Have you ever looked at yourself and thought I need to cut my hair? I need to wear less (more) make-up? I need to smile more. I should be nicer to people.
I feel like this every time I look in the mirror mainly because I don’t recognize the woman staring back at me. If you’re like most people, you can remember your first crush and the first time you yelled at your mom. You can remember fighting over a toy in the backseat with your brother or sister and you can definitely remember your high school (or college) graduation.
And gladly I would love to hear some of the stories you’ve got to tell because I bet they are wonderful and heartbreaking and full of hope.
However, for me I don’t remember any of those things. I know that I graduated from high school because I’ve seen the pictures. I know I used to fight over toys with my siblings because my mom has told me so has my uncle and my aunt and both of my grandparents but I don’t remember doing it. I don’t know who I hung out with in high school but I know their faces due to the hundreds of pictures I have in a photo album (I know who even has those anymore.) I don’t know who my first crush was and I don’t know when I had my first kiss because I just plain don’t remember.
You might be shaking you’re head at me thinking did she do drugs? Drink too much alcohol? Let me tell you the answer is no. To every bad idea running through your head right now.
Do you want to know why?…
Think back to the year 2010. What were you doing? Do you remember what you were for Halloween? Can you remember thanksgiving that year? Where were you at Christmas time? What were you doing on December 30th, 2010?
It was just a day like every other I woke up, I got dressed, I had breakfast with my boyfriend and then we left my house (Which was in the middle of nowhere on a back road that was made of gravel.) We got in my car and we turned on a CD that Ne-Yo (R&B artist look him up) had written and we headed to a little town called Longview. It was a day just like every single other, except it would be the last day of my former life.
There’s a saying that you should never drive fast during winter especially when there’s been snow and it’s been below 32 degrees and you know there has been ice on the road every morning for the last week.
Did I do or listen to any of those? If you said no, you’d be 100 percent correct.
I drove on that road that I didn’t know well enough and it almost cost me my life.
It was 11:30 AM and we went around a corner to fast I might add and I lost control of the car, it slide across the road, hit a stump and flipped over backwards and then rolled once and landed on the wheels.
As the car was rolling through the air I smashed my head into the window which shattered upon impact. The only thing I can remember from my former life is thinking that my mom was going to kill me when she found out. I was knocked out, the sound that woke me a little was the annoying sound of the car door beeping at me telling me that it wasn’t closed. But it was jammed shut because my former flame tried to open it and couldn’t instead he walked back around the car and pulled me out through the passenger side door and he laid me in the snow.
Now here’s something cool for thought, for Christmas that year I had asked for an emergency kit to leave in my car in case something happened. My mom and step-dad went half and half on one and and it was in my trunk the day I rolled my car. There were also blankets in the trunk (I had just moved some stuff from my mom’s to my house the blankets were part of that.) He wrapped me up as best he could and then went to look for help.
Here’s the second cool thing for thought, the place we crashed was in front of the only house for a few miles in either direction and the man who lived there just so happened to be on his phone with his wife standing in his front yard (he saw the whole accident.) Another thing he had been a Medic in the Army.
Let that sink in…
His voice woke me the second time and as I looked around I caught sight of my arm which was covered in blood, my blood and before I knew it I was seeing the back of my eyelids.
Cars were stopping on the side of the road to see if they could help, which they couldn’t so the Medic sent them back to their cars and on their way.
I remember being cold, very cold and feeling very off. My head hurt, my entire left side hurt and there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t get my brain to tell my body to move so I closed my eyes again. I could hear sirens getting closer. Then there was nothing I was put on a gurney and lead to the back of the ambulance, they poked me with needles and IV’s and put a mask over my face so I could breathe better.
Then the ambulance wouldn’t start. They had to call for life flight.
I know the sound of the helicopters blades, the voice of a strange woman asking me if I was in pain and then nothing but black.
The staff at the hospital told me my memory would come back in a few days. Those days passed and still I was in the dark. I didn’t recognize my face or my voice. I didn’t know what to call anyone and I certainly didn’t know how to pronounce my last name (it’s a long and weird spelled one, you wouldn’t be able to pronounce it either if you saw it.) I didn’t know the people who were taking me home but they knew me so that was all that mattered I guess.
Those days turned into weeks and all I did was take the medicine they gave me and sleep. I couldn’t walk fast, I used my mom for support to walk around and you couldn’t hear me when I spoke.
Those weeks turned into months and still no memories of my life before my accident. No one knew why I wasn’t getting those memories back.
Those months have turned into years, 6 years to be exact and well a couple months too. I have the date tattooed on my chest and a scar on my wrist to forever remind me of that day.
The man who towed my car away after I had been life-flighted asked my mom (when they went to the wrecking yard to get my things out of the car) how I was doing and she explained to him what had happened, he then asked how tall I was and she went ahead and told him. He looked at her with a sad smile and told her if I had been a quarter of an inch taller the sun roof that was on top of the car would have killed me.
It’s called Retrograde Amnesia (look it up.)
It’’s not common and no one knows why the brain does the things that it does to protect itself.
I was 19 on December 30th, 2010.
I just turned 26 back at the beginning of the year. (February to be exact.)
Imagine not having a memory for the first 19 years of your life. And if you want to take a walk in my shoes you’re more than welcome. I could show you the spot I crashed. Though I am afraid to go back there, I’m afraid of that road, I hear an ambulance go by and I cringe. I hate seeing helicopters on top of hospitals. And I hate the look on people’s faces when they find out I have no memories from the first 19 years of my life.
Parts and pieces have come back over the last years but not much. A song that my little brother hated, another song that scared me badly when I was a child but that’s about it. I’ve been told enough about my life that I can fake a conversation about a past event fairly convincingly, I’ve gotten good at it.
I used to think that maybe I had been left behind, left out and alone, sometimes I still feel that way when I look at my relatives. I wish I could remember but I don’t and maybe that’s not a bad thing.
There are miracle’s everywhere you look, think about this, I wrecked my car in front of the only house for a few miles in either direction, there were blankets in my trunk, there was an emergency kit in my car, the man who saw the accident was an army medic (I found out later that same man knew my uncle.) Without any one of those things I most likely wouldn’t be telling you this and my story would have been over back in 2010.
If you don’t believe that amazing things happen just ask my mom or my grandma or the ex-boyfriend who had been in the car with me who witnessed it all, they have their own stories about that day that are just as amazing. (my sister’s is more funny than anything else, it makes me laugh when she retells it.)
I look in the mirror now and even though I don’t recognize myself from the girl I was before 2010 I like the woman I am becoming and without that accident I wouldn’t have grown into the person I am now. I love my life, it gave me a beautiful little boy and I fear without that I never would have met the only boy who stole my heart before I ever saw his face. (Don’t believe in love at first sight, have a baby you’ll know it then.)
I owe it all to God he wasn’t done with me then and I guarantee he isn’t done with me yet.
Let every memory you have be your favorite one because you never know what memory could be your last.