Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Interview with Jessica Kennedy

From time to time I plan to post interviews with people I know who have special needs. Here's the first, with fellow author, Jessica Kennedy. For more information about Jessica please visit her website,

What is your condition called and what caused it?

In 1998, I caught spinal meningitis. Due to complications, I had a massive stroke and cardiac arrest. After a week in a coma, the doctors pronounced me brain dead. They were about to turn off the machines. Thank God the doctors were wrong, and I woke up in time. (Asssuming I’m not havingone of my blondmoments, my family agrees I’m not brain dead.) I’ve been a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic since.

What changes were made in your life because of it?

I wanted to be married, have a house full of children and be a lawyer until I had children then teach. Now, my characters are my children , and I’m married to my writing.. I never would have started trying to become a published author. For that reason I’m glad I’m paralyzed and on a vent.. It’s opened a world of possibilities.

What things, other than medical treatments, have helped you deal with it?

My faith in God, a supportive and loving family and the ability to laugh instead of cry.

How has this condition influenced your spiritual life?

About 3 months before my stroke, I was pleading for God to help me figure out what to do. Something in my life wasn’t right. Then I had my stroke. I don’t think God caused my condition, but that He uses it. A relationship with Him is what was missing. I’m closer to Him and grateful for the little things.

Is there anything anyone, including those outside your family, have done that was helpful to you?

Joni Earickson Tada, a quadriplegic, artist, Christian and famous author, and Smiley Wallace, a quadriplegic, military veteran and bowler inspired and befriended me a few months after my stroke at a rehabilitation hospital. What they did/do is thrive regardless of their disabilities. They showed me I could live, dream and hope again.

Anything you wish people had done or would do?

I wish adults would look at me. Kids stare open-mouthed. I prefer that to people avoiding eye contact and avering their eyes. Ask me questions about my condition? Say hello. Don’t pretend that I don’t exist.

Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers of this blog?

As odd as it sounds, I’m happier as a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic than I was walking around. How many people actually get waited on hand and foot. I don’t have to clean house, work at a “real job” or cook supper. I’m able to write full time. Being me has a few perks. =+)


  1. Jessica's outlook on life is inspiring. Thank for providing the opportunity to learn even more about Jessica as a person.


  2. Congratulations on a beautifully written interview.