Friday, November 17, 2017

14 | What I Would've Missed

Today is November 17, and marks the 14th anniversary of my car accident. I'm glad I've made it another year! I'm also glad that I survived the terrible accident that left me close to death and permanently paralyzed. There are so many amazing things that I would've missed out on in life had I died.

For example, my younger sister Chandra was 14 when I had my accident (and I was 19). We weren't especially close at the time since she was my little sister and I was several years older than she. (Although, we did have some good times together when I would take her to the movies, and we also have fond memories of one time when I took her to Target, and we came out to the car and ate those Treasures chocolates that Nestlé used to make.) Over the past 14 years, Chandra and I have grown extremely close, and she is one of the dearest people to me. I just love her SO much! We have so many inside jokes together and we can see a silly TV commercial and just know that it would make the other one laugh. We finish each other's sentences, and I cannot tell you how many times one of us says something, and the other one says, "I was just about to say that!" If I had died in my accident, we would never have had this close bond between us, and that is an extremely unhappy thought. Just thinking about never having this connection with her is enough to make me cry! I am SO glad that she was adopted into our family, because I cannot imagine my life without her! I'm closer with the rest of my sisters now than I was in 2003, too. I love them all so much, and I can't help but think about all of the fun family times that I would've missed out on if I hadn't lived.

What sadness to have missed out on what my mom and I have, too! We've always had a pretty good relationship, although, there were occasional times when we butted heads (like during my teenage years). We are closer now than we were when I was younger, which is fortunate since we've spent nearly every day together for the past 14 years. A good majority of the time we spend together is filled with doing the menial tasks of caregiving/care-receiving, but we have a lot of fun while doing it, which makes the monotony of our lives much more pleasant and enjoyable. I'm glad that we do get along so well, since I'm extremely dependent on Mom and we have no other alternative but to be aroune each other. She claims that she needs me just as much as I need her, just in a different way. I hope that's true.

Another reason I'm glad I'm still here is so I can know my nieces and nephews, and so they can know me. I had four nieces at the time of my accident, and the oldest was only three. If I had died, they would have no recollection of me, and the ones that came after obviously wouldn't have known me, either. I would just be a name to them of a relative who had died in a car accident. I get so much joy out of my nieces and nephews, and the thought of not having a relationship with them is so sad!

I've met and become friends with people in the last 14 years that I didn't know at the time of my accident. I would've missed out on being friends with a lot of great people if I hadn't lived. My life, though challenging, is worth living every single day for each family member, friend and acquaintance that has blessed my life for the past 14+ years. I'm so glad I was given more time to make the relationships with the people I love even stronger. I'm glad I was given more time to meet new people and be influenced by their goodness. And I'm glad I was given more time to become a better person and enjoy life a little more.

As my mom went up to bed tonight she said, "I'm glad you didn't die 14 years ago." I'm glad I didn't, too. Then Mom asked me, "Do you think you'll still be here in 14 more years?" "I don't know," I said. None of us really know how much time we have on earth, but I'll try to keep enjoying every day I'm allowed to be alive.


Kim Standard said...

Amen to that! No one knows tomorrow. This was such a touching post. I am glad you got to have all those great family times, the bestest. I am thankful for my life with MS, 38 years of it. Its challenging like you said but love it.

Emily Ann Hupe said...

We share an anniversary, just 1 year apart.😊. I was paralyzed at T-11-12 at the birth of our youngest son. I admire your attitude about your Anniversary. It is not a day I celebrate. I am grateful to be alive, but I was before my injury as well. I am at peace with it, but I will never see it as making any part of my life better. I am grateful I only think about it once a year. Thank you for your blog, it is a Blessing to me.

Julie said...

Hi Heather,
Thank you for this, it really touched me.x

I always think of you around the date of your accident.

I admire you so much & love reading your blog - & your posts on Facebook. x

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