Thursday, 9 August 2012

Who Am I?

First things first. I would like to introduce myself. My name is Chelsey Tyler Johnson (middle name is Tyler). I was born three weeks early during a blizzard in Buffalo, NY on February 13, 1990. A month after I was born I almost died. I was the first born child for my parents Lisa and Tim Johnson, and one night my mother thought that I was having difficulty breathing. My parents didn't know what to do so they rushed me to the hospital. Thank goodness that they did because one of the doctors told them that if they had waited one more hour to bring me in, I would have died. I was diagnosed with Yellow Jaundice. My parents were informed that this is very common in Native American babies, and that I was lucky to be alive. 

Of course, I don't remember any of this, but somehow knowing that I almost died when I was a month old, makes me extremely grateful for the gift of life, and for my wonderful parents. 

Skip ahead about six years, and the most defining moment in my entire life was about to occur. By this time my parents had moved me and my younger brother, Ryan, to Canada. But my brother and I were spending one hot summer weekend with my Italian grandmother in North Tonawanda, NY. My grandmother (or as I would call her, Noni) would often take us for the weekend. Partly to give my parents a break, but mostly because she loved us more than you can imagine. 

Well one weekend we were visiting her. It was just so hot in the house that she decided to take us to the movie theatre to see Babe so we could sit in the air conditioning. Before we were about to leave the house I remember asking her if I could have a piece of gum. She said she had to go to her room to get some. I watched her walking down the hallway and going into her room. She never came out. 

We waited. My brother and I. For I can't even remember how long, before going into her room to see what was taking so long. When we walked in we saw her laying on the bed. We didn't really know what death was so we thought she was sleeping. We tried to wake her up. We screamed "Grandma, wake up. Noni! Noni!" But she just laid there. I got up on the bed and shook her. I must have pushed her off the bed because the paramedics told my parents that she was on the ground when they got there, but I don't remember. Ryan was crying as he said, "She's dead, Chelsey, she's dead." He was only 3 or 4 years old. I yelled at him, "No she's just sleeping." 

Really I knew what had happened, but I didn't know how to process it. Ryan was only 3 and I was only 6. I didn't even know to call 911. So we just stayed in the house with her for hours. It seemed like it was all day long, but I'm told we were with her for 3 hours until a neighbour saw us through the window, crying. I don't remember much after that but it was the most defining moment of my life. Everything that came afterwards, was somehow a reaction or a response to my grandmother dying. Every relationship I've ever had with anyone has never been the same since. 

I don't mean to make you depressed, or sad, but this is the story of my life. It got a lot better, trust me. I made it through elementary school, high school, and university with decent grades. I'm now going back to McMaster University in September 2012 to get my Masters degree in Communications and New Media. I have an amazing boyfriend named Ron, who is a firefighter at the local fire department. I have a cat named Shadow, who is the fattest, funniest cat ever. 

I hope to post on this blog quite often. And I would love to get to know you as well, so don't be afraid to follow me on Twitter @chelseytyler, and send me a tweet. Talk to you soon, 

- ctj

 My mom, dad, brother, and me.
 My Grandma and I, at my first birthday party
Me and my brother

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