Six year later it’s still weird. It’s still awkward. Frankly, neither I, nor anyone else, truly knows how to handle it. How does one handle an anniversary one doesn’t want to celebrate? Most people just ignore it.
- Hey, this is the day your marriage officially fell apart.
- Hey, this is the day you were kidnapped.
- Hey, this is the day you fell into the fire and became disfigured.
- Hey, this is the day your baby was born with all sorts of long-term health issues.
- Hey, this is the day you were paralyzed.
Yeah, not a lot of Hallmark cards for those occasions, but nonetheless, and as painful as it may be to acknowledge, all of the above-mentioned things have happened to people. And those people are still here. The above-mentioned people are still here trying to live life to the best of their ability with an anniversary date etched in their minds, where no one physically died, but life sure changed forever.
As I sit here writing, it is Saturday, July 17. I hate this day. I say that, yet this day is a day where I am simultaneously so incredibly thankful to be alive.
Like I said, it’s really weird.
Six year ago at this very moment I was sitting pinned in a vehicle on a West Virginia highway in excruciating pain simply trying to breathe. My husband and children had all been whisked away by this point, but I was still pinned in the vehicle, as amazing helpers did everything they could to help me. And although I knew there were plenty of people around, let’s be real, at that point it was just Jesus. . .and me.
This morning I ran in a 5K. A few people have asked why I run since my “wreck leg” isn’t always the greatest. I know they mean well, but I honestly can’t even understand why anyone would ask me that question.
I run because I can.
I run because my daughter can’t.
I don’t know what to do with people who can physically move and choose not to.
The race this morning started going downhill and I shot off like a rocket. In training I run a comfortable 10:30 mile and a 10 minute mile if I’m pushing it. My first mile this morning was 8:57. And just like July 17 six years ago, I found myself basically running by myself. Some were in front of me. More were behind me. No one was really running at my pace but me. I was out of breath from the beginning and I chuckled in my head at the irony. The irony was that it was much more difficult to breathe in that smashed van on a highway than it was in a race so I kept going, at what for me was a blistering pace. Period.
One friend sent me flowers for today. The card reads, “Because July 17th sucks. Love ya.”
I told her that was the best possible card I could ever receive on this date.
One friend wrote a beautiful tribute about me and shared it with me. It honestly sounded a bit like a eulogy, but that’s ok. I think we have things on earth screwed up. We wait until a person is dead to tell them how much we love them and say nice things about them. I think we should do that while people are living.
My doctor did a biopsy this week and I am waiting to hear the results. I don’t think I’m a negative person, but I appreciate how the doctor prepared me for bad news. If it is cancer, I know what steps will come next. Yes, it seems as if every year since July 17, 2015, there’s always been some new “extra” thrown into the wreck/paralysis anniversary. Maybe it’s my father’s stroke, maybe it’s potential cancer, maybe. . .there always seems to be a maybe every year. So maybe that’s why I ran my best race today.
- Maybe because there are no guarantees.
- Maybe because I am so thankful.
- Maybe because God doesn’t owe me anything.
- Maybe because there is always something to be grateful for.
At age 50 this morning, I was the fourth female to cross the finish line. I was bested by a 46 year old woman with two dogs, a 16 year old, and a 19 year old. I’ll take it. I finished 19th out of 53 runners. I’ll take it. My son ran in the race and beat me by 11 minutes and 41 seconds. I’ll take it. I’m waiting for an important and scary phone call from the doctor which I hope will come on Monday. I’ll take it. Tonight, I will go to church with my husband and both kids. I’ll take it. I don’t know what the future holds. I’ll take it.
Six year later it is all still stupid, and unfair, and horrible, and hard, and I’m sick of it. I never wanted to be the lady known as, “The paralyzed girl’s mom.” I want the repercussions from paralysis to stop for my daughter. . .and they never do.
And six years later it has impacted my life for good, made me mentally stronger, physically stronger, wiser, and more grateful. It has brought me back to teaching elementary students, whom I adore. It has motivated me to take better care of myself physically and emotionally. It has really put so much of life in perspective, so much so, that even a global pandemic doesn’t even get me worked up.
Six years later, whatever it is, I’ll take it. I’ll take it because God has got it. Period.
Until the next Wednesday the Lord allows. Thanks for any recommendations you might make to family and friends about the blog.