I hadn’t planned a departure from these pages. And indeed, I’m happy to be back. The days leading up to Christmas were as busy for me as they were for so many of you. The sort of busyness that sees you pushing through extreme fatigue and promising yourself that you’ll do laundry, dishes and grocery shopping tomorrow—for absolute certain. Then BAM! tomorrow arrives, and you’re bumping it all ahead just one more day. Without a family gift exchange this year, I bought only two presents for two small children I’ve recently gotten to know, and gave them the afternoon of Christmas eve. There’s something about the look of anticipation and unbridled excitement that only children have when a gift is unwrapped, that brings pure joy to anyone watching.
I grocery shopped early Christmas eve and couldn’t wait to get home to plug-in the kettle and plonk down on the couch. I wrestled with myself over doing laundry and picking up around the apartment. In the end, the chance to have a couple of hours of downtime before meeting Zoë and Aaron for an evening Carol service won. Laundry could wait. There was tea at hand, a few emails returned, and a catch-up phone call with a close friend with wishes for a happy Christmas. And then it was time to step out into the night to meet my girl and son-in-law.
I remember: Getting off the streetcar and rushing to cross the road where we were meeting. My boot hitting something hard and sailing over it. The impact of the ground when my chest hit. Then my shoulder. My wrist. My knee. A woman calling out, “Can you get up?”. Opening my eyes and seeing headlights coming down the road. Trying to reach for my knee, the pain pounding in my ribs, pulling me down, my arm caught beneath me. Telling her, “I need my daughter! I need Zoë”. A light being shined in my eyes and someone telling me it was IMPORTANT to keep them open. Fighting sleep … The sound of my daughter’s voice from far away, “Mum, I’m here”. Cold air hitting both legs when my jeans were cut open. Sleep … sleep … Eyes closing. Stickers on my chest in the ambulance. A loud voice asking so many questions: Had I been drinking? No. My chest hurts. My chests hurts! Did I do drugs? No. My chest hurts. My chest hurts. How did I fall? My chest hurts … My knee hurts … Please! Searing pain and tears pulling my eyelids closed, keeping them closed … My children came to hospital, all but the youngest who was with his dad that night.
I missed Christmas. It was turned upside down for everyone. My daughter had been inside the church when the accident happened; I was on the road, just outside. Three weeks before, for some odd reason, I’d gone through my phone and appended “daughter” and “son” to each of my children’s names just in case … I was afraid to complete that thought, wouldn’t let myself, but felt compelled to take that action. And when that woman took my phone from my coat pocket as I lay on the road, she found my daughter’s name and dialed her.
I’m home and I’m healing. I slept round the clock for the first four days, pumped full of Rx pain meds. But no longer, they do my head in. I have tinctures for pain, swelling and bruising from my sister-in-law, a homeopathic doctor, who spent an entire day nursing me. I have a collection of vitamins, an anti-inflammatory and restorative food from Zoë. I have help and SO damn much love from my other three: Eli, Kaz and Kieran, and my son-in-law, Aaron.
I’m tired. I hurt. It’s hard to breathe deeply, to get comfortable. I’m not sleeping well. My energy is extremely low. But I’m here on this last day of the year! And I’m healing. 2015: A year for self-care, in so many ways.
I don’t have any year-end review. No pithy observations or final thoughts. No collected photos to share. Only this one. Yesterday I popped an empty frame over this string of letters that’s been taped to my bedroom wall. It’s good to be here. I hope your last day of the year holds some quiet time for reflection, and so damn much love.
See you soon, friends. X