Today marks two years.
Two years ago, I was involved in a major car accident. It was life altering for me. The other driver hit our suburban head-on. She didn’t survive the crash. Her two grandchildren in the car with her that day left with a lifetime of emotional distress, my mom couldn’t walk at all and I was fine, at least on the surface.
My mom stayed in the hospital for two weeks before being transferred to a rehabilitation center for another month. Those first two months, I hardly saw her. I couldn’t bring myself to see what had happened to my mom, all because I wanted to move some furniture that day. I felt guilty, for taking her mobility and for taking the life of another person. It has taken me two years, lots of guilt and months of therapy to realize there was nothing I could have done differently that day. We were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even if I had persuaded her to help me that day, it still was an uncontrollable event.
In the past two years, I have suffered chronic knee, back and shoulder pain because of the impact. I have trouble concentrating and remembering due to a concussion from hitting the steering wheel. I have anxiety anytime another car gets too close or traffic suddenly stops.
It’s been two years, but I still have problems.
I spent today spending money. I went to my classes, sat through a CEO presentation for my internship, and then decided to stop by the mall. I received a settlement check from that accident just a few days ago. I have so far used it to pay off my college credit cards, a few remaining doctor’s bills and tuition fees from this semester at school. Today, I spent some on me. I bought a new iPad, went to the eye doctor for eye glasses and bought new makeup. Things I wanted and things I really needed. I really debated the iPad at first, but I love it (I’m actually typing on it now!). It will be great for the rest of the semester, for work notes and for my travels. I’m happy with my decision.
But I do feel guilty. I think I kept wandering the mall today because I was both excited and sad. I was celebrating another year of recovery while doing my best to keep from crying over a lost life and a rough two years.
Walking around the mall with my mom tonight (who has to have surgery on her knee tomorrow, actually) was a perfect way to spend this “crashiversary”. I was spending time with the woman I was scared to death of losing – first to an accident and then to me pushing her away.
I can’t explain how I feel about everything, especially everything involving that accident. After it happened, I completely shut down. I shut everyone out and became so dispassionate about everything. It had taken me two years to break through and finally see the happy-go-lucky, carefree girl I used to be shining through again. I’ve missed her, the person I was before that joy stealing day.
Looking back, I can’t help but be a little bit thankful. Thankful to a God who saves and heals and teaches. Thankful for the ability to walk and run and dance. Thankful to amazing friends and family who never gave up on me, even when i was so close to giving up on myself.
I value life so differently now. I look at it from a completely different perspective and I know what it is like to be truly blessed. Life is to be lived and loved and enjoyed. Always remember that.