mother's day motherhood brain damage blind hope fear LifeBeats Podcast Tessie Friedli


Tessie Friedli’s life became something quite different than she imagined when her husband became blind and her son suffered permanent brain damage.  Her idyllic childhood and early adulthood was filled with beautiful family bonds strengthened from hard work, achievement in many aspects of her life, and a joy filled marriage high with hopes of breezy years ahead.  Within 2 years of marriage Tessie’s husband Zach, who had lost sight in one eye at the 15, unexpectedly lost sight in his other eye making him permanently blind.  1 year later their 2 year old son Dakota suffered permanent brain damage after being crushed under a fallen fence without oxygen for 26 minutes.   Tessie shares the details of both of these experiences with deep emotion and how the pain, the moment-to-moment hardship, the heartaches, the fear have become the lessons of hope, of survival, of gratitude, of happiness.  That only when everything was nearly taken from her and she had to battle for life every day for her family did she finally begin to appreciate what she had.  And how truly she can feel joy on a level she never felt, not because life has become easier, because it has only gotten harder, but because she can appreciate the simple moments of being a wife and mother more than she ever did before.  Listen and be inspired to take a look at your own life and identify distractions that may be preventing you from truly learning to live in the moment for those things that are most important.

What is this episode about?   In this episode you will learn about:

  • Tessie’s life growing up with a big family and what she learned from them made her want to do her best and work hard at things
  • her life in sports and rodeo
  • how she met her husband
  • her husband’s experience at 15 after coming up out of the pool with blurry vision in one eye -optic nerve swollen
  • losing his sight in one eye – had to give up sports, no depth perception
  • Tessie’s expectations of marriage and family life and what she and her husband liked to do together before kids
  • In 2009 when Zach could tell cars were passing him but couldn’t’ see them and finding out his optic nerve in his other eye was swollen
  • losing his sight in the other eye after 2 weeks and the dialogue and emotions between the Tessie and Zach
  • coming home from the hospital and those things that were most difficult for Zach and most difficult for Tessie
  • losing his independence and the changing of his demeanor
  • Zach’s determination to finish school and continue his landscape business and how Tessie helped him
  • learning to laugh about it : a story about a mirror in Old Navy
  • the day Dakota was found under a fallen fence and without oxygen for 26 minutes
  • Dakota’s lack of progress that led to being sent home
  • Tessie’s fear when coming home – he looked different, acted different, they asked her to do things she had never done to keep him alive
  • her daily survival mode to and how hard and lonely it felt
  • feeling angry that God kept him alive for this life
  • turning point came over time when Dakota began to smile again
  • his progression has helped them to accept this plan that is very different than the one they had for him
  • finding so much joy living with imperfections
  • Tessie’s story of a girl who had everything but didn’t appreciate it until she almost lost it all
  • when you’ve experienced real pain, you know what real joy i like
  • being in the moment more
  • encouraging people who are going through struggles to write down their experiences.  write your heart.  blog greatest resource to see how she has grown – process of healing


Show Notes:

Tessie’s Instagram Feed

Tessie’s Blog