Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Two Years

Warning: This post is pretty much about me. I promise to return to my regularly scheduled programming soon.

It’s hard to believe that it has been two years since the accident that has forever changed my life, Bennett’s life and the lives of my family. In some ways it seems like it happened a long time ago and in others it feels like yesterday. In a heartbeat I can go back there – hanging inside a dark, smoky van. I admit that I go back there often – almost every day. But I usually don’t stay long. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of it, but I can honestly say it doesn’t dominate my life – a little boy with big blue eyes does though.

I can no longer really remember what it’s like to walk normally and without pain – to get up in the middle of the night and walk to the washroom rather than stretch and reach for my crutches. Sometimes it’s hard to remember the girl (yeah I still think of myself that way) with the wicked backhand that played tennis for hours or the girl that traveled to Egypt and Greece by herself without a fear or care in the world. The girl that crawled into one of the amazing pyramids on the Giza plateau, or climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, who climbed Mount Skiddaw in England, who walked all day along the canals and streets of Venice, who danced a silly one legged dance in Barcelona. It’s even harder to think that I’ll never do any of those things again. When I get too down about this I remind myself that I’ll do other things and some things I’ll do more slowly or differently. And at least I got to do many of these things once. The next time I’m in Paris, rather than climb some monument, perhaps I’ll be forced to drink a couple extra glasses of excellent red wine while chewing on a baguette with fresh cheese while sitting outside soaking in the Parisian atmosphere. The next time I’m in Venice, maybe I’ll travel by gondola rather than on foot. When in Egypt, I’ll spend even more time speaking with the warm, wonderful people that call that country home.

In the meantime, I continue to remind myself that I still have my sense of adventure. I’m the same girl that played glow in the dark mini-putt on my crutches and went snorkeling while kicking with one leg and swam with the dolphins while in Cuba.

I often think of the other people who were there that day – people who stopped to help. It must have been an awful day that haunts them too. They were ordinary people thrust into an extraordinary situation. Everyone there responded courageously and I will be forever grateful. They restored my faith in the strength of the human spirit and reminded me in that in a world that can often seem scary, most people are good.

I know things could have been so much worse that day. You may call it luck, divine intervention or whatever – it doesn’t matter to me, but I know that I am very fortunate. I still have my leg, I can walk (it’s not pretty) and most importantly, I have Bennett and although he has cerebral palsy, he is healthy, happy and the light of our lives.

I saw my orthopedic surgeon yesterday. He’s a great doctor and even better, he’s a good man. He has taken good care of me since day one, shared information as he thought I could handle it and treated me with respect and compassion. Our visits are always emotional for me as we talk about how well we both remember that day. It’s good that we get along because we’ll be seeing each other for quite a while. My knee is looking ok but the ankle – not so much. More tests and perhaps more surgeries await me. But, as my doctor reminded me, we’ll take it one thing at time and try not to worry too much.

What did I do to “celebrate” my anniversary? Well, I went camping with Jim, Bennett and Bowser. I enjoyed a morning snuggle with my favourite guys, went out for breakfast and laughed as Bennett flirted and waved at everyone. Later we went for a walk with the dog in the park. That night we sat by the campfire and made s’mores – something I’ve never done believe it or not. After two s’mores, I’d had s’enough – those things are awfully sweet! All in all a pretty good way to spend the day. I’ll admit that I spent a lot of time thinking about the past, present and future and not all of it was good. But overall, I ended the day with one thought: I’m a different girl but I’m also a lucky girl and I’m oh so grateful for all that I have in my life.

10 comments:

Kiera Beth said...

Barbara

You have such a way with words and are so articulate with expressing your emotions. This was a beautiful post.

I am so grateful to have "met" you through our little support network and hope that someday we have the opportunity to meet in person. I will be the one sharing the glasses of wine with you :)

Your anniversary sounded like a wonderful day. Thanks for sharing and feel free to post entries about yourself any time.

North Dakota Ward's said...

I often think of you when I am having a bad day. Because as hard as "this" is, I can't imagine going through this not feeling a hundred percent myself. You give me perspective, which doesn't help you. LOL! But you are an example to me, and I think you are a very courageous person. Like Kiera, I am so glad that we found each other through this support group that we have. It has been a great support to me.

