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