The story of tragedy always starts out the same – it comes uninvited and unannounced. In a second, life as it’s known and taken for granted is irrevocably altered. It Rained in the Desert by Jocelyn Dettloff is the account of tragedy’s striking on Sunday, April 13, 1997. Jocelyn, a free-spirited woman, travelled the globe seeking adventure and returned home just long enough to wait tables to pay for her next trip. While on a 3-month excursion in Africa, she broke her back in a sledding accident and was paralyzed permanently. The story of tragedy starts out the same; but, how it “turns out” depends on the character and resilience of the person affected. And, for Jocelyn it came down to a choice – embrace her new reality fully or withdraw and let life pass her by. Fatefully, she chose to focus on “now and how,” rather than “why”.
Jocelyn’s story is told with brutal honesty – her courageous attitude was not devoid of anger, grief, and pain – and relayed as an internal adventure that paralleled her external ones. It is a detailed account of her journey from total dependency to independence and is articulated with humor and wisdom.
Joyelyn embraces life; through determination and enterprise, she finds ways to drive, work, play tennis, water ski, and snow ski. In 2005, she won the “Ms. Wheel Chair Michigan” competition, in which judges rate contestants on speaking ability, advocacy, and living life with a disability. Each contestant had to develop a platform and a message to deliver in a speech at the competition. Jocelyn’s message was aimed to dispel the negative stereotypes that oppress persons with disabilities.
Prior to her accident, Jocelyn was a beautiful, free-spirited, fun-loving, smart, adventurous woman. Post-accident Jocelyn is a beautiful, free-spirited, fun-loving, smart, adventurous woman that happens to live life in a wheel chair. Jocelyn lives and works in Grand Rapids.
Watch Jocelyn with Bryan on WZZM Channel 13 Take Five morning show at 9:00am Monday, January 5. She will also be joining the monthly Book Club at 6:00 pm Monday, January 5, at the Book Nook & Java Shop in downtown Montague – bring everyone you know to meet this special author.