Ian RuderThis past Sunday, 35 of my closest friends and family got together to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of my SCI with an event my parents and I titled, “Surviving and Thriving: Celebrating 20 Years.” My folks rented a lovely venue, we planned a brunch to end all brunches, ate and drank way too much and had a phenomenal time.

Between old stories, humorous anecdotes and sincere tributes, there was plenty of fodder for reflection after the event was over, but what stuck with me the most was a comment from the nondisabled partner of one of my friends. He pulled me aside and said that the idea of celebrating surviving 20 years “seemed kind of morbid.”

I hadn’t thought of the party that way, but I could see where he was coming from.

I told him how 20 years ago to the day, two weeks after my injury, my mom was in a hospital elevator coming to see me when she heard a code called to my room. I relayed how the doctors told my parents to plan on me relying on a ventilator for the rest of my life. And how, when I finally came down from the cocktail of drugs I