Sometimes it seems like yesterday. The day in February 2011 that a young man pulled out in front of my vehicle. I was going 45 mph so the impact was devastating. Days afterward, I learned that my car flipped two and a half times. The moment my vehicle started to roll, I passed out. God obviously knew I couldn’t handle the full memory. I recall panicking in my mind but being unable to do anything. I thought I was drowning. Then I thought I was inhaling smoke and my car was on fire. Still I couldn’t do anything. I was somewhat ‘aware’ but unable to move or respond. Suddenly, I knew there was nothing left to do but be with God. In that moment I was peaceful. Over dramatic? Yes, it was. It was the most dramatic single event I’d ever experienced. My life changed in many dramatic ways that day. I found out that you CAN literally cry all the time. It is possible. I never truly believed it was physically possible before. The little snippet “I’m all cried out” (you know, the one we use to convince ourselves that we can’t possibly cry continually for days) is false.
I found that my kids are even more amazing than I even knew. Since I was basically bedridden for the majority of the first six months, it was touching how much time they spent with me.
I also found that some relationships surprised me; either in their newness or strength. I found that some friends ‘fell away’. A few ‘friends’ scattered and I was defriended by three people on fb, blocked by one of them and have never seen or heard from them since. It happens, especially through hard times. Other people have hard times too and just can’t deal with anyone else’s. I understand it.
The friends that have been there through the thick and thin of it all were incredible as usual. They never falter. No matter what it is… break a nail and it made you cry – they are there. Get in an auto accident and can barely walk – they are there.
I learned something incredibly valuable: People are there for you in their own ways. Learning the ways a person shows love is more important than learning how you receive it. You may think you need someone to come to your house and hug you because it makes you feel loved. Take a moment to see that they are not physical people like you. Instead realize that the text they sent you every day was them loving you in their way! If you learn someone’s intent, you will then feel their love and it will fill your need to be loved.
I think the hardest part to get past was missing most of the last year with of both my parents. While I talked to my mother every day, I didn’t get to see her a lot. I think that will always be tough.
I can tell you a situation like this can put the largest wedge between spouses. It can be overwhelming. I have been in love with my husband for many years and we have had one of the best marriages I have ever seen. We’ve been through many things together… but never this. I had a wreck once before, in 2002. Soon after, he was deployed and missed the majority of it. That accident was NOTHING compared to this one physically. With my first accident I thought it was best that Larry wasn’t here… if he were and had to take care of me, then we might not make it. He may grow bitter as my mother did toward my father. I truly underestimated my husband. It had little to do with him and more to do with me; I’ve seen the effects long-term illness can take. Instead, through this accident I learned that falling in love doesn’t stop. I know love grows. Bonds get stronger. But I never knew I could FALL in love any more than I was. I knew I could fall more in love with God… but He’s God. On one night in particular, (my birthday and the day my father passed away), nine months many surgeries, physical therapy, and procedures after my accident, I sat across from Larry at the table in Outback Steakhouse and it seemed the entire place melted away. It was Larry and me. I fell more in love than I truly ever thought possible. Unnerving even… but also uplifting. It was one of those powerful moments that may have had many leading up to it but you didn’t really see them all until that one speechless, igniting moment.
Lastly, (most importantly) God. Some people believe that if you have a relationship with God that everything is ok, even through hard times, because you feel peace all the time. What many don’t realize is that even when you love The Lord you still feel deep despair, hurt, pain, fear, disappointment, temptation, and hopelessness. The thing you know in all of those feelings is that God, somehow, will help you work it out and will use you to bless others one day if you let Him. Most importantly, I found that God can bring you to a new wonderful place that will bless you.
I learned that being happy isn’t a requirement, it’s a perk. I can get angry and I can raise my voice and the world won’t cave in on itself.
I learned that EVERYONE has a story. NOT everyone wants to tell it but it’s still there. I decided to become a better listener, instead of always being the focus. (EXCEPT for – as my best friend pointed out to me; on my Facebook profile… it is MY Facebook after all.) I have learned that life doesn’t stop for everyone around me simply because I am going through something. God wants me to share in their something’s as well.
I have reconfirmed that (while I always knew it anyway) my wearing a suit every day (even just to the store) isn’t a bad thing. I couldn’t get ‘dressed’ for many months and now GETTING DRESSED IS GREAT!! The first time I was able to put on a pair of stockings BY MYSELF was a small miracle; wearing heels again…a GRAND one!
I have learned that while I believe in propriety, always will, I also want to let loose a little. When Larry and I do get remarried in Vegas by an Elvis impersonator I may even wear a white suit …regardless the time of year.
And while I now think speaking your mind is important, I am sorry for following the guy who cut me off in traffic to his house with my kids in the car to give him a piece of MY mind. His apology didn’t make me feel any better. Forgiving him did.
I learned that with all epiphanies, there should also come temperance.
Time isn’t forever here on earth. My auto accident happened on a clear day with fluffy clouds, money in my purse, birds chirping, and Starbucks in my cup holder… life was good. My parents passed away; my father, unexpectedly on an unexpected day and my mother, after only finding out about her terminal status two weeks prior. More of the unexpected; It was only three months after my father’s passing. Many friends also departed this Earth leaving holes in our lives through the last two and a half years due to Illness, auto accidents, and suicide.
Don’t let today pass away without appreciating something great in it! Ride with the windows down and the music up. Let the people who are important to you know it! Remember that you don’t always have to be happy but when you are – share it! 🙂