Well, I have been avoiding this blog long enough so I will finally bite the bullet and try to once again to put my scattered thoughts into a reasonably well defined journal entry. Don’t misunderstand me, I have also been busy with school so that has taken up a lot of my time; but instead of writing, I find myself looking for distractions. Books, tv, movies, games- anything to take my brain away from confronting my feelings and assessing my life. Of course, you can only go so long until your emotions are ready to explode.
A long time ago, on my Believe in Miracles blog, I wrote about the stages of grief. Just to refresh your memory, there are 5 (or some say 7, but I’d rather go through just 5) stages of grief. They are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. At one time, I thought I thoroughly completed the cycle and was done. Wham, bam, thank you mamm, got the T-shirt and was on my way. I felt I had peace and it was time I moved on. Or so I thought.
Now I’m a firm believer that it’s not a neat and orderly cycle. It’s more like a pinball machine where you’re violently bounced from stage to stage. There’s no rhyme or reason, no pattern or easy way to navigate through coping a major life change. You may feel at peace for so long, but then unexpectedly begin to suffer back through the tough trials that you thought were settled. At least, that’s my theory.
That being said, lately I have felt a flood of emotions that have me trying to completely void them out and focus on any distractions to keep myself from dwelling in sorrow. The accident has just been such a drastic life change, in every aspect of my life. Physical abilities aside, adjusting emotionally has proved far more difficult. I know that my body does not define who I am, but it is hard not to feel like it doesn’t affect it.
Prior to my injury, I never sat still. Working as a waitress, I was always on my feet, but even at home, I was often doing things that kept me moving. Not only did I love to clean, but I was constantly doing things around my house like rearranging furniture, hanging or moving pictures, curtains, bookshelves – anything I could reach and then some. I wouldn’t hesitate to climb 10 ft ladders or climb on my countertops in order to accomplish my tasks. My life was anything but routine; quite the contrary, actually, it was chaotic and spontaneous. I didn’t live in the future, I never made plans, I just went where the wind took me. I was only 23 and still discovering who I was and who I wanted to be. You could have called me a bit of a free spirit.
Needless to say, the accident has completely revamped my lifestyle. Spontaneity is out the window. Now, it takes 1-2 hours just to shower, get dressed, get up and get ready for the day. No more jumping in my car to go on a random road trip, or meeting my friends at the bar in 15 minutes. Going out now takes time and planning ahead. I feel these circumstances have undoubtedly affected my relationships, which is what this blog was originally about.
I’m realizing how much my relationships with some of my friends have drastically changed and to be honest, it’s heartbreaking. I recently saw this saying on Facebook and it hit the nail on the head, “Hard times reveal true friends.” For a long time, I was angry about that. Angry with the people who have completely vanished. What changed? Do they not know how to be around me now? Was I no longer beneficial to them? Did I no longer have anything to offer? I don’t have those answers and never will, but that’s ok. I was mad for a long time, without having any closure. There were times I feel like I had to beg people to come visit. I get empty promises and never hear back. That stings. No one should have to take that from people you love.
My life stopped on June 13, 2010. I have been working since then to regain my life. My independence, my purpose, my identity. Fighting through a life changing accident changes you so much and makes you question so much about yourself. There are many internal battles and struggles; your relationships should not be one of those struggles. My life stopped and everybody else (with the exception of maybe my mom who is my caregiver) got to move on. I feel like, because of my circumstances -no longer being able to go out whenever and wherever we wanted- really destroyed some of my relationships. It is hard to not feel angry about it sometimes, but I am beginning to find peace with it. Who needs friends like that?
While some people have vanished, there are old friends who reappeared. People who, no matter how much time passes or how out of touch you become, they will always be there for you when you get knocked down. There have been new friendships I’ve made since my injury and are undoubtedly lifelong relationships. Sincere and beautiful friendships that would not have happened had it not been for the accident. So I guess I look at it like this: my injury weeded out the people in my life who didn’t need to be there, brought back my true friends, and introduced me to precious, new relationships. That’s a positive way to look at it right?
On another note, only 52 days til Shepherd! I opted to postpone my return until I am finished with my classes (that I’m pretty are giving me an ulcer). I have been under the weather for the last few days with a bug, but hopefully I’ll be back on my feet by next week to start getting all my ducks in a row for Shepherd. Also, given I start feeling better, I’m finally going driving this weekend!! That’s a scary and exciting thought. I hope this blog made more sense written down than floating around in my head (although, to be honest, I didn’t proofread it well, so it’s likely a hot mess). It was just something I had to vent. Unless you been in this situation, you can’t quite grasp what a reality shock and heartbreak it is to lose people you loved in your life because of an injury/lifestyle change. But, c’est la vie! Til next time, au revoir.
“As we grow older we don’t lose friends, we just learn who the real ones are.”