The Spark – Day 59

Denise’s Story

I’m 53 years old. I was born with cerebral palsy.  My mother went into labor when she was just 6 months pregnant.  My dad wasn’t there to bring her to the hospital, my aunt took her.  The nurse held my mom’s legs together for 20 minutes and it cut the oxygen off from my brain and left me with brain damage.

Cerebral palsy is usually brain damage caused during the birth process; that was the case for me.

As a result of this I can only move my left arm to do things, other than that I’m totally dependent on other people aside from thinking and speaking for myself.

I went to school and then away to college but then I had to come home, as I had some problems with the people taking care of me.  My parents took me back and forth to a local college but 9 months into the process of going to a commuter college, my mother contracted emphysema. My dad was in the kitchen.  He said “you’re going to have to go back to the school that you came from, take your wings and fly.” 

I couldn’t be at home because my parents couldn’t take care of me.  As a result I’ve been on my own since I was 19 years old.

My message is that the spark that’s inside of you that makes you ‘you’; whatever that may be, let it shine. Find out for yourself what it is, when you live life authentically you are going to shine all the way through.

When my dad told me to take my wings and fly he meant not that he wasn’t going to support me but that he couldn’t take care of me and my mom together.  The long version was that he was preparing me for when they would both die.

As a result of taking my wings and flying I was able to go to college, get a degree and work for 10 years as a social worker.  Then I began to work as a social work trainee in the Medicaid office.  I only made it through 4 months of the process because I fell from my patient lift getting up to go to work, leaving me unable to do my bathroom care in my wheelchair .  The job I was doing at the time was being gone 17 hours a day, with a 90 minute commute back and forth.  Because of the fall I had to resign from my job.

Now I am now studying to be a life coach because you can do that from home.  I love helping people see their own spark.

The present is perfect.  

I have found that even though stuff may not be like you want it to be at that particular moment, if you just realize that the present is perfect, it will work itself out, everything kind of falls into place.

If we let things go, it will open us up for more possibilities and just be present in the moment, then other possibilities come.

Whatever you want to do, just go ahead and create it.  It doesn’t hurt to reach out and see what happens with it.

I did feel abandoned, I understood what Dad meant by “take your wings and fly” but I didn’t know what was going to happen. Also during the course of things; later my husband left me and dad said that I couldn’t stay with him because of my physical disability.  But I knew there was a reason why and now I want to empower people with disabilities.  They can do what they want; maybe other people don’t see them in the same light but just keep trying things and really do some searching and see what ignites you.  As long as you are living in the present, the spark is within you just make the spark shine.

I have plans for the future.

I’m going to a school for coaching and in November I’ll be finished.  Then I will be a life coach and I want to empower women to do whatever they want to do.  I want to help people see that whatever direction they choose, that it’s okay; to see the spark within them and help them explore that.

My husband left me, after 15 years, I was on my own or in a group home, until 2007. Since 2007, I have been living with my boyfriend.

I use the ability I have, to speak and use my left arm and think for myself.  If I present myself as a person who has done all this stuff despite my disabilities it really has an impact on people.

When I coach people, it is to say, ‘now what are your dreams and aspirations and let’s go for it, it all starts internally.’  Coaching has made a very diverse impact on me.  Knowing that the present is perfect even though we may not understand it at the moment, and that we should accept that as human beings we all have the same needs, wants and desires. 

All those trivial things that people try to understand about others’ behavior; like if a person wants someone to change or see their perspective and it’s just not there.  You have to really understand that people live from their own perception. 

My perception may not be someone else’s perception.  You just have to accept them as a human being and not judge them.

Even with me being older now, I still get judged.  People look at me and they think there’s something wrong with me.  They see me in the wheelchair and they make assumptions about me.  

Until they really sit down and talk to me, they have this perception that there’s something wrong with me and there isn’t.

As you consider the idea that the present is perfect; remember that the past is gone, tomorrow hasn’t happened yet and is not promised to us.  All we have is the present, so let your inner spark shine today.


– Denise can be contacted at

Share on...

One comment on “The Spark – Day 59

  1. An amazing story – I'm glad to know Denise Horn! As she tells her story, it is easy to see that anyone who says "I can't do it" is just kidding themselves! You CAN Do Anything!

Comments are closed.