Keep on going.
I have that annoying country song stuck in my head this morning.
This past week, I had been relishing in how great everything was finally going again. (Mistake #1: Never relish).
I had been superwoman productive, meditating and writing everyday, going to yoga and the gym 3-5 times a week, put in two 5-mile hikes, and had just started a new diet experiment to get my diabetes under even better control.
I was riding that self-perpetuating high of kicking ass.
I was in that energized, optimistic space on my way to the gym Thursday morning when a Nissan Armada collided with the passenger side of my little VW Tiguan at 45 mph, sending my car into a Honda CRV.
We do like our AWD SUVs here in Utah.
First thought: Am I going to die?
Second thought: Thank god the kids weren’t in the car.
Then, the driver who hit me, while extracting her children from her own car, apologized repeatedly and asked to make sure I was okay.
Here’s this mother in the immediate aftermath of a collision and the overwhelming maternal concern for her own kids’ safety showing so much open compassion to a stranger. That woman is my role model.
Then I met Sandra, the driver of the Honda, who immediately appeared at my side, kept me calm until paramedics arrived, and even crawled through my car to find my phone, which had unfortunately been destroyed.
Sandra was a total innocent, hit on her way home from the gym while her car wasn’t even moving. And yet she immediately stepped up to be my angel of calm.
In the midst of my panicked thoughts, which were pretty much a revolving assessment of what might be broken and what that would mean for me, myself and I, I was amazed at these selfless, generous women.
After the x-rays and CT scan, I was released with a “pulmonary contusion” (fancy term for bruised lung) and a broken hand. Not too bad.
Except that it’s my RIGHT hand.
And I’m a single mother who pays the bills by making wicked fast magic happen on the internet through my keyboard.
This is me though. I’m Rockstar Em. Adversity is what I do best.
I very recently reflected on the phases of trauma recovery, and this is no different, just a much smaller scale.
Yesterday, I did the flurry of distracting, impressive activity to stabilize and keep from facing reality.
I took my kids to school, volunteered for an hour putting out donuts with one hand for the “Daddy Donuts” breakfast at the elementary, kept my well-timed hair appointment (since I can’t really do it myself now), followed up with the insurance adjusters, picked my kids up from school, took my 12-year-old to her school dance, and created a very detailed spreadsheet laying out my priorities for my new car in the process.
I am amazingly productive in this stage of stress.
When you’re going through hell, keep on going.
One foot in front of the other. It’s all about maintaining movement, lest you begin to wallow in the frankly depressing situation you find yourself in, and the unfairness of it all, and how you deserve to just lay around and watch Netflix all day.
And you probably do…but it’s such a slippery slope into apathy and self-pity and then self-loathing as one day turns into a week. At least for me.
I woke up this morning without any immediate task to attend to and had to face down my temporary disability. And the grief and self-pity hit.
My hips are raw and bruised – the skin taken off where the seatbelt probably saved my life. As I struggled to put on some sweats this morning, the first tear escaped.
Then, after several attempts, I managed to tame my hair into an ugly ponytail with just one hand and the help of my right thumb, glowering at my reflection.
I proceeded to the kitchen where I made a mess while making coffee one-handed.
And then I sat down in my favorite spot: my little kitchen nook where the morning sunshine always breaks through the windows in this can’t-be-sad, glorious way that can lift any mood.
Except it’s overcast today. And there was no sunshine to save me.
Alone for the first time since the accident, I sipped my coffee and cried.
I can’t do my hair. I can’t fasten a bra. I can’t go to yoga. I can’t cook. I can’t do my dishes. And my kids are going to their dad’s in two days and I will be alone…and if the other driver’s insurance doesn’t take liability, I’m gonna be out several thousand in medical bills above my own policy’s cap…and, what the hell, karma?!
I wanted desperately to journal, and halfway up the stairs to retrieve said journal, I realized I can’t write with my left hand.
I went back to my coffee and cried some more.
And then the sun kind of shone through the layer of gloomy clouds for a moment, and my beautiful 12-year-old came downstairs and helped me make my breakfast shake.
There’s always some light. Sometimes its just not very apparent.
I am journaling…right here with one hand chicken pecking out the letters. Who cares what my hair looks like? And maybe I will get to choose a really cool cast color when I see the overpriced ortho surgeon on Wednesday.