5,114 Days = 122,736 Hours
5,114 Days = 7,364,160 Minutes
5,114 Days = 441,849,600 Seconds
It sometimes seems like a lifetime ago but can be broken down into hours and minutes and even seconds by a simple Google search.
14 years ago today is when the dividing of my life into two parts occurred.
I have linked the background posts within this piece for reference if anyone should have any curiosity about what led up the the “dividing” for me.
I have learned there are no coincidences, and Cheryl posting this prompt this particular week has pushed me to try and make sense out of one of the most significant losses I have so far endured in my life.
I lost myself that day.
I lost the young, optimistic, cheerful girl who never felt dread or fear of the smallest things or places or smells or events. I lost the feeling of power and trust in the easy fluidity of my physical self and the endless opportunities I had before me.
I lost the dreams of someday walking the Camino or along the Great Wall. Those had to be put away permanently for me. Shattered pelvises and broken backs tend to limit the ability to walk too many steps in a row or run up stairs without a deep aching pain. So you tuck those away and try not to think of them any more.
“You were just a dreamer and likely would have never made it there anyway. You had responsibilities and children to raise and those types of adventures are for wealthy people, anyway.”
And you stop browsing travel books and delete links to adventure destinations and start listening to co-workers’ & friends holiday stories and make excited sounds while looking at their pictures and try and save those images in your mind to feed your soul. So you feel a little bit like you were actually there yourself years ago; you can still feel a part of it all.
A consolation prize of sorts.
A Participant ribbon.
My best girlfriend in the entire world came to me and my children when she heard the news of my accident. I remember opening my eyes and seeing her beautiful blue eyes full of tears, looking down at me in the trauma room I was taken to for the putting back together of all my broken pieces.
She was sobbing and muttering in a quiet voice ” I loved the way you walked. You had the greatest walk in the world…so loose, arms swinging, long strong legs, Shannon. Your walk was amazing to see. Not a care in the world. You will never walk like that again.”
At the time, in my drug haze, I brushed that off, as it seemed the least of my worries. But that moment between us two has come back to me many times since then.
I have never walked that way again.
There is a tiredness and caution in my walking now.
Always a moment of stiffness and pain and stretching before I can even begin walking.
A measured carefulness, much like with the elderly.
A preparing of sorts.
A measuring of steps and time involved and stamina.
A quick visual for obstacle or danger lurking around a corner somewhere waiting to harm me.
I lost that naivety and sense of comfort that the world was an open one without danger and numerous opportunities for mishaps and accident which would take away the person you had always been and leave the empty shell behind.
That girl and this girl.
I grieve for what my sons lost of me that day; my best self forever gone. The young carefree mother who was up for any adventure. The one who danced like no one was watching and who jumped on a bike or ran through the sprinkler with them. The one who did cartwheels over and over one sunny day in the backyard for them when they were toddlers just to make them laugh and clap.
Not the embarrassing,fearful, broken one who jumped two feet in the air with a scream and horrified bulging eyes if someone’s lawn chair on the next patio over blew over in the wind, making a clatter.
Not the one who suddenly wailed during a family movie night if there was fast camera work occurring or sudden violence, or god forbid a train or train scene at all. Their worried eyes looking at me fearfully and their clumsy hugs of comfort.
Not the one who cried and cried watching the news; whose heart broke over and over and over again every evening at 5. Who stopped watching the news and just relied on others to keep her updated on things on a need-to-know basis.
Certainly not the one who would drive them all to the big stores and malls and then last three minutes in the mall before telling them she would wait in the car, because all the lights and sounds and people were just too much and always would be. Too many dangerous variables in those places. Too many things that could go suddenly wrong. And all those damn steps. Doing her best to not leak that fear into them and their sense of safety. Making jokes about how she was getting older and really hated places full of people and noise.
I became the master of excuses with my sons and friends.
I laughed when I felt like crying over losing her.
The real me.
The after this brought the mother who obsessively checked flight tracker when her eldest went to Germany the first time. Not once. Not twice. Probably over two hundred times. Sitting at the laptop, chain smoking, endlessly hitting refresh…watching from afar, checking, checking, checking. Watching the little air plane icon moving away from her ” boundary of safety” and out into the world of dangerous happenings. The silent prayers uttered…the pleas of ” if someone has to die in the universe tonight, please take me and not him”, her cuticles chewed and torn and dripping blood on the keys of the laptop.
The one who talks to herself and reassures herself in whispers that surely if there even is a God, he has already doled out the suffering allotted to her and will spare her sons. The one who thinks in a fair world, you should only have to endure a specified amount and if you endure more, your loved ones get a pass on their suffering.
My sons were robbed of the mother I was supposed to be and ended up with this version. The after this Mother I became. They have never talked about the ways I have changed or admitted any judgement on the changes, but it is there in the way their eyes light up or voices get more excited when they share a memory they had with the before this Mom.
I am slowly putting the pieces back together on the inside for us all.
There will always be the divide of selves, but I have time to try to put in the work involved in making this one great in her own way.
441,849,600 seconds since she became me.