Ten years ago today, my life drastically changed, for the better. Only 3 weeks after my wedding day...Some of you know what happened, some of you don't, and some of you have no idea anything happened at all. Today was the day I totaled my brand new 4runner by crashing into a rock wall...
I remember lying there after my X-ray in the ER and hearing the tech gasp as she held the x-ray up to the light. As she was rolling me out of the room, I looked up at it and asked her to stop so that I could look too. It took two seconds for me to see what was wrong. “My back… it’s fractured.” Not in one or two places, but three. Two in one region and one in another. She didn’t reply, so I repeated myself. As the tears began to roll, she replied that I had to wait for the doctor to talk to me. I didn’t need a doctor. I could read the x-ray. Clearly, it was broken. Suddenly, my life felt broken. Suddenly I felt like I was in a tunnel and could hear nothing of what was going on around me. My life would never be the same. All the things I love to do, I could no longer do. Ever again.
Once I saw the surgeon and we discussed options, he decided I was young and I would heal without the surgery. I doubted him. I doubted myself. Weeks went by and I sank into a darkness. Each week I thought about how I should have demanded the surgery. All I could do was lie in bed, because getting up hurt. It wasn’t the worst pain I had felt, but I knew the hurt meant I shouldn’t do it. I had to have help getting up. How was I going to be a wife and a partner when I needed him to do everything for me? Everything. When your life motto is “I can do it myself,” it’s hard to have no choice but to depend on someone else. I couldn’t even shave my own legs. He did that for me. It was in that one moment that I knew he truly loved me.
Although I was shown so much love and support from others, the darkness began to take hold on me. I was angry. Angry at God for putting me in this position. Angry at myself for not being more careful. Angry at the construction workers for not doing what they should to prevent the accident. I pushed people away. One friend even told me, “Well you SHOULD be thankful for your life and focus on your blessings.” How dare he? He didn’t know. In my mind he didn’t have a clue because he had never been through this. He was the only person to tell me this, but yet did nothing to help me see through to the positive. The darkness lingered. Life was hard. I had a long road of healing physically, and although I didn’t realize it at the time, mentally and spiritually as well.
I doubted everything. I doubted my future. I doubted my progress. I doubted my physical therapist, who at every session would tell me I could do this. After all, the surgeon had told me that my life wouldn’t be the same. I would have a life of possibly injuring my back. It would never be strong. If I ever did have a child, carrying that child would cause problems and giving birth could possibly put so much pressure on those bones they could fracture again. He wasn’t positive in anything except telling me I would eventually heal without surgery. Months went by and I still hurt. Maybe he was wrong.
The first few days after my wreck, people came. They sent flowers. People called. They were there, and then just like that, they were gone. Aside from my parents, my grandparents, and my new husband being there, I felt alone. I’m a social person, and I needed those connections. I found them in friends that actually were not that close. Those people meant more to me than anything else at the time. They had no idea, but I did and I still remember. For it was those people who gave me that glimpse of hope.
Today. Today marks 10 years and for the last few months, it has consumed my thoughts. My grandfather used to say that for every decade of your life, you should be able to look back and see a different person. If you see the same person, you are doing it wrong. It wasn't until recently that I truly understood this because today I am not the same person that I was on the day of my wreck. Today I look at life as if it could be gone tomorrow. I remember it every day. I hold my friends close and my loved ones closer. I let go of the ones dragging me down. I cling to the happy and positive things in life. I sit in the sun and not only feel the warmth of it on my skin, but soak the rays straight into my soul. I feel the breeze on my face when the wind blows and hear it rustle through the trees as the leaves dance in tune. I see the things I never really saw before. I thrive off laughter and smiles and happiness. I know the Secret. I found yoga. I practice it as it is meant to be, through my mind, body, and spirit.
It has been a long long road. I am still learning. I am still building my strength in my back, mind, and spirit. Somewhere along the way I vowed to never let my back become weak because I was told what I couldn't do, and that became, "Watch me prove you wrong." It was months before I made it to the point. Perhaps it was losing my job that I loved, less than two weeks after coming back from healing my back, which still had not healed. Perhaps it was sinking to the saddest point. Perhaps it was my closest relationships falling apart as a consequence of being consumed with my problems. Perhaps it was hearing from others how angry I was. Perhaps it was my husband forcing me to watch "The Secret." Perhaps, it was all of these things that slowly turned me around to face the sun instead of standing with my shadow.
Those quotes you read about life that tell you to remain positive, such as "Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day," once were just quotes. Today I really really get it. I see the importance of focusing on those good things. I see the reason to soak in the laughter of a child, the brush of someone else's skin on yours, the sounds of the evening as the sun sets, the wondrous colors of the sky. When I started really noticing those things, life began to change. My spirit began to turn towards the Earth and soak in the things I was taking for granted. That wreck changed my life. At first, I thought it was changing it for the negative. I feel now as if God was telling me to wake up and to give me a second chance to live the life I was meant to live. I believe now that these things happen to us for this reason. I found my purpose in life while walking this path, when 10 years ago I had no idea what that was. I gave birth to a child, and yes I did have problems during labor with my back, but I did it and I did not injure myself because of how strong it had become. I feel confident in looking at myself today and myself 10 years ago and seeing a completely different person. A person I can actually love.