The accident has really been haunting me in the last few weeks. I don’t know if it’s just the anniversary, or the fact that it’s been really feeling like summer, and the memories are coming rushing back, or what the reason. I have been trying to embrace it and make sense of it. I’ve tried for this (almost) year to sift through my feelings, deal with each one, and then put them away neatly. It has been difficult at times, and then I’ll have a span of time in which I think I’m fine, I’ve mastered and dealt with it. I also have days like last Saturday, when I called 911 from my cell phone to report a piece of furniture in the 5 freeway. I hung up the phone and suddenly had a memory of calling 911 last August 6th, getting Highway Patrol, and dealing with them; trying to get in contact with anyone who could help me. Highway Patrol, of course, can do nothing. I was remote…he was on water…I had to be transferred many times as they debated who could help me. They weren’t sure what county I was in, or if Parker, Arizona, could respond more quickly. At one transfer, the second HP dispatcher, when quickly filled in on what I was calling about, not knowing I was on the line, said “good luck” under her breath. Dispatcher 1 said, quietly, “she’s on the line.” There was a silence, and then the second dispatcher said, “oh honey, I’m sorry. Was he wearing a life jacket?”
He was, and I could sing the praises of life jackets, or his low resting heart rate, or any other facet of luck that resulted in his still being alive…but it’s not enough. It doesn’t make sense that he is still here. Sometimes I wake up and for a moment I wonder if I dreamed the past year, and I’ll open my eyes and be somewhere else, and alone.
The past year has been incredible. It’s been incredibly hard in parts, as well. It’s hard to believe that one year after I thought my life was ending with his on a bank of the Colorado River, we’re living in a house, that we bought, and awaiting anxiously our first child. J will have a son, and I hope that he gets J’s laugh (but maybe my singing voice). [I kid, I kid]
I suppose I’ve reached that point in this monologue where I should reach some conclusions. I would like to tell you that I see the plan in this, that I understand why it happened and have learned from it. I’m not certain I do, or ever will. Not to say that I’m angry it happened, because I’m not. I feel too fortunate to have room for anger. I feel mostly gratitude, and disbelief. I also don’t mean to imply that I have learned nothing from it, because I have:
The capacity for love that some people have is astounding. It’s made me grateful and has been helpful and humbling in my relationships with others.
My own capacity to survive shocked me. I feel as though it was something about me I had never known, and wouldn’t know, had this not happened. And yet part of me wishes I didn’t know. My ability to survive has also scared me, in a way that is hard to describe. Perhaps because I worry what else I could handle, and it brings to mind the question of what else I will endure.
The human body is astounding, fragile, and resilient. I was left with the message ringing through my head that we are made to heal. We are designed so well for healing, and the healing process is so sophisticated and amazing… I try to remember this in tough times as well. We are made to heal.
Life is precious. I think this is the message you’d assume I’d have. Life can be short, life can be taken so quickly, and each day is a gift.
I don’t get to understand everything. There will be times in life that I will not be able to wrap my mind around, and that is okay. I am not privy to all the secrets of the universe!
Miracles happen. This is the hard one for me. I don’t feel worthy sometimes. I don’t understand why J’s life was saved when others are not as fortunate. I don’t know why so many things happen, or don’t. I tried to understand this for so long, but like the point above, I’ve had to accept that it’s not for me to know why, just to be thankful every day.
Maybe in another year, or five or ten, I’ll have more of the answers. In some ways I’m right where I was a year and 1 day ago: grateful, surprised, in awe. Perhaps time will bring greater introspection, and with it, greater understanding. But for today, gratefulness is the key. I am grateful for J’s miracle, the EMTs, firemen, paramedics, trauma doctors and nurses, Hanson House, my family, my friends, my health, my marriage. I am grateful for the place I am now, mentally and physically, and I look forward to the future. I am grateful to have a future, with J. I am grateful, as always, for any and all experiences that cause me to appreciate and cherish my life and loved ones, no matter how painful or transformative. I am thankful for my ability to heal and grow, and for the people and processes that have helped me on this journey. I am thankful for my ability to appreciate and love. Always love.
I will leave you with this, if you’ve had the fortitude to make it this far.
No matter how hard life gets, it is worth it. Your relationships are worth the journey. Buckle up and enjoy it as much as you can.