Wednesday, December 2, 2009


These past few days I've been living my life on the sofa with my nose stuck in a book. Two books actually, which is very unlike me. I usually like to stick to one at a time, but they're both so good. How can I choose?

Also I'm procrastinating because I have things on my mind and I've been trying to decide how best to put them in writing. Or if I should write them at all.

I try not to overwhelm my blog with melancholy posts about my car crash. There for a while recovery was my life so that's what I wrote about, but now it isn't. Recovery is still part of my daily routine, but it isn't as physical as it used to be. There are still daily physical reminders that I can't ignore, but there are only so many times that I can tell you my face hurts before you get tired of reading it.

I get tired of saying it.

I also get tired of feeling it, but that's my reality and I'm dealing with it.

This all started on Thanksgiving day. Everyone takes a moment that day to express their gratitude for the blessings in their lives. I have so much to be thankful for and I always have, but this year my gratitude stays on the surface always wanting to burst through. I can't really explain how I feel. How glad I am to be alive.

Anyway, back to last Thursday. Before everyone got here Andy and I took a moment to tell each other how much we love one another and how grateful we are to have the other person in our lives. Andy doesn't like to be serious. He makes a joke out of most situations, but when he told me he was glad I was there with him because I almost died, I knew he wasn't joking. He may have made a joke two seconds later, but you don't know someone for ten years and not be able to see behind their mask. I just let him be silly and made a joke right along with him because that is how he deals. And he has done so much for me I at least owe him that.

So we went about our day. Cooking and tidying the apartment for our company. But the rest of the day (and every day since then) I've been counting my blessings.

Last Wednesday I spent the entire day on my feet. Pretty much from the time I got out of bed until I laid down again. It made my ankle hurt. A lot. I did it so that Thursday I could spend a little less time in the kitchen and enjoy the day. I spent the morning watching the parade and when Andy got home from hunting we watch the national dog show together. But my ankle still hurt just sitting on the sofa. Then it was time for more kitchen activity. My ankle hurt. My face also hurt because the weather changed and got colder and I was talking and smiling to entertain our company.

But all of the little pains were inconsequential. My brain registered them, but that was about it. All I could think of the whole day was how glad I was that we were hosting Thanksgiving in our home for our families. I felt like I might burst with the joy of simply cooking a meal. Granted, it wasn't a small meal, it was a major undertaking, but it was mine. I owned it. And most importantly I was able to do it. I stood on my own two feet and used my hands to craft a meal for my family. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I felt like I was me again. The "before" me. I've changed and I know that. I'm not the same person I was before my crash. But for a short time I could forget it all. Even the physical reminders weren't enough to bring me down of my mountain.

Sure there was stress, but even stress is a welcome emotion when I couldn't so much as fix myself a bowl of cereal a few months ago. Hell, I couldn't have eaten a bowl of cereal if someone had fixed it for me.

Sometimes "gratitude" doesn't seem like a big enough word.

And then I have a bad day. Not even a bad day, but a bad moment.

I have no memory of sirens the day of the accident. I don't know if they used them, but if they did I didn't hear them. I remember when the ambulance and first responders got there, but the sounds I remember don't include sirens.

Yet when I hear a siren now it's like a gun going off. My heart starts to race and I say a little prayer for whoever is hurting or in trouble. It's become an automatic response for me.

This morning I woke up to the sound of sirens. I don't know what the emergency was, but it was a big one because there were several sirens and they were all honking their horns for cars to get out of the way. You couldn't sense their urgency. Usually after I say my prayer I can move on with the day. I've been awakened by sirens before, but today was different.

I went back to that day. To the aftermath and I couldn't seem to get a grip on the present. I was safe in my bed, but for some reason I couldn't shake the feeling that I had. Someone was hurting like I had hurt. Someone might not be as fortunate as I was.

This happens sometimes and it's like I need something to hold on to so I can get myself back. Usually it's Andy.

So I slid over in bed to snuggle up against him and automatically the world turned right side up again. Just like it always does when he's there.

Do you see how being grateful sometimes is not enough?

I've also been thinking lately about survival, and how survival is not always what people think.

Surviving is different from living.

I like to think that I am living. I certainly try. I think if I were just surviving then mornings like I had today would ruin the whole day. Maybe even drag me under for a few days.

But it didn't. I'm alright now.

I know that I have Andy to thank for that.

I have a lot of people to thank. The EMTs, first responders, doctors and medical staff for one thing. They all helped give me my life.

But my family and friends help me to live it.

I am blessed.

I am grateful.


  1. Hey Joanna,

    Loved this post. When people ask me about you I tell them your face still hurts and you have a short fuse sometimes. But, I always add
    how thankful I'am that you are alive. Life would not be the same without you!!!!!

    Thank you Jesus for giving me and the world Joanna! What a blessing!!!!!!

    I love you,

  2. What a great post! I'm glad you are still here too :)