Thursday, January 12, 2012

What A Difference Thirty Two Years Makes


Thirty two years ago today, I was in a terrible car accident that killed my boyfriend and left my life...broken.  Miraculously, I survived with minor damage, although now, knowing more about traumatic brain injuries, I believe I suffered what is called a closed head injury.  This is when the body is moving, then stops abruptly, but the brain remains in motion, causing harm internally.

At the time, I just thought I was losing my mind.

Growing up in a small town, no one knew much about brain injuries or post traumatic stress disorder, or survival guilt.  Survival guilt is a mind fuck, with or without a brain injury.  Add that, and the depression, confusion and inability to focus is profound.  Months after the event, when Mom was saying, 'you've got to move on,' I was still wishing I had died in the accident.

If one believes in God, which is how I was raised, being left behind when the person you're with dies feels something like rejection.  I had a really hard time with everyone's 'you should be so grateful you're alive' speech.  My mother thought I should dedicate my life to God and bow down in worship to the One Who Saved Me.  But I had changed forever, and trying to make sense of that in my own mind, and explain it to others, was like speaking a foreign language.

I was pissed. At God, at my boyfriend, at my mother.  My dialogue with God went something like this:  'Are you shitting me?  What are you trying to prove?  If you're so all powerful, what the hell was that about?  And what, it's not my time?  Fine, now I'll do whatever I want and maybe you can get me next time if you figure out how to do it right.'  My life spiraled into a period of darkness and it took years for me to feel truly alive again.

Today, thirty two years later, I am so grateful to be alive and to share my life with a man who sees and understands all of my flaws and adores me in spite of them.  Maybe because of them.  I have a son I love dearly and a family that reminds me I am part of something bigger than myself.  And if God does exist, I have only one thing left to say.  Thank you.


image from imanassal.blogspot.com

12 comments:

  1. Josephine, this is incredibly powerful, incredibly true, and proof of why you must write despite inner messages like yesterday's. Thank YOU. <3

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  2. Yesterday I marked this anniversary as well and remembered how it so abruptly changed your life's path. To read your thoughts and feelings from that time, I realize again that NONE of us understood at ALL what was happening in your mind and heart. I wonder if you will ever know how many times since then that I too have thanked God or whatever higher power kept you in my life. Cathartic and beautiful post...

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  3. So glad you're still here. Glad you're glad you're still here. Especially glad you're writing about it. I heart you.

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  4. This brought tears to my eyes! I love you auntie... I've never heard you speak about this before now. You're such an inspiring woman. Thanks for sharing. AL ;-)

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  5. You are amazing and brave and raw and fabulous.
    xoxo

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  6. Olenska, thanks for your comment. I will continue writing even if some of it is drivel, which happens. Your encouragement means a lot.

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  7. Hi Mermaid - I wondered if you remembered the anniversary. There was no room for the expression of what was happening inside me at the time. That's part of what sucks about the 'you're so lucky to be alive' mantra - it effectively blocks anything else. Plus, it's only in hindsight that I recognize all that was happening at the time, and what physical damage might have been impacting my emotional well-being (or lack thereof). Sharing life with you is one of the great pay-offs of still being around.

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  8. Mals, thanks for your sweet comment. It's good to be here. Heart you, too.

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  9. Hey AL - so glad to see you! This part of my life has always been private, partly because it was so dark and unpleasant. It's good to know that we can get through hard times and find the sweetness in life once again. So happy that you're part of my life!

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  10. jen, thank you so much for your comment - it touched me. xoxo back to you.

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  11. I have no words that haven't already been said - ****hugs**** and so happy you are here.

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  12. Frida, thank you. I'm really glad to know you, too. Your hugs are always welcome.

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