Note: This is not a book review
I just finished reading a book. It’s not a book that was on my list. It’s not even a book that I ever wanted to read. It’s a book that The Kid has been trying to get me to read for months. She swore it would be the “best book ever.” It’s called “The Fault In Our Stars.”
So I read it. Mostly because she wouldn’t get off my back. Just so you know, she’s just about right. It’s not the best book I’ve ever read, but it was pretty damn good.
Anyway, for those of you who are unaware, this book is about a young girl who is dying of cancer. She is an only child.
I came to a sentence in the book where the dying child overhears her mother say to her father, “I won’t be a mom anymore.” Those 6 little words sucked the air right out of me.
I came across that line while waiting for The Kid to finish her physical therapy session. Physical therapy that she has to do twice a week until she gets the strength back in her left leg. One of only a couple of traces left from her accident.
I picked up my head to watch my only child across the room working diligently so she can go back to doing what she loves the most — irish dancing.
And I thought about that little sentence that held such power. With everything I went through the night of the accident, that never occurred to me. If we weren’t so lucky…I can’t make myself say it, so I won’t.
But we were so lucky. So incredibly lucky. I sit in disbelief some days at how lucky we were. How lucky we are.
I have been struggling with my daughter’s accident. This struggle goes against who I am. I am the type of person who gets over things easily and adjusts to change quickly. I forgive, I forget, I move on. I get over crap. I just do.
I watched in horror as my brother almost drowned when I was four. I moved with my family 12 times in as many years because my father was in the service. I was bullied and threatened when I was a young girl. I experienced the tragic loss of friends. I witnessed my child have a febrile seizure when she was 2 years old.
But this? This is a tough one. The first week was the worst. Of course. Then I seemed to be fine. I was. I was fine. And then I wasn’t…fine. Some friends told me, when it first happened, that I need to watch out for PTSD. And that I may want to see a therapist if I suspect that I am suffering from it.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? That’s ridiculous. Isn’t PTSD only for people who actually experienced something bad? I mean, I wasn’t the one hit by the car. And I didn’t actually see the accident. I wasn’t right there. So I can’t visualize it.
Except I can. I “see” it. All the time. I remember the voice of her friend who called me. The terror on the girls’ faces. I remember how frightened my child was. The blood. The ambulance. ICU. My dead cell phone. The adrenaline. I remember the details. All the little details.
I keep going over and over the “what ifs.” What if she was turned a little to the left, or a little to the right? What if she took bigger steps? Or smaller steps? What if the car hit her in a different place on her body? What if the vehicle was going faster? What if she landed differently?
Then I remember her guardian angels. That she was saved and protected. She had to have been. The car that struck her was doing 40 miles an hour. Forty. Why did she walk away from this accident with just a small head injury and minimal damage to a limb?
Was it for a reason? I believe it was. I’m sure the reason will reveal itself in time. That’s a big question that deserves an even bigger answer.
But for now, I struggle. I can’t forgive the city. I need to forgive the city. Because I love the city. I have always loved the city. And I would like to go there without that fear.
I am angry at Lorde. Even though it’s not her fault. We are the ones who purchased the tickets. We are the ones who let them walk to meet us. I’m sorry Lorde, for this displaced anger. You are really cool. You are an awesome role model. My daughter adores you. I support her adoration for you. I even like your music.
I can’t forget that feeling of dread I had. That feeling, I fear, will never go away.
The guilt. Why wasn’t I there at that moment? If I was there, I would have stopped her from crossing the street. I would have protected her as I have for the past 16 years.
Some of my thoughts are illogical. I know this. But some of these thoughts seem to be beyond my control.
I saw a therapist last week. Because even though I really don’t think I’m suffering from PTSD, I’m suffering from something. I want to learn how to shut it out, how to deal with it in a more manageable way. To quiet my mind. To move on.
I shared with her all of my fears, my anger, the weird decisions I made, my thought processes, my guilt.
Guess what? It’s normal. All of it is normal. It’s what the professionals call Acute Stress Syndrome or Acute Stress Disorder.
I will get over it. I will stop seeing the accident when I look at my daughter. I will stop hearing her friend’s voice in my head when I close my eyes at night. I will stop worrying that every siren I hear is for her. This feeling of dread will go away. I will enjoy the city again. I will be able to hear a Lorde song without thinking of that night.
Umm, well actually. That last one may not be true. I mean, that was the reason we were in the city in the first place. So, yeah. That may take some time.
September of 2014 is a chapter in my life that will always be there. But I have turned the page and am now in the chapter of healing myself. And since my therapy session, because I was given the tools to move on, I am feeling better. I just take it one step, one day at a time.