just literally like living his best 15 year old life. Everybody loved him. Like he just, he was doing everything right. And I think that's what hurt for so long was like I'm never gonna get the answers that I need of like, why did this happen to him?
Maybe I do at some point, 10 years down the road, or 20 years down the road, or you know, when things come full circle, whatever. But that doesn't help me today. Right? Like, that doesn't help me get to the next. Like, what? Like, what was that about that hit that did this, like I just there's so many things that I need, like, me being me. Like, I need to know why these things happen the way that they did and I'm never gonna have that answer.
Since you brought that up. I want to segue into just the bare minimum of research that I did. And your opinions now on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, that's a thing.
Jasmine: What is that?
Rachel: Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.. Repeated hits, basically. And then also the concussion League, Brett behind saying you shouldn't start until you're 14, playing tackle football. And I want to know now because I was floored in our conversation the other day to find out that your other son is playing football, and how you can even endure that.
Breaking Fear Barriers
Okay, so, with Jace, um, with any of my kids, with anybody else's kids. Um first and foremost, Mackenzie, fun fact, Mackenzie played volleyball. She was a competition gymnast. And she also played flag football competitively. All could have done the same thing that happened to Jordan. Alright, so everybody involved professionally, Dr. Wise, on the higher level outside of the school. Any facility that we were in any of his therapists, all have come to the common agreement of this was not a football injury, like this is not a football injury. We don't, we can't give you the answer of like what this is, like the injury that Jordan had was more of like a terrible car accident or like falling stories off of buildings. Like this wasn't, nothing would have, like how he went into that hospital, they were floored as to how this happened during a football game.
So to say that, to kind of go back to what I said with my kids is you tell me what you want to do, and I will put you in the best possible situation to succeed. Who am I? to Now tell my other child, he cannot do something because this super rare freak of nature accident happened to someone else? Like because let's be honest, if it was somebody else, we wouldn't have blinked twice, we would have went out there and continue playing in the game, we would have went out the next week. You know what I mean? And because I also understand that what happened to Jordan is literally one of one.
Jasmine: We have, I've been around kids who have never gotten hurt and play on a professional level right now. Have never had an injury. I've been around kids who, like Jordan, deserve to be at the next level, but constantly had injuries. I know kids who play basketball who's had concussions. Even though Jordan never was classified as a concussion in this injury. But Mackenzie played volleyball, flag football and, in high school at least, and stayed hurt. Always had issues with her body. I don't know if it was because she was just shorter and her body didn't grow, muscles.. I don't know what was going on with Mackenzie, but she is injury prone. And I understand that there are people like that. All I can do is try to make sure that Jace is not on the field every single down. I feel like you've taken five too many hits, I will pull him out of the game, like the people involved with Jace now know that if I say no to something, it needs to end right then or he will never be back on this field.
But also I have to think about Jace too, right? I thought I kind of like, hit the lottery with Jace in a sense of like, when he was little, he wasn't like your sports kid. He was like, oh, I want to be an architectural engineer. And I want to be a heart surgeon. Like he was not ever talking about sports. And then one summer I got a nanny because it was too hard to take three drastically different kids and put them in three camps and get to work and get home. So right, so I got a nanny. And then that was the year that like Jace was like, I'm going to be an athlete. And I know it was because of Jordan. So he was maybe like eight or nine at the time. But because Jordan was like full fledged into his stuff, Mackenzie was full fledged into her stuff. We didn't have time for Jace to be all the way on this. So Jace kind of got dragged around with them too. And I would throw him in like these bullshit rec leagues that you know, you played for an hour one day a week, and you got to go home. So Jace never really played organized sports until after his accident. And that was because some of the parents around us kind of scooped him up and kind of like took him with them. So he got into like playing lacrosse and really liked lacrosse for a while.
