A Daughter's Struggle, a Mother's Fight

Marilyn Martone shares her heart wrenching story about her daughter, who was struck by a car and now suffers from a traumatic brain injury.

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Rachel Martone

Michelle has 24/7 care and therapists that work with her every day. The therapists help Michelle use her walker to get around and work with her to develop fundamentals. She enjoys playing Bejeweled and Wheel of Fortune on the computer. Marilyn said, “Every Saturday Michelle goes horseback riding. She can go out on her three wheel bike with her therapist and answers her email.”

Michelle’s friends still keep in touch and visit her when they’re in town. “The biggest thing is that she wants to get married and have children,” Marilyn said. “Michelle’s still hopeful about it and we don’t kill the hope.”

During the first years of Michelle’s recovery, Marilyn was succumbed with guilt if she took time for herself or with her husband. “How does one sit in the theater and enjoy oneself when one’s daughter is lying vegetative several miles away?” she said. “This guilt complex stayed with me for a long time. I felt that it was wrong for me to enjoy anything while my daughter was incapable of experiencing joy.”
Over the course of Michelle’s years with traumatic brain disorder, Marilyn had to undergo surgery for knee replacements and breast cancer. She was angry. “Larry and I were about to enter our golden years. I didn’t mind missing out on that. All I wanted to do was to take care of my daughter. It was impossible for me to get sick or die.” she said.

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In her book Over The Waterfall Marilyn talks about the accident, the struggles and everything that came along with the turmoil. “The only way I could pay back was to become a voice for people with brain injuries,” Marilyn said. Family members who have loved ones suffering from traumatic brain injuries are so busy taking care of their loved one, that they don’t have the time or means to have their voice heard. “When you have a disability or you are taking care of someone that has a disability, you get pushed to the side,” she said. More than anything, she wants her daughter and others like her to be a part of society.

Despite the constant struggles, Marilyn chooses to fight for life.

Marilyn said, “I know there’s a reason for this but I don’t what it is. But isn’t that what faith is? You go on believing even though you don’t know. But believing that God does.” She believes that there is a reason for everything. “I believe that God knows what’s best for us,” Marilyn said.

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Angela Guzman
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