Sunday, October 10, 2021

Reflecting 12 Years Post Accident (2020)

I wrote this post last fall (October 2020), as the anniversary of the car accident approached. 

Over the years, the meaning and emotion of the event have ebbed and flowed in a way that perfectly illustrates the grief process. I've written about this multiple times before: 
When I moved to Arizona in 2017, I started seeing a headache specialist here. It so happened that the date of that initial appointment was the same as the accident. I consciously chose to take back that date; the move and new provider representing a clean slate of sorts. 

This year has been filled with so much loss, on both the individual and collective levels. Perhaps it's in light of this that I find myself more aware, as the anniversary of the accident approaches.

As 12 years post accident approaches, I find myself reflective. 
Photo by Faramarz Hashemi on Unsplash

Following my accident, I fought hard to get back the pre-accident Jamie. I finally reached a level of acceptance in living with this disease, and fought hard for the Jamie I am today. I'm still a work in progress, no doubt. But, in this moment, I recognize that I've come a long way.

I have to be very mindful about how I think about this. It can be all too easy to spin down a path of what ifs. The truth is, the person I was when the accident happened is frozen in time. She very well might've had a different journey, but the person I missed for so long (and sometimes still do) would be whoever she grew to be over the years. And, that, is unknowable. It will forever be an unknown. So, I must remind my mind that the grass may not have been greener. 

I'm grateful to have some people close to me that know me and love me as I am, not who they wish I was. I want to see me through their eyes, to believe in myself the way they believe in me...  with less self-critical judgment. I'm working on it.

Today, I recognize that living with chronic pain is hard, that each year that passes may affect me differently, that grief is a process with ebbs and flows... and... that I can do more than I think I can, that I can engage with myself with compassion and love, that I can give myself space to experience the grief process in all the ways it shows up. 

(As I'm posting this a year after writing it, I'll share about this year's anniversary in a separate post) 

"Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we'll ever do." - Brene Brown

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