But in all honesty, Jace is kind of right behind Jordan, doint he football, basketball and baseball. Does it worry me? Yes. Do we have the conversations constantly? Yes. Of what I'm comfortable with and what I'm not comfortable with? Not even just me and Jace, but me and the coaches had this conversation just this morning of.. and I told them like, Listen, I'm not telling you.. because even though he's in eighth grade, the conversations of what high school football looks like for him is already starting. And looking at Jordan and looking at Jace, I wasn't worried about Jordan at all. When I say like Jordan was the kid I did not worry about ever. Jordan had had tunnel vision. He was very clear on what he wanted in life, where he was going, how quick, how fast. Like, here is my end result. I do not need a plan B.
So when I say Jordan was the most prepared of my children, he was because I was teaching him. And I don't know why I didn't do that for Mackenzie, to be all the way honest, in even pre-accident, and I actually I feel bad for her today because I don't feel like I prepared her the way I prepared Jordan. And maybe because Mackenzie was different everyday like, I want to do this, I want to do that, I'm gonna do this.. Where Jordan was very set in stone. So I taught him how to do his laundry, he knew how to cut grass, he knew how to cook. He knew how to clean, he knew how to take out the trash. He literally, he knew how to take care of himself because I knew he was going away to go to college, he did not want to stay here, he was on the first flight out to wherever he wanted to go. Very specifically at the time, he wanted to go to Miami. So I was preparing him to go to that next level.
And with Mackenzie, Mackenzie was like, I had her when I was 17. So she kind of grew up with me. So I think that she took on a lot of like, the stresses that I had, and a lot of the worries that I had. And it was almost like she was like, I used to joke that Mackenzie was more mature than me. Because I think that she inadvertently was worried about me and Jordan because we were just like the wild people. Like we just, nothing really bothered us. Like we just weren't worried about anything. And I think she then in turn, like took all that worry on by herself. When Jordan first got hurt, one of the questions was, oh, he said, like, I'm gonna go play football again. And I said, okay, like, right. And like later on that night, she was like, How dare you tell him that he can go play football game? Why would you say that to him? Why would you let him think that that was okay. And I said, Mackenzie, if that's what he needs to hear, to want to get better, I will tell him whatever he needs to hear. But we'll cross that bridge when it comes. Like it's not today. And it's not tomorrow. But if that is what he needs, then I will tell him over and over and over again.
And just to close, that brings up a perfect point about fear, in general, and you have not only faced the fear, but then also can say, yes, there's a risk in everything. And yes, it's scary. But also, risk versus benefit and, and time, which is a very limited resource. And we don't know how much any of us have, right? And why would we spend it doing anything other than what we want to do, what our heart is telling us to do. And that you can put that fear aside and allow your son to do this thing that he wants to do. It's a big deal.
I mean, of course I don't want Jace to play football.
Rachel: Of course you don’t. Of course.
Jasmine: Right. But to sit here and say I mean, let's be honest. Football actually starts tonight at eight o'clock, the Browns and the Jets play. So preseason game, and the Browns is my favorite team. But it's preseason, so it's okay. But I do want to watch later. But I'll jump in through halftime, but when I say like our love for sports as a family has not changed. We still will watch every sport, whenever it's on. Like a lot of people think that it's hard for me to watch certain things now but it's, it's I think once you realize like the worst thing has already happened to me. Right? And I always say like, we literally had this conversation in physical therapy yesterday, just like collectively some of the other patients and then like a couple of the therapists, I think she was said like she was scared to like, go to our carwash by herself because she doesn't know do you get out of the car? Do you like stay in the car? Like what do you do? And I'm like, that's what you're scared of like, Girl depends on the type of carwash you go to but also like, ask, she's like, I'm just so scared. And I was like, she was like, What are you scared of?
Nothing. Literally nothing. Because ironically, like right, like as a parent, worst thing has already happened. But then also, the only thing in life that we know for sure is going to happen is death. I don't know that I'm ever gonna get married. I don't know that I have more kids. I don't know that I build these businesses and be successful. I don't know that if I ever get to see my kids have kids, like I don't know those things. But I do know I'm gonna die. And that kind of sucks for everybody around me. So why would I not enjoy every aspect of my life?
Now, I will wholeheartedly admit three years ago, I was not that person. I was very calculated in the things that I did. Because I never wanted to risk anything, right. Like I was very careful about the decisions I made. I was very clear cut confident, like everything was black and white to me like, it had to make sense. That went out the window, because like, what am I so scared of? Right?
