Today is the fifth anniversary...

Today is the fifth anniversary...

It seems inconceivable that it was five years ago.

Five years since we hit a tree head on.

Five years since I learned terms like glasgow coma scale, decorticate posturing, hematoma, traumatic brain injury, and what those terms meant.

Five years since every aspect of my life was turned completely upside down.

Every year, the anniversary of this hangs over me, like a dark storm cloud. I don't know why. I really wish it would go away. I hate thinking about it, all of it. I hate having to explain to people that it happened. I hate having to tell people that know what happened that I still haven't heard from her, or her family, and likely never will. I hate having to tell people that don't know about this that once, people, people who were supposed to be MY people, turned against me so completely that they forcefully removed me from my own relationship, then followed up with a lawsuit. Because the question then is, what did I do to bring this on myself? It still feels like so completely failed, on many levels.  How do you explain that to someone?

second anniversary post, fourth anniversary post

I spend the weeks leading up to the anniversary doing a lot of reflection, evaluating, trying to work things out, trying to understand things. This is, without a doubt, the hardest part of the year for me. I struggle with depression in the weeks leading up to the anniversary; there are major meltdowns, crying, lots of watching of Grey's Anatomy (my go-to for shutting out the world and immersing myself in other people's tragic drama ; ).  It seems that each year, I discover a new facet about my own experience that has been bothering me,and once I can work through it, I can let it go.  One thing I will say about this whole experience is that there is a reason people go to therapy, and it must be so much more effective than Shannon's 5 year plan, lol!!!  This year, the theme was abandonment. I really, after all these years, can still not understand how an entire family can turn against me over something that wasn't a bitter divorce. I didn't even know this really bothered me, because it's not like we were all chummy all the time, but that family took me in, treated me like part of the family; we spent nearly every holiday together; birthdays, summer parties, on and on and on. I was introduced to others as a daughter, as a sister in law, as an aunt. We had the normal family drama, but at the end of the day, it was still a family.  Until this giant thing happened, and we all struggled to adapt. I can understand her mom being upset with me; as a nurse, she felt better equipped to deal with the medical decisions, and the long-term care for her daughter. As the partner, I wanted to be involved in the medical decision; and it quickly became obvious that her nursing experience did not translate well at all to understanding and dealing with a severe traumatic brain injury. It also became immediately apparent that she was unable to set aside her personal involvement and make the best decisions. I understand her resenting my need to be involved, I even understood her resenting that another woman would become the most important part of her daughter's life. What I didn't understand was how that would translate to the rest of the family, and the things that happened next. Somehow, the mother and her other children concocted a story, trying to explain what happened. The story grew and changed, becoming more and more outrageous. At first, they decided that I was suicidal, and that I fought with Chris, forcing us to hit the tree because I'd rather kill both of us than have her leave me. Then, they decided that I was actually the original driver, and that I caused the accident intentionally, then switched seats with Chris before the first responders were on the scene. The fact that the firefighters had to perform a prolonged extraction and had to cut both the door off and shear the seat to get her out didn't weigh into the facts they considering in creating their explanation. Finally, they let that all go, but became convinced that I was still trying to "finish the job" in the acute care facility.  They wouldn't leave me alone with her because they thought I would, I don't know, poison her? Push her down? I have no idea, it was all so baffling and unreal. I don't understand why they couldn't just accept that she fell asleep behind the wheel after being awake for nearly 24 hours; that seems so much more plausible than all of the other explanations they came up with (other explanations included a sudden onset of narcolepsy, a possible stroke, and a hit and run with no evidence). In any case, they became convinced that somehow, this was all my fault, and I became public enemy number one.

I'm going over all of this now, because it finally occurred to me that 1. losing my extended in-law family on top of losing all of our mutual friends really, really sucked; and 2., I can't imagine being in a position for that to happen again. I did date again, after the accident; the family was great, I was (and still am) invited to family holidays and get-togethers. Only the person I dated got so pissed off over whatever stupid drama that I was forbidden to talk to the family anymore.  So that's how I know that situations like this do happen, and will happen again. I just don't want to keep doing that. I don't want to form relationships with people only to have someone else dictate the end of them.

