Despite my best efforts to maintain a blogging schedule this year, I have been derailed – but, alas, for a very understandable reason.
On Monday, March 22, my spouse and I were riding our motorcycle (I was passenger) when we collided what I am told was an SUV that turned left directly in front of us.
I don’t remember the collision. My first memory is of paramedics cutting my clothes off in the middle of a road. Later that night I’d learn about my broken ribs, pelvis fractures, broken femur, broken ankle, broken thumb, lung contusions, and concussion. (I still don’t know if that’s everything I actually injured.)
The tl;dr version is that I lived. My husband, who was driving the motorcycle, did not.
I spent a week in trauma ICU, then was moved to an inpatient rehabilitation center, which is where I am now.
My physical prognosis is good. So far, the only thing I am likely to be unable to do again is figure skating, since the way in which I broke my pelvis at the right hip socket precludes landing jumps. I’m sad about that, but also hopeful about all the things I will be able to do again in time.
And I need that hope, because wow, this is hard.
Physically, this is the hardest thing I have ever done – and I’ve been a Girl Scout camp counselor, a figure skater, a colorguard performer and coach, and done farm chores including splitting wood and baling hay.
I had no idea how many steps it takes to use a toilet when one has only one weight-bearing limb. Or to brush one’s hair. Or to roll sideways.
And the physical stuff is easy compared to the grief.
I’m used to controlling, even repressing, my negative emotions. Until the accident, my entire life was ruled by my fear that other people would see the whole, messy me – and that upon being seen, I’d be rejected. Much of my caring about others in my life has manifested as protecting others from my messier emotions or as editing those emotions so others could feel their efforts to cheer me actually did some good.
I can’t do that anymore. This grief is too big. I have no energy left to make anyone else feel good about helping me.
So far, fortunately, the vast majority of folks have not made their comfort my job. Rather, I’ve gotten overwhelming support from the community and my family. Friends of my husband have crawled out of the woodwork to tell me how much they loved him, how he changed their lives, how they plan to pay it all forward now that he’s gone.
These messages are a huge help. I haven’t responded to everyone, because I still need to ration my energy for rehab and grief. But I appreciate each contact I have with others who loved him too.
I’m not holding it against anyone if they need to step away from me for a bit, if the combined weight of their grief and my own is just too much. We all need to grieve. But I’m also not working to make my grief okay for others, either. I don’t have the energy. I’m using it all to survive the grief. To make sure that when that pain passes, I am still here.
To the question “What can I do to help?,” the answer right now is “I’ll tell you when I know.” Rehab plans to discharge me with a lost of things I can do myself and things I need assistance with, and I plan to organize help based on that list. Otherwise I might wind up with 15 casseroles but no clean laundry when I can cook just fine but can’t load the washer, for example.
I don’t currently have a GoFundMe, though I hear the band boosters at my husband’s school are putting one together. I do have my usual Ko-Fi, under my pen name: http://ko-fi.com/verityreynolds .
I’m writing this on my phone, which is fine as I can only type with one hand anyway. 🙂
Love your loved ones. Be kind to one another. I intend to make it.