What are we all mostly, you know, we sit there and lay in bed, and twiddle our thumbs, and sweat, and worry about things that probably will never happen. They hardly ever happen. And that stuff holds us back. That's not even reality.
I am deathly afraid of planes, but guess what? Let me rephrase that. I'm not afraid of planes. But I am a terrible flier. I'm scared of dying on an airplane.
So am I. I have a recurring dream. I still, we went to Maui this year. And I'm like, we're doing it. Jasmine: (Laughs) Give me a Valium and let’s go. Rachel: But weeks leading up to it, I'm thinking of, and I'm like, well, at least we're all going to be together. Like I'm serious. It's terrible.
(Laughing) I mean I guess that's a great way to look at it, right?
Yeah, I mean, shit, that.. because I wouldn't want you know, it's all I have to live for anyway. So.
So yeah, that's one thing though. Like, while I even know, like, deathly afraid of flying. Again, I actually love flying. It's the best, most convenient way to get somewhere. But the thought of an airplane going down with me in it is so terrifying to me. However, I'm still gonna go get on that plane, because I want to go see this beautiful blue water. And I want to see these great wonders of the world that I would not be able to do if I didn't get on a fucking airplane.
Right? So takeaway is you can be scared, you can be terrified. But do it anyway, right? Because your time that you have is the time that you have, regardless of you know, what you do? I think, right? I know you can't think your way into not dying.
Exactly. I can't figure out a treatment to live longer.
Reaping the Rewards of being “Self-Centered”
Would you want to know?
No. I don't think that I would, because then I would feel like I would be in a rush to do things, and then that would take away from the experience, right?
Rachel: It wouldn't be authentic.
Jasmine: So, I will say like, so a big issue of mine, my whole life is sleep. I used to have these crazy insane nightmares when I was younger. Like I vividly remember them like as an adult today of shit when I was like in kindergarten, first grade, it was insane. Of like being hit by an airplane, standing in a parking lot, and an airplane, like full blown coming in. Like, I don't know why. We used to live over by Dobbins Air Force Base, and maybe that's what it was. Like 100%, I had on my little purple pajama dress with the alphabet letters. It is so vivid, is the craziest fucking thing, but I dreamt like that for years. I still dream like that. So I don't ever sleep well. But since I have been on this like routine, when I say my sleep has been phenomenal.
Well looky there, ladies and gentlemen!The Four Seeds of Self-Care at its finest! At its finest, and in the damn near worst of circumstances, are helping you to thrive.
Because my bigger thing was okay, well, okay, let's talk about the sleep. First of all, people thought I was crazy. I could go days without sleep. Just like I can go days without food. I don't know how I do it. I actually don't like visitors or people spending the night because I don't, I’m used to just like wandering aimlessly around the house because I couldn't sleep. But also it's like nothing on TV after what midnight. So now you're sitting here for six hours, with nothing on TV, but infomercials and fucking movies you've seen 100 times. So I was miserable. Or I would go to sleep at maybe two-three in the morning. And but then I was right back up at like five or six. So I was only maybe getting two hours of sleep. So I knew that I was trying to fix that. But I just didn't know how. But also, that's kind of one of those overthinking, my brain is always on, I just could not relax.
So then Mackenzie made a comment recently, like you just always have an attitude and I'm like, do you just maybe think I'm tired? Or maybe I'm thinking about something, like I do that? Not even mad, like I never really have an attitude, to all the way be honest. Something might irritate me. But that doesn't mean I have an attitude, right, like normal people. So I think within a couple of days of me kind of being very disciplined about the timing of things, making sure that you know I got up at a certain time, everything was kind of planned out on kind of what my routine was going to be, even the eating, the working out. After I do this, I gotta do this. And I got to do this. And I was like, I think I'm getting into bed at like 10 o'clock now. Sleep. My alarm doesn't even have to go off because I'm up at five anyways. But when I say like I would toss and turn all night, if I even got to sleep. Amazing. When I say I've been sleeping, I mean I get up with so much energy. I kind of love it.
Rachel. So happy for you!