I'm beginning to understand that I will just never fully understand exactly why things happened, and I have to live with that.  But I can't help but feel that I'm the common denominator in this sort of situation that seems to replay itself over and over throughout my life, and I'm not sure what it is that I am doing to bring this on. I am sure, however, that I don't want to go through this, or any of the other situations, ever again.  I have to figure out how to let it go. I have to figure out how to quit turning it over and over in my mind, trying to find every one of my missteps and faults. I think this year seems like a good year to let it go. It will always be there, of course, but I'm tired of taking all the responsibility, I'm tired of trying to find out why I am so terrible that this thing happened to me. I'm going to chalk it up to a perfect storm, and leave it at that.

Ironically, from so much damage and loss, came so much good. For the first time in my life, I have stability. This year, I will have been at my current job for four years, which is the longest I have ever been at one job. I will have lived in my little rented house 3 and a half years, the longest I've lived in one place in my entire life.  In the last four years, not much has changed. It's funny, people will ask me what is new, and I don't have, for the first time, a litany of drama and change to add. Nothing is new, nothing has changed. It's the weirdest feeling, in a good way.  And secretly, I enjoy proving to those who thought this would bury me that not only did it not destroy me, but I somehow managed to pull things back together, and have a normal, happy, drama-free life. THAT is a damn good feeling. I have learned to cherish loyalty, not only in others, but in myself. I have learned to embrace relationships with my friends and my sister, with more permanence, no matter what happens. I have learned that chasing whatever new dream isn't always worth it; there is a huge something to be said about stability and permanency and reliability. I'm still working on the whole getting out there and dating thing, but that will come in time. I needed these last few years to make more mistakes, to learn why I make the choices that I do, and to learn how to accept myself.  I think this is a life long battle, but I feel finally that I am in a good place. THAT feels awesome. : )

Comments

Charity Siebert
Amazing my friend. Very raw. Very open. I am proud of you. Love you very much.
M2
While watching TV last night (I can't even remember what show it was), a character was saying how people kept telling her that things happen for a reason, and her finally realizing that, no they don't, things just happen, period. Anyway, sometimes good things, sometimes bad things. But you hold no fault in this. You don't. I hope that you believe that. Hugs to you...
Michael Shedd
Let me just say how thankful I am that you survived the accident. If you hadn't, I would not have the wonderful, loyal, creative, fun friend that I cherish so much. I love you, Shan and am proud to call you one of my dearest friends. =)
Shell
Thanks for sharing your story and yourself. I love you and am proud of you. Xo shell
Tammie
You just never know what others have been through. You think your life is the worst and then you read something like this and realize, "I got nothing". Love you Shannon, what a catharsis! I know I feel better after I write, but lack the courage to post. Love, love, love you!! ((big <3 hugs))
Taragor
I remember exactly when I found out, and how much that day sucked. You and Chris were coming to Jakes Pirate Bday party that day, and Cler called me to tell me what happened. I was so sad, so blown away. Spending time around you both was so much fun. Spending time with you both in the hospital was so surreal. We (your friends) were all so kind to Chris and to watch what happened to her family and how they turned on everyone was just horrible. Having gone through my brothers car accident, I was so appreciative of his friends dedication to visit and check on him, and my family. I couldn't imagine my mom turning those people away or turning her back on the kindness of others. Your story is still one of those stories that you think people would only write as fiction =/ We all love you, and are so happy to see your strength come out of this....and so thankful you are here to be a part of our lives still.
Shannon
I want to thank each of you for taking the time to read this, and to post. It means so much to me. Tara, I will never forget those days, I was so grateful you came and sat with me and brought food and kept me company. I am so very grateful to have all of you as friends, I love you all! <3
Cathy Isles
Shan, I just have to say that I think you are one amazing, strong, creative, funny and wonderful person. I am sorry you have gone through so much and I wish for you peace. I am glad I have gotten to know you over the last three years. I am sending you hugs.

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