As my regular readers know, I got hurt September 3, 1971, thirty-eight years ago tonight. I talk about that night in every speech. When someone asks how long I have been disabled, I tell them it was the night my life changed forever, my first life ended and my second life began. When nurses, lab technicians, therapists and doctors' receptionists ask me, "Date of injury onset?"
I reply, "9 - 3 - 71." I know it was an instant in time that has affected many peoples' lives besides mine. If you are reading this, chances are pretty good you are one of them.
It is always a melancholy day, and today is no different. I decided to write about my feelings in hope it will be a therapeutic session to share them. Forgive me if I don't lie on the couch, because then I could not type.
Shortly after my accident, a friend gave me the poster pictured here:
Click on the image to enlarge:
That quote, "I still believe in tomorrow." became my slogan, my mantra, and one of my goals. It was part of the lyrics to a song that went, "I still believe in tomorrow, though my life means nothing today." I felt that way many days, and especially in the middle of countless nights when I couldn't sleep.
There were many of those feelings of, "Why me?" "When will I wake up from this bad dream?" "What's going to happen next?" "What did I do to deserve this?" and many more thoughts like those. I had many, many questions, and still do. It's just today, the questions are different. I have found answers to many of my questions, and there are others that remain unanswered. I am guessing many of you can empathize with those thoughts.
One day in Sioux Falls, a doctor took my family to the waiting room and told them my life expectancy was nine years. I guess he was wrong. I believe I am still here because I'm not done yet. I believe we all have a reason for being, and I also believe we need to find that reason. Some of us do, and some do not. I feel fortunate to know I have found mine.
I have a friend whom I have known for close to thirty years and she told me once she was glad she didn't know me then because she would not have wanted to go through that time. She said it would have been too painful to witness knowing me before my accident, to adjusting to everything I had to address from seeing me with the Crutchfield thongs in my skull like in this picture, to watching me lose sixty-eight pounds, to witnessing me struggle through my rehabilitation in the months after my accident.
Some of you were at the game, some of you have only known me since I became disabled, some of you only know me from hearing me speak and/or reading this blog, and some of you have never met me.
I welcome your comments, especially if you were at the game or knew me in 1971. Please let me know your memories and thoughts. Who knows, it may end up in the book? After all, that is the purpose of this whole blog.
There, I feel better. Thanks for reading.