Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cause for Celebration and Reflection!

The anniversary of my accident is always cause for celebration. Whenever people find out that I actually celebrate the anniversary of my car accident they find that a bit incredulous. Or other people aren't quite sure what to say, because they feel it's a little weird/macabre to congratulate someone on a car accident that crippled their body. However, I look at it as my "second birthday." It's a day to celebrate surviving and being alive.
It's also a time to reflect. My mom, Chandra and I spent lots of time reminiscing together over the weekend. On Sunday night when my mom went to bed I told her to have/get a good night's sleep, unlike the night of November 17 in 2003. This is an excerpt from a narrative my mom wrote about my accident:

I was absolutely heartsick. Here was my beautiful daughter, lying there attached to tubes and machines, unable to move. I loved her with all my heart, and did not want her to die. But how could I want her to live if she were going to be totally paralyzed? What kind of mother would want that for a child? 

On my last visit to Heather’s room before I went home that evening, I decided to let Heather know my feelings. “Heather, you’re hurt really badly,” I said. “The doctors say you can’t move, and that it’s probably permanent. So the choice is yours – if you want to go to heaven with Dad, that is OK with me. You can go. But if you decide to stay here, I’ll be with you every step of the way and do all I can for you. The choice is yours; you decide if you want to go with Dad or stay with us.” Laura, Chandra and I also prayed together in Heather’s room before leaving, and I asked Heavenly Father that her dad be allowed to come and watch over her through the night. To this day, I firmly believe that Heather was given that choice, and she chose to live. When I asked her the next morning if her dad had been there, she blinked her eyes to say “yes.”

At about 11:00 PM, I decided that there was really nothing I could do for Heather by staying in the waiting room, and that I would need to take care of myself, too. So I told the nurse, “I am going home to not sleep.” The nurse assured me that she would call me immediately if Heather’s condition changed during the night, and that I should feel free to call at any time to check on her condition. Not surprisingly, I did not sleep much that night. I alternately cried and prayed. I did call the hospital to check on Heather and was told she was doing fine. 

cannot imagine what that day must've been like for Mom, my close family members, friends and even acquaintances. I honestly don't know what it would be like to receive word that one of my closest family members had been in a tragic car accident. I imagine it's a mind-numbingly surreal feeling that doesn't quite seem real. I know I would think something like, "Five hours ago so-and-so was fine and now THEY'RE DEAD!!!" Or, "I was just talking to so-and-so, and now they're fighting for their life!" May I never find out what those feelings are like firsthand!

Chandra made a little gift for Mom and me. When we asked her why she said, "Because it's a celebration for all of us!"
Chan made a card for each of us. Chandra isn't the kind of person that really enjoys crafting, so when she makes these nice, homemade cards for us it's a special occasion. She always writes of the sweetest notes inside. This one is definitely a keeper!
Chan bought a wooden 'H' for me and glued green chevron-striped paper on it. Then she made some cute embellishments to glue on it. I'm looking forward to putting it on my wall. For Mom she bought a plain 5 x 7 wooden picture frame and then cut colorful magazine pages into strips. She then rolled the magazine strips into tight rolls. She then glued them onto the frame. Both projects turned out really well, and it was sweet for Chan to think of us.
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