March is a month that is very special to me in so many ways. March is Brain Injury Awareness Month.
Let’s back up so that I can tell you why I care so much about spreading brain injury awareness and how it connects to Ag Grown’s history.
About two years ago, around March 2018, I was contemplating starting my own business. Why? I mean I had a good, steady job that was paying the bills. I was new into my career life. I had moved out to Colorado for this job. I had just been promoted and given a raise.
But with this job, I had found a passion I didn’t know I had when I graduated with my Agriculture Communications degree in May of 2016. I found out that I loved designing and learning how to design. I learned that I wanted to share my passion with all of the agriculture industry, not just the cattle sector (yes, I love the cattle sector but I also love ALL of agriculture!).
Did I start the business in 2018? No…I just did’t feel like that was the right time, but it never went far from my mind. In fact, I was planning to start it at the beginning of 2019. On February 1, 2019, I received the worst phone call of my life.
“Mallory, Cody has been in a terrible accident and life flighted to OSF,” my mother said. As I crumpled to the ground, all I could think about in that moment was getting home to my family. While the tears were streaming down I didn’t know how to respond to my mom and I didn’t think things could get much worse…but nothing could have prepared me for the second phone call…“he is in surgery for a brain injury…with potential bleeding around the brain.” Living 15 hours away had never felt so far than it did a year ago. I can’t describe the amount of pain and fear of potentially not getting home in time to say goodbye, if it came to that.
I remember repeating over and over to my best friend “get me on the next flight to Peoria, I don’t care how much it costs.”
I remember packing my whole life into a suitcase because I didn’t know how long I was going to be in Illinois.
I remember crying the whole flight.
I remember walking into the ICU for the first time and seeing my family.
I remember not sleeping for 36 hours because I didn’t want to leave the hospital.
I remember going into Cody’s room for the first time and hardly recognizing my older brother.
In less than 24 hours, I had booked a flight, packed my life in a suitcase, landed in Peoria, and saw my brother in the Neurological Intensive Care Unit. The next few days were awful. Doctors couldn’t give us answers, Cody wasn’t waking up and none of my family wanted to leave the hospital (even to sleep).
I remember a lot of things from that day, but what I don’t remember is the Breaking News, what was posted on social media or how much money I had in my bank account.
Nothing else matter those next couple weeks but being with my family and having hope that Cody would be okay. As I look back on a year ago it puts life into perspective…what is really important in life? Faith, Family, Friends. Life just stopped for my family and you know what we remember the most? Coming together during that time. We don’t remember who won the super bowl, what was on the news, how many likes we got on a social media post – but we do remember, crying together, praying together, praising God together when milestones were reached, playing games in the ICU waiting room, how we were surrounded by family and friends, and growing together as a family.
February 25, 2019 Cody was discharged from the hospital and that was just the beginning… brain injury is invisible, silent and lifelong.
Every TBI family has a different story – ours was 25 days…
25 days of sleepless nights
25 days of tears, joy and prayers
25 days of nurses and doctors
25 days of waiting
25 days to witness a miracle
Watching someone you love and have known all your life struggle with basic life skills and change who they are is one of the hardest things. This past year has been rough on myself and my family as we have had to adjust to all the “differences.”
Get back to the basics because life is short. Today could be a lot different, but we are so thankful that Cody is here today to celebrate how far he has come in the past year.
What does this have to do with starting Ag Grown? God’s timing. God’s timing is ALWAYS perfect. Life was put on the back burner for my family for a couple months, which included handing all of my dreams and career plans to Him. I did not have to energy to keep up with my normal job, let alone starting a business!
Life had to go on though and we had to get back to a normal. I moved back to Colorado and continued on with my busy summer travel plans, which included a month long trip to Ireland with my best friend and CFO of Ag Grown.
During that trip, I had been silently contemplating on starting up a business again. We went on a long hike one day and I decided just to spill everything to her. I told her about my passion of advocating for the agriculture industry, my growing interest in design and how I never felt like it was the “right time.” I told how Cody’s accident had taught me that life is short and while we are on this earth, we are called to pursue things that will bring us on a closer walk with Him. She simply asked, “do you think that by starting this business, you will be a better light to more people than you are now? Do you think it will draw you closer to Him?”
Yes! So here I am today, timing is everything. I can’t wait to go on this journey with Christ leading the way.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;….He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:3-2&11