I knew it was coming, I knew. I knew in June, that the end of July was inevitable. Yet, it seemed so far away. To my horror, as I was pretending to be a domestic goddess, organizing my child’s schedule, I uncovered that the anniversary was taking place this week. The date that everything changed. The date that would determine whether I lived or died…Whether I would walk again; drink water again, eat food again, fall pregnant or have a difficult time. Whether I would be in agony every moment (wakeful or sleeping), for the rest of my life. Whether I could drive long distances, sit for over an hour, use catheters or not, have scores of operations, with more to come. Whether I would need to have two surgeries at seventeen to save my life, my heart held in someones hand, my chest opened up. Then to be flipped over, after having floating ribs sewn off, to replace my back bone. To save my life. This was the date that would determine all that and much more. Whether I would have the mettle to survive at all. To sustain in the face of nightmares and torment.
Can you believe that I have met my twin?! I stumbled upon this person’s blog a week ago. The anniversary of his being thrown from a height as a young person is in July. He is still affected by phone calls and door bells ringing. He said “I thought I was the only one!” He completed the quiz I put on my site to find out what your hippie name is. He got Flower, the same as me! The thrill of recognition-the regret and sorrow too- that somebody else understands what you felt that night. Somebody knows what it is like to hit the ground… I love this person, though I haven’t met them. What a privilege in the midst of a strange, disorderly life. Here’s to all survivors. It is a lonely path at times. I am glad not many in our circle can identify with this particular angst. I hold a pool of tears if you can.
On the anniversary, I will hold my daughter, and partake in what was denied me, so many years ago. I will have a bath with aromatic oils, a broad-rimmed Italian glass in hand. In it shall be red wine, the hue of ground garnets. I will eat a hearty meal, slip into the covers of my bed in my warm room, and be thankful I am here. That bitter winter’s night, I was covered in dirt and blood, cast aside in a dark night of the soul and body. I was hungry, and in agony. I was thirsty and alone. I am still in agony, but the darkness has been bludgeoned by light. The loneliness by friendship. The thirst and hunger have been quenched and I am warm. The blood and dirt have been cleaned away, and what remains is a woman who is frightened no more. The worst has happened. It is done. I survived. More than that, I am flourishing.