I lay in the darkness, suddenly fully awake, my eyes wide and staring into nothingness, my heart thumping like a rabbits that had just been chased by…well by my dog. I knew it wasn’t a sound that had woken me. Old ghosts had shaken me awake, whisps of memories pulled me from my slumber.
My face felt damp and I reached up to touch it with shaking hands, a memory whispered to me that I needed to stop the blood, my fingers searched for the jagged gash on my nose. Instead they found a tiny raised line, all that was left of the cut, the small silver scar the only sign of what had happened.
My finger tips found no blood, only tears, and I knew without looking what time it must be. The clock on the bedside table was as silent as ever, it was the internal one that had woken me. A year ago today it had been time to get up and go, I had turned on the torch in the cabin and eerie shadows had watched me as I dressed.
I reached out to my right, slowly, just to be sure of where I was, checking there was a wall there, checking that I hadn’t suddenly been transported back to that cabin in the wilderness. My fingers touched the cold wall and in the utter darkness I could picture my surroundings at last. My comfy bed in my nice safe house, my tiny scar barely visible on my nose and the huge ones that that day made inside of me.
I lay in the darkness and hot tears ran down my face, knowing that a year ago my alarm had just gone off, knowing that I gotten up and dressed and walked towards the day that would change my life.
It’s been a year since my accident on the Routeburn, since a stumble completely altered the course of my life, a few seconds left the old me on the side of a mountain as the new me took her place and continued on. A year of concussion, of blinding headaches and of tears, a year of pain and frustration.
But it’s also been a year of learning, a year of adapting and slowing down, resting and growing.
I keep thinking of all the things I could have done this past year, the things I should have been doing, but then I remind myself that that’s just not true. That other life I’m imagining was never promised to me, that path wasn’t for me. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, this was always going to be part of my journey. I need to find the good in this because I can cry and moan all I like but it’s not going to change anything.
There is a tradition in Japan called Kintsugi, where they highlight the broken parts of something with gold instead of trying to hide them. They make the cracks beautiful instead. I came across this this week and it made me think.
I miss the old me, I miss her everyday. Today I’m finally going to let her go. I’m typing this through sobs, with my face soaked in tears. The screen is blurred by them and my chest hurts from crying.
I look out the window at the snow covered mountains. My coffee has gone cold. My dog hears my sobs and comes to lie at my feet, his eyes full of concern and love as he looks up at me. Today I’m going to allow myself to feel everything I’ve been hiding from for the last year, I’m going to grieve for the old me and I’m going to accept the new me. I’m going to cry until I don’t have any more tears left and then I’m going to move on.
I’m going to stop putting time limits on recovery, that is not how this works. I’m going to stop counting days and instead count the good moments.
I’m going to fill all the broken bits with gold.
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