The Today Show, shortly after the accident.
Stephanie Nielson is a survivor. In August of last year, she and her husband very nearly died in a private plane crash. Stephanie's blog, NieNie Dialogues was popular before the crash, so her many readers and other bloggers rallied for her, creating buttons for blogs and websites to raise money and alert everyone to her story.
That was how I found out about Stephanie, through other bloggers. I began to read her blog, post after post before the accident, to get to know her. Although she and I don't share the same faith or lifestyle, I felt a connection with her words, her humor, and her honesty.
The posts after the crash are heart wrenching. She and her husband both suffered severe burns, and rehabilitation, especially for Stephanie, has been grueling. Her face was burned badly, and she has endured surgeries and a great deal of pain in the process of healing.
Reading the posts after August, her words are raw and real, and so compelling. Her appearance has obviously changed, and reading that her own children were scared of her at times, made me hurt for her. As she writes of her insecurities about her appearance now, I can so understand how devastating that would be. Her words are soaked with the loss she feels, and her worries and trepidation about how she will find herself again.
She and her husband (she always refers to him as Mr. Neilson in her posts) have a strong marriage, and his support for her is amazing. She adores him, and that adoration oozes from every post. It is a great love story.
Her journey is one worth reading about. I am rooting for her, as I know so many readers are.
So many times I curse the internet for pop ups, spam, and lurking viruses. But like Matt Logelin's story, Stephanie's is one that makes me believe that cyberspace can be such a beautiful place. So many people reaching out, loving her without ever having met her, offering her support and encouragement, it heartens my faith in human beings. The ability for so many people to "circle the wagons" for others in far away places makes all the other things I curse seem obsolete.
It also makes me believe that out of tragedy can come unexpected kindness; a flood of support that can make those who have lost so much find hope. And hope is where the healing begins.
Check out Stephanie's blog here.