Living life without fear today is nearly impossible, as we check the news and there are limbs being blown off of people, and little children being shot at what they thought was once a safe institution such as their own school. I channel from this fear is the belief that, no matter what you still have to move forward. This message comes up time and time again in my life, be it from “the accident”, or another recent heartbreak… pulling up my bootstraps has just become my way of life since age 17, and I have turned into this somewhat jaded unaffected individual who sees tragedy and simply switches into survival mode. The emotions are there but they are down within and I try not to bring that out, because it is my belief that that is weakness- however twisted that is I guess that is the reality of it. I see tragedy now as a way to learn. IE: What can we do now to stop this from happening again? What can I learn from living through this and persevering? Usually it comes down to an overarching feeling for me: and that is that- unemotional or not- thankfulness is REALLY important in life. IF YOU ARE NOT BUT ONE DAMN THING IN YOUR LIFE, I hope you will be thankful. Find any one thing to love. To rationalize living for. To wake up for. To hold onto. To cling to. One belief, one idea, one person. Anything you can say you’ve thought about before you go to sleep at night, and is your last though then, and your first one in the morning- that should be your drive, that should be your focus. You should make it your life’s mission to always see something in your life that is WORTH it. Always find something that gives you joy, and passion. and not only puts the struggles into PERSPECTIVE, but makes them WORTH living through. Leave your home in the morning knowing that you will come home to that one thing that makes it worth it for you to open up your eyes. Travel back home knowing that one thing you value makes all the struggles seem distant, all the heartache somehow less apparent. Know what you love, and keep it at the forefront of your thoughts. Let it be your motivation to get through this sometimes desolate, violent, and lonely life. When you have nothing else, you will have that one thing- the one thing that keeps the gears turning and the clock ticking.
To be continued.
Everyone says they see their life flash before their eyes when they are near death. I didn’t. I did not see my life, I didn’t see the last week of my life or even the last day… I barely saw what was blurring and fading in front of me. This is what I saw. This is what I thought.
We hit so hard against the rail it knocked the wind right out of me. I turned to my left. It felt like I was moving in super slow motion, and later I would feel exactly why. I looked down at my boots. Black ones, ones I still wear. i guess that’s a little weird. I remember thinking this may be the last mundane thing I see all night. I was right. So I turned, and I saw him. It was bad. I tried to help, but I couldn’t help. Everyone assures me there was nothing I could have done to help. I stared out the window on the passenger side knowing that’s what I had to do to stop myself from being sick. But why was I worried about throwing up in his car at that point anyway?
I looked up through windshield wipers to see my brother. The fourth face I saw after it happened. First, a man who assured me he was calling 911, told me to stop beeping the horn on the car. I thought we would get hit again if I didn’t I guess. Second, a local woman, who I knew through our town ambulance corps. She told me to roll the window down after I tried smashing it, by some twist of fate it worked. She held my hand, she told me not to try climbing out, and that it would be okay. Third, my past instructor in an ER class and an old family friend. He told me to stay in the car, and tried calming me. Then, my brother. I saw him approach like it was the most basic scene he has been to. Like it was brushing his teeth. Prepared for anything, and ready for it all. Until he saw my face.. and realized it was me in the car. I was 17, my brother was 20. Weird to think back to that now, as a 21 year old. He walked away, he called our parents. It was just the beginning for him that night.
Next I saw lights and people. Staring up at the sky and feeling the cold air on my legs. I was wearing a denim skirt, one I would later get nothing back of but a shred. I was cut out of the car, and on a backboard. I had people carrying me to an ambulance. My ex-boyfriends, my friends, my father. So many people there who saw everything that night, all my dirty laundry right there. So many people watching my family cry, watching me. The lights were those used to illuminate huge construction areas at night. There must have been about 2 of them lighting up the whole mess.
I remember thinking to myself how UNNATURAL it is to have a car and a human body fail on you like that. The word kept coming up. Unnatural. How unnatural it is to be in that situation. How unusual. How rare. (Until I learned car accidents are the number one cause of death in young adults our age.) Then I realized the extent of the damage, how it was all damage done on my side of the vehicle, and how I managed to escape unscathed. The rest of the night in the hospital I remember even the smallest of details, even going to the bathroom, which was a huge struggle. I remember getting in there staring at the door and thinking, just get out as quick as possible. I can’t be alone.