I would LOVE, LOVE to actual meet sometime. I would be the one drinking grape juice :)

Kerry said...

Hard to believe it's been two years already. Even though you sometimes feel down and limited, those of us around you are amazed at how far you've come. I know it's been a struggle, but you've made incredible progress. You may not be the girl you once were, but you are a very strong woman, one you should be proud of.

Bonnie said...

Dear Barbara:
What a gift your life is to Jim and Bennett, your mom and dad, and the rest of us who have been blessed to now be your "family". I smiled as I read your references to yourself as a "girl". I think that 2 years ago, you made a gigantic leap from "girl" to woman - strong, focused, insightful, loving, compassionate, and sometimes struggling - - but always balancing the struggle of reality with hope for the future.

Perhaps it is Bennett's big blue eyes and smile that gives you hope for the future - - or Jim's hugs - - or your mom and dad's loving support - -or your Aunt Gaetan's presence and love? Whatever the source - I know that my life would be much poorer without your presence in it.

Thank you for your spirit and tenacity. You could give Barrack Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope" new (and deeper) meaning! Hope you enjoy your anniversary celebrations - celebrations of the wonderful gift of life and love that help us walk through struggle and pain to better days, better times, and newness of life.

With gratitude and love,
Bonnie

Barbara said...

Kiera: Thank you for your kind words. I too am very grateful to have met you! Hopefully we'll meet in person someday soon - as you know from my post, I love to travel. I'll bring the wine!

Suze: It's funny because I often think of you too when I'm chasing Bennett around. I get overwhelmed with one child I can't imagine 5! We're are lucky to have each other in our little bloggy group. When we meet someday I'll bring grape juice for you!

Kerry: Thank you for posting and your kind words. Time flies too quickly for sure. Hope to see you around the blog some more now that you've had a career change!

Bonnie: I feel privileged to have you as part of my family. We are so lucky aren't we to have so many wonderful people in our lives? Your words brought tears (good ones) to my eyes. Thank you.

Kara said...

Barbara, I think I speak for everyone when I say we LOVE reading about you! This post was amazing and gave us all that much more insight into the person that you are. You become infinitely more interesting and remarkable with each day that I know you and I'm so happy and blessed that we met.

Barbara said...

Kara, thank you. I'm so glad that we've met and become friends. I'm looking forward to getting to know you better as both you and your little girl amaze me!

Anonymous said...

Barbara,
I have been struggling to find words to express what the last 2 years have been for dad and I.
I have to leave a lot of what I would like to say out, if you don't mind. All I can say is that I am so overwhelmed with all that has happened. The good and the bad. I hear the bad and I deal with it the best I can. Then, I just dig in my heels and find the good stuff and celebrate that. And you know what? I (we) have found soooooo much to celebrate!
When you are in pain it just kills me because I just want my little girl to feel the way she did before that horrid accident. Well, unfortunately we can't go back and undo it. So, I celebrate every day that I still have my baby girl and my grandson, Jim, Wayne and our extended family.
We have been celebrating like crazy lately becasuse of the advances that Bannett is making
physically and the TROUBLE he gets into are just WONDERFUL becasuse it means he is moving forward. You are a brave and strong person and stay that way. (So much for not having much to say)
Lots of love, hugs and kisses
Mom (Mikey---grandma)

Erin said...

Hey

I hope you don't mind me saying, and if you do, I understand, since this is a pretty random comment and all, but just from reading that you seem like a really inspirational person. I often look back on certain anniversaries with a sense of sadness, but also a sense of accomplishment.

Thanks for sharing this. :)

-Erin

Mummu and Poppa said...

Barbara: Words can not begin to express our love for you and our pride in you as a mother, wife, daughter, daughter-in-law and friend. You have put a lot of effort into reconditioning your life and working towards making the best of a bad situaton - difficulties brought onto you by no means of your own.

We must accept the present and work towards the future. You are doing great and we see steady improvement. You are an inspiration to us all!

Two years has. at times. passed very quickly and at other times seems to have dragged (like right after the accident and you spent time in the hospital).

We are grateful that you and Bennett are here with us today.

Thanks to Daddy for all of his love, help and support.

Lots of love and prayers

Mummu and Poppa
xxx ooo xxx ooo