When Carol Decker, a member of the Enumclaw Washington Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, signs her letters, she writes: “Forever Grateful.”
“I am so grateful to be alive and I’m grateful for every moment that I have,” she said.
Decker is blind and a triple amputee, but this doesn’t define her. She is a mother, a motivational speaker, a wife, a friend and a follower of Jesus Christ. In her book “Unshattered: Overcoming Tragedy and Choosing a Beautiful Life” (Shadow Mountain Publishing, $15.99, 204 pages), Decker describes her life-altering experiences battling sepsis and creating her new life.
“You can turn something bad — any trial in your life — into something good and make it an opportunity,” she said. “I didn’t set out to (write a book), I was just surviving day by day and it has taken multiple years to get here.”
In 2008, Decker — then pregnant with her second daughter — walked into the hospital experiencing early labor contractions and flu-like symptoms. She did not anticipate that three months later she would be returning home without her eyesight, her lower legs or her left hand.
“Unshattered: Overcoming Tragedy and Choosing a Beautiful Life” takes readers on a personal journey through Decker’s darkest moments and greatest triumphs as she learns lessons in love, gratitude, forgiveness and true connection to others through the healing process.
“We are all going through loss,” Decker said. “Some people have recently lost a parent and some are battling cancer, some have lost their house or their job. My loss isn’t greater than anyone else's, it’s just different. We are all here to help each other through these losses and to connect with each other.”
Decker said when she first realized this, she was able to put aside her insecurities and really connect with other people, and she found more happiness her life. Through her healing journey, she also became closer to Jesus Christ, and after 10 years of inactivity, she started to pray again and decided to come back to church.
“As I went through the conversion process, I would connect with my Savior more than before because I understood the Atonement better than ever before in my life,” Decker said. “I knew that he knew what I felt like even though nobody else did. I want to see my children again, and for me that’s being a member of the church and believing what I believe in so that I can have an eternal family.”
Before she began the process of writing the book, Decker was asked to speak about her experiences to various groups of people. While at a Time Out for Women event, she met author Michelle Wilson who said, “OK, we have to find you a writer. You need to write a book.”
“She was so great about it because I don’t profess to be a writer, I just love telling stories, speaking and sharing,” Decker said.
Shortly after that conversation, Decker began working with her co-author, Stacey Nash. Decker would use the voice software on her phone to dictate her life story and sent them to Nash through emails.
“Then she would make everything pretty!” Decker said of Nash’s writing.
According to Decker, writing her life memoir has been one of her greatest blessings and sources of peace.
“You don’t realize it at the time that you are learning life lessons,” Decker said. “I encourage everyone to write their own story. It is important to write your own memoir to your family of what you feel like the big moments of your life are that have taught you things, even though we just might not feel like we have time to write them down. For me, it was just about learning how precious life is.”