I forget what I wore home. I had no clothes, they were all cut off. I remember what a struggle it was so get in my Dad’s SUV. I had alot of help so it wasn’t so bad. We stopped at Walgreens pharmacy to get my medicine. It was open 24 hours, and it was 2 AM at that time.
The rest, as they say, is history. I didn’t see any God, there was no magical white light, I didn’t see my life flash before my eyes. Many have told me it just wasn’t my time but I still wonder, what if it was, and they had the wrong guy? I guess I’ll never know. I am lucky to be alive. I am happy to be alive. Remembering everything is a bit of a curse but also a bit of a gift. I wouldn’t want to have to guess what happened in those, my most vulnerable moments… Moments that have truly taught me so many different things about living, about life, about loving, about laughing- and the importance of all the above.
To be continued.
On this day that the world is set to end, my perfect baby nephew is being born. I’m waiting for him right now. We are all anxiously waiting for a phone call with any news. I love you Coley (yup, Ima add a y ending to your name just like I did for your daddy all these years and that’s whats up end of story.) I want only the best for you and for you to grow to be an amazing, kind, ambitious, loving person. You are real family, flesh and blood about to be brought into my life.That feeling is so real.
Cole, your Daddy and I have a complicated relationship. I love him so much. He knows it. But, I’ve done alot of stupid things that I wish I could take back because our relationship may be different now if I did. But I want you to know you can’t always take it back. And you shouldn’t live life looking behind you because you aren’t moving in reverse anyway baby boy. Just know that I never claimed to be perfect. I’m certainly not. I’m just trying to get through life like everyone else. I hope any mistakes I’ve made you can learn from. Also, I hope one day you have a little sister to grow up with like me and your dad. She can look up to you the way I did.
Your mom and dad both do great things. They were crazy about each other from the first time I saw them together until this very day. High school sweethearts, just like your gram and grandpa. I always wanted something like what they had, something unfaltering, like it was just imbedded in them to be together and that was that. Well, that didn’t happen, and that’s okay. I took alot of windy roads, alot of strange turns in the process and this is where I ended up. 21 as of now, still at home, in college, etc. Your dad did things a different way and built his life MUCH quicker than I could. He really knows what he is doing. Please take his advice as your grow. He may act rough around the edges but your dad is an amazing man. He can pick you up by your bootstraps in one single instant, and though you may think he’s being tough, know that in this family, that is the way we do things.
It took me till I was 17 to see it that way. We don’t linger with our problems for long. We have such enormous support from each other that there is no need to be sad for too long. We will laugh harder than any other family you come to know. We tell ridiculous jokes and say the dumbest things sometimes but there is so much love in us and we are “chomping at the bit” to give it all to you. I can’t wait to grow with you. I can’t wait to be your aunt and meet you and see who you become in the future. I hope you can look up to me and get excited to see me like I always did with our Aunt Kim and Aunt Beth when I was younger. You should see how excited everyone is to see you. It’s almost ridiculous. (Your mom would say its a little ridiculous, haha) but it’s true. You are going to change all our lives forever. Tomorrow, my life changes until the day I die. Soon there will be a play pen in your dad’s old room, a pack-and-play somewhere upstairs, and other baby stuff laying around. I knew this day would come soon and now that it’s here I’m overcome with this feeling that… I can’t believe there will be another little life around here. One that we get to shape and play a part in.
Love you Coley I can’t wait to meet you. There’s so much more I have/want to say to you and thankfully I have the rest of my life to tell you. You will like it around here, kid.
First thing: Well… Since my life path is deviating slightly from the one I had in my mind a couple years ago, I’m re-working it right now into something better. What annoys me is that everybody has a god damn opinion and I’m not sure why, being that it’s my life at the end of the day… and my plans do not include anything but GOOD, POSITIVE changes. I’ll never understand why someone would encourage another person not to get more education just because of student loans? But to each their own. That’s a whole ‘nother convo entirely.