Jasmine: It's like being very intentional about just..
That’s called being “Self-Centered”.
That part! I just think I just want to be here for as long as I can. Make sure Jordan gets everything that he needs to get better. Because one thing about me is like, if I give you my word with something, that I just have to do it, like I never want to be something like.. that's all you have in life is your word and how you make people feel. So I just try to be the best person I can. And if I feel like because I can't forgive you, or I won't forgive you that I can't be a good person to you. I just act like you don't exist. I'm trying. That’s one of my big things right now. It's like that and..
Rachel: Stepping Stones..
Jasmine: I'm trying, I know.. I feel like I know I can do that. But I just don't know what that looks like yet.
I know you can, and I know you will. And I know that the future is going to be great.
I'm actually like, at first I think.. And that was a part of where a lot of my issues were, too, was I'm so anxious about the future. Because I don't know what that looks like. I don't know that, am I ready for it? And so that is why I needed to like stop, too. I think that a lot of, I just want to like, and I was actually watching something the other day. And it said instead of asking God for all of these things, like I want to do this, I want to do that. Give me this, give me that, it was show me how you see me.
And so one of my best friends actually said like, you just need to clean house. She was the only person at first, before I was really getting into this, that I was told that I wanted to do this. And she was like, Yes. Like you need to clean house emotionally, mentally, spiritually, socially, like who you have around you. She was like, Have you ever thought that you haven't gotten the things that you've wanted? Or the things that you've needed? Because you're not ready? And I was like, oh shit, okay. Not like, maybe I am the problem, then I was just like, okay, like, I hear you.
And I used to, like, get in the bed, pray for like five minutes. Oh, you know, thank you for this. Thank you for that, keep me alive. Please help Jordan. You know, right? No, in the mornings, I think I'm praying for 15-20 minutes, because I'm very specific, very intentional. And it's, you know, I'm not asking for things right. It was more of like a give me what I need in order to be able to do this, like, guide my steps instead of me.. Like, I needed to know everything.
When you understand that you largely are the problem, you can start to really do some shit. When we really take the responsibility for ourselves, we really start to understand our power and what we're capable of. Yeah, this is just the beginning.
Yeah, I'm so excited. And I just am like there's no actual timeframe, right? I did say like 30 days, right? Because OPRAH You know, 20 years ago, said 30 days creates habits. So it wasn't more about creating habits, it was more for me about the discipline.
Have you read the 5am Club?
Jasmine: I have not.
Rachel: I'm reading, I just read it. I'm rereading it. I tell you it is changing my entire life. He says it's 66 days to create a habit. Also there are 66 books in the Bible. I'm reading it again. It's how much I love it. I underline shit. Because getting up in the morning has always been the thing that I know is holding me back. If I can get up, watch out world! (Laughter)
So I'm a person where I can get up, but I am not a good morning. Like, I'm not a morning person at all. So I can get up at five. But don't speak to me until like nine.
Yeah, well, I can, I don't really like to be talked to either, but this 5am has like, you run a certain routine. So you do something that's making you sweat for 20 minutes. And then you're gonna go and do like journaling or planning, prayer time for another 20. And then the other 20 you're learning something. So what I really love about this book is that it's.. I like a plan, too. You should see the planners that I have, that I write down, but it just, it works for me right now. It is my jam. And I'm probably going to read it like three more times. I don't want to read any other book besides the Bible. And this 5am Club.
So the Bible is a new thing, right? You see all the books in my house, right? I've never read the Bible. Never been interested in reading the Bible. So this is my first go round. It is so hard. But I'm going to do it. I think I'm on, I think I'm like in Ezra right now. But so far, got my little, my little highlighter right here. And I'm just constantly underlining things. The book that I'm reading right now is called.. which I'm actually not a huge fan, like in life of Iyanla Vanzant.
Oh yeah! I saw that you had her book up here? By the way, we’re chillin in Jasmine’s bed right now in her little den surrounded by books. (Laughs) And it’s the first time I’ve ever done a podcast from a bed.
It’s amazing, right?
Rachel: Yeah, it’s so perfect!
