I’ve told our story so many times now. It’s easy to punch it out without feeling everything too deeply. The phone call, running towards the flashing lights, drama in the trauma room, waiting during surgery… All of it, we can share with a certain ease. The kind of ease that comes along with so many tellings and most importantly, a happy ending.
But sitting in our counselor’s office, I could barely get the words out as I told her the details of what happened. She knew our history, our anxiety and our struggles. The story felt so close again as I attempted to piece it all together. Worried that I was upsetting Josh, I looked over at him and continued doing my best. His eyes were squeezed shut and I could see the stream of tears making their way down over the ledge of his lips.
Oh how those tears cracked me open.
After the appointment I asked if I upset him by sharing so many of the details of what had happened that day. Was it my tears that made him cry? He said no, the details were just facts. It was the sharpness of reality that pressed up against him that brought the pain. The real for real being a human reality. He said the story was a reminder that he came so close to dying. It was the hard part of living right up against the truth that bad things can, will, and do happen to all of us. That it DID almost happen to him.
Just a few days ago I was in Iowa, having the time of my life. Along with my relay team of 12. I was running the 339 hot sticky miles of hilly farm land- working hard, making new friends, laughing again and enjoying the magnificent countryside. By Saturday night we knew a storm was coming but were not prepared for the deep black sky that rolled in and the urgency of finding shelter as we were told to take cover. This wasn’t a few bolts of thunder, this was Mother Nature throwing it down.
As my van mates expertly navigated the car through the storm, I furiously texted Drew sharing pictures and small cries of fear. “I’m not gonna lie,” I told him, “I’m scared.” That phrase has a whole new level of feeling after the accident. I’m scared.
Rubbing up against the intense things used to be so much easier. Sure, a summer Iowa storm is scary, of course we’ll be telling the story and laughing about it soon. In the car I’m hoping that is how it turns out, I just now know that nothing is a given. I hope this just makes a good story with a happy ending. And it did.
As the scars heal tightly and the broken wrist is trained to be used again, we are left with the truth that trauma is a gift you are given, happy ending or not. We’ve been told it’s a bump in the road that can be faced and overcome, but it must be faced. Now we are turning towards it.
Strange numbers popping up on my phone, sirens in the distance, letting kids walk places on their own.
Flights overseas, storm warnings, navigating torrential rain.
First days of high school, middle school, meeting new people.
We continue to live life, even when we must turn towards the black clouds.