On a sunny summer day almost two years ago I set out on my lunch break to see if the house we were interested in purchasing was still for sale. As I found this to still be the case, I quickly made my way down another street heavily infested with for sale fliers. A cute house caught my eye and I swiftly flipped around, thinking back the house was not that wonderful and had I known the consequences of my decision I would have never turned around. Upon doing so I was almost immediately hit by what felt like a semi truck, for a few brief seconds I thought I was going to die. I remember as the car slide sideways down the wrong side of the street how never in a million years did I foresee I would die this way, this young, and on this day. I braced myself for the impact of another car possibly hitting me going the other way, but to my utter shock and amazement another one never did. As the car finally came to a hault I remember a man quickly appeared and told me to get out before the car exploded. My adrenalin pumping far greater than ever before I could not get my legs to move. I was paralyzed, I knew it, it was no shock to me based of the impact I had just endured. "Cameron would still love me, my family would still love me, I would be alright." In the midst of everything those were my actual clear, distinct thoughts.
Shortly thereafter, the same man was my angel that day ripped my favorite skirt and pulled me out of the car. Sitting on the side of the road, my favorite skirt ripped, my beautiful car ruined, glass and debris covering my body I realized I was not paralyzed, I was just trapped by my skirt. Feeling intense pain, but needing to alert my loved ones of what just transpired I frantically called my husband, "I got in a car accident and it is really, really bad".
Taken away in an ambulance, conscience enough to want to be modest and fashionable I requested my skirt be pulled down to its proper place and inquired as to the whereabouts of my other shoe. Being strapped to a stretcher is almost as painful as being in a car accident. My head firmly pressed against the board, my kneck and arms restrained, I started to panic and needed fresh air. Once at the hospital, I kept asking anyone I saw if they had seen Cameron. I just needed my strength because I was feeling so weak, I needed to cry, but did not want to freely give that away to strangers. He finally arrived and all my emotions bubbled over like a pot of boiling water. Having a flair for drama, I am sure my comments did not catch him too off guard, but once he had viewed the car several days later at the auto repair lot, he was stunned by the extent of the damage. In the aftermath of this horrific experience I was taught or retaught several important concepts. One, be grateful for the body that you have because the line between able and disable is very thin. Two, you should feel overwhelmed by how much those around you love and care for you. Three, we all have distinct, important purposes on this earth. Four, adversity is meant to make us stronger if we allow it.
Cameron and I lead an active life, so to temporarily barely being able to walk was traumatic for me. I started out using a walker, I felt as though I had aged ten fold, a particularly low point was when a walk that would normally take ten minutes took us something like over an hour. I would love to report how I was a pillar of strength and hope at all times, but I was also an angry, crying, pitiful, poor me, why me mess. I was taught humility as I rode the freight elevator up to work instead of walking the three flights of stairs, as I hobbled along with my walker and my envy for those who could walk grew tenfold. Soon I was onto a cane and felt slightly less ridiculous, all the while Cameron encouraged me to go places and stood by my side as proud to be out with me as ever. My parents came to our rescue providing us a place to stay since I could not manage the one flight of stairs up to our place. Slowly my body started moving like it used to, I would lay on the couch after work and dream of going running, being sweaty and breathing deeply. During a rather "poor me" Saturday, Cameron took me to Mt. Rainier where all I could do was walk the quarter mile to the bench. Would I ever be the same? I had my doubts. Months past and I deemed it the "ruined" Summer, I had big plans (when do I not) and I felt all the good weather and fun of Summer I had missed pressing down on my shoulders. I vowed to myself I would never live in West Seattle, I would never return to the scene of the crime, I would never drive down that street again. Time marched forward I did drive down the street again, the first several times I would cry and cry, as luck would have it I would end up living in West Seattle and drive down that street all the time and do not cry.
One day I was back to running, all the world was right again, oh wait.....I felt it on my bruised hip, I did not feel like my old self, but then again I never would nor never should. If I had really absorbed the lessons learned I would be changed, permanently changed and now as a reminder I on and off feel the pain as my personal check list to remind me of what I have learned and oftentimes choose to forget. I am lucky, I was spared, I have a purpose and it could have been much worse.