Jasmine: I want my books, and my crystals, and my candles, and my plants, and all of my like, my good luck stuff that we've gotten, especially over the last three years. So the, “One Day My Soul Just Opened Up”..
Rachel: Yeah, I've heard of that book. But I haven't read it.
Jasmine: There’s like a whole good section on like, forgiveness. And actually, I never saw, I've had this book for like a year and I never read it.
I love those, where you just like, you aren't inclined. And then all of a sudden.
So here's here's the conversation on Tuesday to my best friend. Two things. The candlelight orchestra is November 16. At seven, we're going to the candlelight orchestra thing, me my best friend. And then she goes, and I said doing this deep diving, I'm writing everything down. The two main things that constantly stand out are what will it take me to forgive people? But then also myself? And two, what do I need to feel safe?
And then she says, Let me send you these passages on forgiveness. So she sends me a bunch of stuff underlined on this forgiveness stuff. And I just said what book is this? And she sends me a bunch more. And then I said like, I've heard of this book. And then I'm like, I think I heard this. but it was literally on the bottom shelf. Because I did buy it. I think the intent was to do it. And I like the first page is written on and I never went back. So throughout the Bible, yes. So my 5am, because I do have extra time. Because I don't get Jace up until 6:30am. So I have plenty of time to throw that in the mix. I
If you can send me a little message saying your ass better be up! It’s 5am!
Well, always! So my alarm is set for 5:15am, but I always get up at like 5:02am.
You know when I set my alarm for? It’s a whole story I’m not even gonna go into that. I set it for 4:44am because.. I'll tell you what, I was trying to get pregnant. This last time. I had a dream. And in that dream was 444, and for some reason, it made me understand everything about anything that's ever happened in the whole wide world and then 444. Okay, that's like, (animated voice) oh my god, this explained everything! 444! Oh my god. Okay. I don't know what it explained. But in my dream, I had it all figured out. I woke up. Guess what time it was?
Jasmine: Can I tell you something about that?
Jasmine: The kid who hit Jordan, his number was 44
Jasmine: Yeah. So, a part of when we were back in that training room for a minute, he would like he would like start talking or yelling, and then relax. And then he'd start talking and yelling. And one of those moments, he just started saying, “4444444”. And we never knew what he was talking about.
And then about a week later one of the teachers from the school, who also takes pictures at the game, sent me a text. He said, Hey, if you need these here, the still shots from the accident, like if you need them, for whatever reason, and I looked at it, I was like, going through them. And I zoom in just to see if like, I can see something, right. And then I saw on the kid’s shoulder better, and I was like, No fucking way. And it was 44. And so that's what he was saying. 44. He was saying his number like that’s who hit him. When I said, I was like, I just want to add, like, almost threw up. But there's a good thing about number four, but can I say like when I dream about Jordan, and other people..
The number means..
Jasmine: Okay, what does that mean?
Rachel: That's the thing, is that also, I did get pregnant, and I had my last baby at 44. And that basically, the number is a sign an angel sign, that's telling you, you're on the right track.
Rachel: You’re going there. It's the right way.
So funny, not funny story. Um, you know what Jordan's birthday is? 5505. Right. So, you know, at the time, I'm 19. And so all the nurses are like, Oh, my God, it's Cinco Demayo. I don't even know what to go to my wife because I was 19. I wasn't drinking, right? I was pregnant. So I had no idea. And plus, I didn't eat Mexican food. So I literally had no idea what Cinco Demayo was, I was just so excited because I was like, 5505. So at some point, I get to write a statement and to be able to talk right? To the collective, we'll call them that. And the first part of this is, because I started really deep dive, somebody told me years ago, your kid is going to be special, like you don't understand the significance of like the number five, and I'm just like, whatever. Never looked into it until I started to write this statement. Because over the last few months, I've just been, things that are important to me, like I have like these talking points of what I need these people to know about Jordan, about the fact that we're past grieving that day. But like, do you understand like we, we grieve the future of the things that he's missing that we're missing, like, my kids will never be able to experience certain things because this happened, right? Like, Jordan will not go to prom.. Like, I'm trying to figure out, do we do senior pictures? I don't want him to look like that. I want him to look like himself. And while he does, he has a trach in his throat. I don't want senior pictures like that. Don't want him in a wheelchair. I want him standing up and I want him to be himself, right? Those are the things that we grieve now.