Second: WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH MALES THESE DAYS HOLY CRAP? For real lately I’m hearing about dudes (and have met plenty) who get a girl who is down to do whatever, funny, smart, cute, fun… and they just drop her like it ain’t no thang, with no rhyme or reason. It would be a different story if there was something behind it but, nahhh. Guys, I just don’t understand why you chill w girls who are the complete package then decide for no reason that you’re just “done”… If there’s a problem why don’t you tell them? Or if you’re not feelin it, tell them… Instead of ignoring texts that we know you read? haha. I digress.
Third: Let it be known that I will “chase” you to a certain degree, but trust son, there is a line that I don’t cross when it comes to communicating, and it includes NOT texting you 50 times hoping for your response. Here is the thing… People say “What if they don’t check their phones? What if they’re sleeping? What if they are doing blahblahblah.” Here is a little reality check for everyone. I DON’T date 50 year old men who don’t know how to work a cellular device. They ARE checking their phones. They ARE checking facebook. They DO see my texts- most likely right after I send them, haha. So I get it if you don’t answer… though I’m gonna be honest, I’m not so sure why not you don’t… but why not let a sister in on your reasons? By then chances are you are off my list anyway.
Fourth: I know your reasons anyway, don’t think I’m stumped on you.
Fifth and MOST IMPORTANT: On this day that the world is set to end, my perfect baby nephew is being born. I’m waiting for him right now. We are all anxiously waiting for a phone call with any news. I love you Coley (yup, Ima add a y ending to your name just like I did for your daddy all these years and that’s whats up end of story.) I want only the best for you and for you to grow to be an amazing, kind, ambitious, loving person. You are real family, flesh and blood about to be brought into my life.That feeling is so real.
Giving my mind time to wander pretty wildly I created a whole new ideal plan for myself in the next two years. The scariest thing is I would never know until it happens if it will happen like I want it to. I’m not sure what to expect or how to expect it, but I know what I want and when. I don’t think there is anything wrong with looking ahead, in the end, you’ve got to have a plan or you’ll end up in your parents basement forever, right?
Does it make me a control freak to think to myself how exactly I want this to play out? To potentially involve other people in some strange fantasy that I may call my life? Does it make me a realist? How would I even know if I was or wasn’t crazy for doing this, how would you know? I guess it’s up to everyone whether they look ahead or not. These days though, I’m looking ahead and not behind me.
It’s not like I had a drug problem, an alcohol problem, or any significant thing that would shape my past as horrific. I don’t have a bad life. I have great parents etc. But… I guess I wonder these days why delve into the old when you can look forward to the new? I don’t want to tell you about my ex’s. And honestly… its better to not know about yours! That is a great life lesson I’ve learned. haha.
One thing I can’t really get away from is the accident, though. How would I get around talking about that, when it is still something that somewhat defines me? Not entirely, but in a time of crisis, when my anxiety peaks, when I feel alone, when I feel scared… Where do I go to? What do I think about? I go to that night, and sometimes hang out there. Thinking about everything. The details after 4 years that are still etched into my brain and will never be smoothed over. And that is okay with me, because it is somewhat of a comfort knowing that I will always remember Andy but… sometimes I wonder when I can start to not go to that place when I’m down.
I feel sometimes like it is similar to telling someone you’ve gotten a divorce or something. There is so much baggage that comes with it, how could I side-step it? With PTSD still hanging on, how strange would it be if I was riding in someones car and when they sped up I freaked out and they not know why…?
Then again I wonder if I’m just not giving myself enough credit. I have overcome it alot. I don’t have a severe case of anything anymore. I don’t smell gas and freak out, I don’t think every driver I drive with is out of control, and I don’t refuse to drive with my friends anymore. I could potentially help someone else suffering because I have overcome alot of things that slowed me down for months in 2008 AND 2009 that still exist but are not in full swing. Who knows. I guess I wrote this in a really rambling fashion because I wanted to write something and didn’t have much to say. But I think I think smaller of myself than I should. I should be more confident. If someone doesn’t like what I tell them then that’s not my problem, that is theirs. I’ve been through it and came out the other end stronger for it and that alone should mean some respect.