In August 2007 I was in a serious car accident that caused me to have fractured vertebrae in my neck and a long convalescence. After a few months, my friend Jean asked me what was the lesson that I had to learn from the experience. The following was my response.
It will help you in reading this to be able to identify the people I mention. My sister Carol came to Canada from England to take care of me for a few weeks. My other siblings paid for her airfare. Geoff was my husband who died in 2006 after having been ill for eight years. Isaac was someone I met online and who repeatedly said he was coming to meet me.
Jean, you asked me what was the lesson I had to learn from this accident, but the truth is that I learned LOTS of lessons. I’m going to list them as they occur to me, but that is not an indication of priority. That would be another thought process altogether! So, in no particular order, I have learned that:
- All the people who argue for creation because of intelligent design need to realize that the body is NOT very well designed. Our heads are too heavy for our necks. I think an all-knowing god would do a much better job of designing humans.
- Life is too fragile to assume that I can go on working long hours under a lot of stress believing that eventually I will have time to enjoy life. I plan to work less and play more from now on, knowing that tomorrow may never come.
- My sister Carol loves me very much. I want to spend more time with her.
- Other people don’t have the same enthusiasm or energy for my business as I do. Getting impatient with other people because they aren’t as efficient as me is about as smart as getting upset because they aren’t as short as me!
- Insurance companies have no comprehension of how difficult it is to fill out their very lengthy forms when one is recovering from an accident. It’s like trying to see through custard. I have learned to do a little bit each day and ask for extensions on the deadlines.
- Home care in Canada is severely under-funded. (But I already knew that).
- Some of Geoff’s foibles make sense to me now. I have more sympathy for him than I did, but now it’s too late for me to be a better caregiver for him. I learned, though, to express my preferences and frustrations with all this so that other people aren’t as in the dark with me as I was with Geoff.
- I have some wonderful friends. It was very difficult for me to ask for their help repeatedly, but I got better at it. In the future, I hope to be more active in maintaining those friendships than I have been in the past.
- I can’t determine the timetable for Isaac’s trip to Canada. As frustrating as it is, I have to let go and see what happens.
- What may seem to be a ‘divine intervention’ kind of calamitous event, is sometimes just a calamitous event. This might have precipitated an end to my relationship with Isaac. It hasn’t ended, although there has been an intermission of sorts.
- I have learned that I don’t want to live alone for the rest of my life.
- Emergency Service people are very good at what they do. They and a gazillion other health care workers saved my life. I have learned that the cracks in the system are not fatal flaws.
- Having lots of time to think doesn’t mean I’ll think about anything important.
When I came across this list a couple of days ago, I was struck by how wrong I had been about some things and how right I was about others.
Subsequent to writing this list of lessons learned, I worked part-time for three years before taking an early retirement. In addition, I discovered that Isaac had been conning me out of money and was never coming to see me. After several forays into online dating, I found that I actually quite like being single. I am still not very good at maintaining friendships, but I try. I have visited my family in the UK a couple of times since then, but that is not nearly enough. On the other hand, I have spent a lot more time with my family in the US.
It has been suggested to me that each item on this list could be a blog post of its own, and that is a real possibility. This may have given me not only food for thought but also inspiration for writing. Thanks, Jean!
Image source: http://www.townandcountrygazette.com/2015/01/08/exclusive-ten-things-2015/