One Year Reflections

I am deeply reflective as I process the one year mark of the accident that threatened to take my life and took away the one that I knew.  A year ago this morning I was in a helicopter in route to Vanderbilt's trauma center. In the last 12 months I have explored the boundaries of self-love and compassion as I have surrendered to healing and worked hard to earn my life back. Heal a body, broken and greatly shaken. Heal an injured brain. 

Though there are still countless healing processes going on in my body, I just can't say enough about the brain. 

Your brain is who you are. 

It is the YOU that makes you you.

It is your personality.

Your executive command.

Your humor.

Your ability to roll with the punches and do life on the many layers that are always happening around you.

It's how you think. The angles you take. Your flexibility. Your fight and your passion. Your creativity. Your laughter.

But it's also your ability to walk a straight line (literally), empty a dishwasher, drive a car.  It communicates command to every major system in your body. When your brain is injured, everything is affected. EVERYTHING.  You are not you and you feel desperate to find a way back to you. Furthermore you "look ok".  And most people do not understand the beautiful brain and how, when it is injured, it changes your whole world. Even if you look somewhat normal... From inside my world, nothing feels normal. 

All year I've been working so hard to get back to me. Often it feels too vulnerable to share. I have discovered that when I compare myself today to me on May 15th, 2018… I am discouraged. Disheartened. Self-critical, sad and impatient. When I instead compare myself right now to me on May 16th, 2018 at 10:00 a.m, moments after the accident.… I am amazed. Humbled. Hopeful. Committed. Unstoppable. Grateful.  I have come so far. I remind myself EVERYDAY, that it is a new day. And tomorrow and the next...

One day I hope I can write so much more about some of the amazing things this time of healing has held.  While in it, I am deeply in survival.  Writings are far and few between. Survival and daily function trump creativity. In the moments of respite when I find me and can feel the creative flow of words, I know I'm still in there.

For now I have to find celebration in each little win... I have to keep focusing on these 10,000 steps and smiling in response to each one. This is not always easy. The big picture constantly feels overwhelming and frustrating to me. When I stare into reality's mirror, sometimes I just want to curl up. Some of the things I can't yet do make me so sad. Sometimes it feels cruel and confusing. I'm willing to give all of these difficult emotions a voice, and then I try to camp in gratitude and determination, the celebration and the focus on gains. Yes, part of me gets really sad thinking back to me a year ago and the life it feels like I am missing... Another part of me feels like I've climbed Everest 4 times, ran 3 marathons and then decided to try a triathlon. I keep winning but there are no medals. There is only the end in mind. I will drive, work, laugh and play... all like I used to only with an even greater appreciation of my life and the time we have on earth and the privilege it is to do all these things while we are here. 

Today I send you my gratitude, my heart. I am grateful to be alive. I want you to know that my progress is tangible. I have deep appreciation for the way you are holding me in this cocoon of love as I heal and emerge… something new.

Two things I offer you.

  • Find deep compassion for yourself. Love yourself like the precious being that you are. It makes all the difference, for everything.

  • The journey always changes you. Be in acceptance of where you are and who you are becoming. This is life.

I am fortunate to know you and hold each of you in my heart! Sending you so much love and gratitude.

Kara