Sunday, June 6, 2010
Fireworks, Beasts & Baseball
Every year, towards the end of May, we venture down to The Great American Ballpark to watch The Reds and take in one of the free fireworks shows that are scheduled after specific games.
This tradition is always very special to me because it is the first 'outing' we took as a family after my accident. For the longest time, I couldn't figure out how to describe what it was we were doing during that game. What were we so desperately trying to do? We were not trying, necessarily, to fill in the spaces because I think what happened actually LEFT more behind than it took. I will not say we were "trying to find a new normal" because that sounds too much like Dr. Phil, and as much as I like Dr. Phil, it still just doesn't seem fitting.
So, for a long time, I didn't know exactly what it was we were doing. We were healing, but we were also doing something else.
I started reading a fantastic new book called A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas. Abigail and her husband had been living in New York City and married for 13 years when her husband suffered a traumatic brain injury after being hit by a car while chasing after their beagle. It changes him forever- hallucinations, mood swings, severe memory loss. Eventually, she buys a house in the country (after acquiring two more dogs), and he moves to a nearby facility that specializes in helping patients who live with TBI. This book is about her life after the accident.
She is a beautiful writer. In the beginning of her memoir, she says that she and her family spent a lot of time "trying to tame what happened" and I thought,
"Yes. That's exactly it."
The Reds Game. That is what we were doing- that is what we ARE doing. We are trying to tame what happened.
I often tell people that Scarlett is part cocker, part jack russell and part (coyote/wild beast/orangutang or whatever animal happens to strike my fancy that day). There is a rather large part of her heart that is still, in a sense, wild. The other day, I found her on the coffee table- all four paws firmly planted, watching a mayfly; a lioness ready to attack.
I don't particularly care for crossing streets. I don't like it. I despise how people in movies never seem to watch where they're going. While watching movies, I often fear that people are going to suddenly be struck as part of the plot line (think the opening scene of Meet Joe Black), even during romantic comedies. I shout in my head, "Watch out, Kate Hudson! Watch out!"
See. Even though, after 5 years, I am now able to approach what happened with an outstretched hand, even though I am now able to occasionally scratch behind it's ears...
part of what happened is still wild.
It took about 4 years to get the insurance settlement money. I am very proud to say that not a penny of it went towards shoes, much to my dismay. For the most part, we tried to be smart with it. A down payment on a house. An IRA. Student loans.
But this upcoming trip? This trip is for me. This trip is for us. The last little bit of what we had squirreled away (separate from our normal 'real life' savings account, of course) is what we are using to fund the majority of this vacation. I am hoping it will bring some more closure.
I hope and pray that once I am able to stand next to the Bixby Canyon Bridge off the coast of California and nuzzle my husband, this thing that happened will finally roll over and let me scratch it's belly.
We shall see.