TUPELO • March 29, 1999 is a day that Teneiske “Necy” McGaha from Tupelo will always remember. 22 years ago this week when Necy was 21, she had a car accident that left her permanently and completely blind.
“Some blind people can see shapes and shadows,” said the 43-year-old Baldwyn Native. “But not me; I’m totally blind. Every now and then I get a bit of light perception, but that’s it.”
McGaha said she and a group of friends were enjoying a spring ride when the accident happened.
“I was a passenger in the back seat,” she said. “We laughed and talked when an 18-wheeler hit the road in front of us. The sunroof collapsed and crushed my skull. I was in a coma for 21 days. “
Looking back on the accident that changed her life forever, McGaha said she felt lucky to be here in the first place.
“They couldn’t get an answer from me, so they flew me to Tupelo,” she said. “The doctors said they did everything they could. I know God stepped in and did the rest. I just give him all the praise. I could have been dead and gone. “
McGaha said the accident may have robbed her of her eyesight, but in a way it opened her eyes. She says it was the beginning of her spiritual awakening.
“I had a dream in the hospital,” she said. “Jesus came to me in a dream and I ran up to him and said, ‘Jesus, Jesus, will I ever be able to see again? ‘He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Don’t worry, my child. Everything is going to be alright.’ And then I woke up. “
McGaha said she drove through a predictable range of emotions after the accident, but encountered a sense of gratitude.
“I was sad and angry and depressed and frustrated,” she said. “It was a little bit of everything. I spoke to God and said, “I wish I could see,” but I never blamed him for anything. I’m so glad he kept me so I can get my life right. “
McGaha, an active member of the North Green Street Church of Christ in Tupelo, said the accident helped her re-prioritize her life.
“I lived a wild life,” she said. “My mother kept telling me, but it cost the accident until I saw that she was right. The real friends I had were God and my mother. She never left my side. I knew that God had kept me here for a reason, and I knew I had to change. “
After the accident, McGaha went to the Addie McBryde Rehabilitation Center for the Blind in Jackson, where she said she learned to live independently.
“They’ll teach you how to do anything,” she said. “How to cook, clean, wash, wipe, iron and even sew. I sewed a lot of buttons and hemmed a lot of pants. “
McGaha’s journey to rehabilitation took her beyond basic life skills. She earned her GED and a 2005 degree in Office Systems Engineering from Northeast Mississippi Community College.
Upon graduation, McGaha worked at Lions Club Industries (LCI) in Tupelo, where she met and became friends with Glenda Thompson, LCI office clerk and security coordinator.
“I was sad and angry and depressed and frustrated. It was a little bit of everything. I spoke to God and said, “I wish I could see,” but I never blamed him for anything. I’m so glad he kept me so I can get my life right. “
Teneiske “Necy” McGaha
In 2014, McGaha found out she was pregnant with her now 7-year-old daughter Layla. Thompson said she felt compelled to help McGaha with this new challenge.
“When Necy got pregnant, I said to her, ‘You’re going to have this baby and we’re going to raise this baby,'” she said. “And that’s exactly what we’re doing. I think you could call it “shared parenting”. I feel like it’s my calling. That’s what God wants me to do. “
Together, Thompson and McGaha found creative ways to keep up with baby Layla.
“We put bells on their shoes,” Thompson said. “We had to. There were only a couple of things Necy wouldn’t do: cut Layla’s nails and put them in the tub. She was scared.”
Now Layla is a thriving first grader at Joyner Elementary in Tupelo, who enjoys playing softball and attending festivals. She said she and her mother had a special relationship because of Necy’s accident.
“I like to play with her and show her around,” she said. “I’ve run them since I was three years old. She is the best mother. “