I close my eyes and stumble into a rabbit hole, where I slowly fall like Alice. During my plummet, I see glimpses of my life pass me by. Some I shudder, some I yearn for more. These glimpses are phases of my life. It’s a reality that I must see to believe. Intrinsically, some of us choose to block parts because its haunting-a prison of our own mind unable to escape. For the remaining, they walk around in splendor and visualize the grander of life. We choose what we want to see, but these phases of your life can’t be erased.
Overcoming trauma, is one of those haunting phases we are desperate to block. It’s something that robs you, smashing you down. It stares at you with no mercy as you lay there raw, exposed, lost, and unable to find your way. You shut your eyes, so you can’t see it, because if you do it didn’t happen- it can’t be true. You don’t want this trauma to be a phase in your life. It’s something you don’t understand yet, so you brush it off like you have everything under control. As life moves on, you lay down and suddenly blocked phases of life blaze by. It cripples you. Your brain is shouting at you like a repugnant recall. You haven’t faced the reality of the trauma, so the focus of your truth is far gone. But the verity of recovery is that you need to find your rabbit hole so your eyes and mind can face that phase that you’ve blocked. As I’m falling in the rabbit hole, I look all around me as the room is spinning. My phase was supposed to start with a wedding and move on with a happy life. It was disrupted one month after getting married. My brain malfunctioned and robbed me. My trauma dominated my mind for several months and tried to erase my happy memory of getting married. The very thought of this still makes me angry. I don’t know why; I don’t have control over what transpired. To this day, no one knows why it happened. The brain is the most complex organ, and its faults are still a mystery. My trauma has left me in an intrinsic parallel universe battling getting married December 7th to becoming a stroke victim on January 28th. The phases roll through my head nightly, robbing me of what should have been the happiest time in my life to a nightmare.
I see my father and I walk down the sidewalk near the beach.
I see myself being carried away in an ambulance.
I’m overlooking over the beautiful beach seeing my husband cry as he watches me walk down.
The doctors say you have a life-threatening brain bleed we need to transport you.
I look at my husband and read my vows, looking into his eyes. I then gaze around the crowd as the cheer us on.
I’m lying in the hospital bed not knowing what happened. Doctors are surrounding me. I’m gripping the hospital bed rails trying to digest what’s being said.
My husband and I hold our hands together and walk down the aisle and then embrace.
You will need surgery. “Could I die?”, “There’s a chance”.
My husband and I walk around the beach with the photographer capturing our happiness.
We are ready for you. They wheel me down to the surgery room. I don’t know if I will ever see anyone ever again. Death do us part?
We go back to the beach house and celebrate our marriage.
I’m out of surgery with a massive incision on my head, tubes coming out of my head, my hair shaved.
My husband and I cut the wedding cake gazing at each other with happiness.
My husband is nervous and pacing around the hospital room.
We pack our bags to head to the next house to start our honeymoon.
We pack my bags after being discharged from the hospital.
We travel around Florida having fun walking around the beach.
I stumble walking from the bed.
We cruise the ocean looking at houses feeling the ocean breeze.
I feel slow, something isn’t right again.
We go for a romantic stroll down the Florida streets gazing at the Christmas lights on the palm trees.
I gaze up at the bright lights of another CT scan.
We lay on the beach listening to the ocean waves crash.
I lay in a hospital bed. “We have to do another operation”, “You have swelling in your brain and we need to insert a VP shunt and it needs to be done tomorrow”.
I run into the ocean feeling free, safe and secure with my husband.
I’m scared for my life as they wheel me down a second time to operate.
We drift asleep together after fun day as husband and wife.
I drift awake in the must excruciating pain of my life.
We fly home eager to see all our friends and family.
Family and friends surround me and embrace me.
I hang up our first wedding picture- someone I was.
I’m here now- someone different.
This phase of my life was supposed to be one- a newlywed. It was tarnished by a stroke and ruptured aneurysm. Our wedded hands were almost parted forever. It’s a pain that will always be there and it haunts me nightly. While this was not what I envisioned, it did happen, and I must make peace with it. As difficult as that may sound, especially to anyone that’s experienced trauma, confusion, damage and nightmares are hard to accept. There are two ways to go about this. I can either feel robbed, sad, depressed, angry, bitter or I can rise. I chose to rise. Rising for me, was a difficult journey. I had to grieve what happened to myself and understand that the grieving process will come and go because it’s an ongoing process. So, I go through my list and I feel comforted by the odd numbers because it’s the joy that will never be taken away. I look at the even numbers and tell myself that I became a stronger woman because of this. I’m alive, that’s the most important piece of this whole factor. I get to spend my life with my husband. I could run in circles over all the bad things that happened to me, but what would that do for me? Rise also meant something else to me- a responsibility to speak about my journey in hopes to help someone else who is going through pain. I’m going to take this rotten detour of my blissful phase and turn it into something empowering, and in turn, feel empowered. I refuse to be a statistic of falling into fire. Instead, I rise, and I rise with pride that I fought a battle and did so with tenacity. I didn’t let it swallow me or make me fall apart. So, my words to you are to embrace the fall of your phase that you went through- rise, stand up and overpower it. Take that painful time and twist it around to accomplish something leaving the pain into ashes.