But the number five, it signifies God's grace, mercy and favor. And the number five brings miracles, victory, and success in the Bible. And it says so shall it bring these things if you are under the influence. So that is literally how my, like impact statement starts.. as talks about the number five and how his birthday is 5505. And Sloane which is Jordans last name. Actually, I forget what language Greek maybe stands for, like warrior.
So it's like it was like one of those things where it was always like we knew Jordan was special. But we just didn't know to what extent, because you can say, oh my kid's good at everything. But it was just something like, when when we say everything, it was disgusting how good he was. It was like he only had to do it one time. And he could go do it.
There are paintings all throughout the downstairs that he did. So the reason we chose that school was because of their art program. Because Jordan can paint, and he can draw, and he was super artistic. You know, he played instruments, like he could do all of these things. And that's why we chose them. Because I was like, I need you to fall in love with something else besides football. Like, what do we do when football ends? So we were preparing for that. We just didn't think it was gonna happen at 15.
But that's like one of those things like, it’s just a hump like, right? We talk about, the path, the journey changed, but the goal hasn't. And it just looks a little different of how we have to get there.
Thank God, there was an MLB player last season. And it just happened at the perfect time. I think he was like, 47, and he was playing in his first major league game, he had been playing like the minors this whole time. And I'm like, Jordan, see? Fuck time, right? Like, this man is 47 years old. And he just is getting his chance at the pros. And I said, like, you get better. Like, we like to think that people are not going to give you the opportunity is insane. And if we’re the people who don't give you the opportunity, you have a mother like me, who has a friend named Betsy, and we're going to muscle our way through that to make sure you have these things. Like, let's not focus on the time. Luckily, you your body has stayed in phenomenal shape. That has been hard in itself just to keep his body intact was so hard that first year, but we've kind of like, we’re good now but.. I’m just like, who's gonna say no, right? Like, that's pretty much like how we kind of move around?
Well, and and also, we know that no, doesn't work for me. No, doesn't work for you.
Jasmine: Because why should it, though?
Rachel: It shouldn’t..
I do want to thank you for this time, thank you for the gift of this interview, it means so much to me. And I know it means so much to other people.
And you know, there's just really no excuse for not like frickin going and taking a walk around the block, and counting a box for your exercise, or sitting down in a chair for 10 minutes and taking a few deep breaths to decompress from what probably, it's not from the kind of hardship and trauma that's going on in this house and lots of other houses, it probably we have our legs to walk, probably we can swallow. Probably we have a bed to sleep in. And probably we have food to eat for the most part, probably more than you ought to be eating. So thank you again for opening our eyes again. And again. And again. Because that's part of coming to ourselves is continuing to open, open, open. Peel the layers, peel the layers..
But what I will say about the working out thing, right, I was reading. You know I have to research before I do anything. So one thing I was reading, like people have this misconception that you need to go into the gym an hour, two hours a day to be effective, when in fact you don't.
So I actually, twice a day, do like high intensity circuits, Pilates for like 20-30 minutes. Most days I don't do cardio because, if you don't know, I’m very slim, and I'm actually trying to put some weight on. So I’m trying not to do a ton of cardio, but eating is so hard. I don't eat a lot of meat so to have to put protein in my body is very hard. Because I just don't like it, but so just doing like, and you literally can pull it up on YouTube.. It's not like you have to get a gym membership.
Your own bodyweight training.
Like a week and a half ago I could not do a push up. I've never been able to do a push up in my life, I could do like three effectively.
(Celebrates!) All the way up to 10 soon!
And even when I do Pilates, I just, or when I do cardio, is literally like I walk out the neighborhood, come down and come around. Me, Mackenzie, and my mom, we’ll just go out go for a walk and it's that simple.
And then you get to be together to and spend some time together. So that part is also important. Thank you, Jasmine, for this interview and thank you for being “Self-Centered”.
I'm trying, I'm trying.
Rachel: You’re doing it!