My dull eyes rolled to the side of my immobile head, burdened with the hot wetness of the forced oxygen pumping through a C-2 pap mask. I mustered enough strength to raise my hand to my neck and describe a cutthroat motion toward my hospital companion. He simply moved his head slowly left to right, right to left. “No. It’s not your day to die.” And he continued to sit bedside holding my hand for hours.
It was July 3, 2019. I had a horrible car accident. I didn’t remember anything after the crash on June 23. I was told I was helicoptered to the Sant Clara trauma center where they performed life-saving surgeries and procedures.
I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t imagine not saying goodbye to my children before departing so I held on thinking I could tell them and then make my grand farewell on the Fourth of July. But that didn’t happen. A strand of strength returned to my body on that day and I was able to eke out baby breaths. In my mind’s eye, I was the shriveled greyish-white cocoon of ET at his low point.
The temptation of sweet release was in my mind but I had no way to execute the desire. My ICU nurse, Solomon, greeted me with a gentle smile every time he caught my eye. I was able to choke out a few words telling him I couldn’t go on. He said, “You must. And you will.”
Fighting for breath only made it harder. He told me to breathe in slowly—in through the nose, out through the mouth. I listened. By the morning of July fourth, I had made it over the hump. I wanted to live. And I had to fight for it. Man the battle stations!
My children brought my will back. My daughter made a flow chart with color-coding on what day it was and where the kids were. Loving friends visited and brought food and flowers. Some cried at the sight of me. I had no tears, no feeling, no anger or happiness. I was in a state of just being. I saw images of gossamer, lovely vivid colors, dancing color patterns, images of Cheshire cats and dancing teapots. I was floating in viscous animation. I had no judgment or animosity—just love and peace.
I opened my eyes and saw my beautiful goddaughter sitting beside me and I didn’t know if it was real until she spoke. I had no feelings or emotions for two weeks. Silent tears of caring slipped out of my eyes and rolled down my cheeks at the sight of her. That was a good sign…I was returning to life.
Snippets of phrases ran through my mind. I could hear my son saying, “You have to make it to Baby Judah Man’s high school graduation.” Baby Judah is only ten months old. I have a ways to go, but I’m aiming for that.
My beautiful and talented daughter put on a dance party with Baby Scarlett, just over a year old, to one of my favorite Paul Simon songs. She entered the lobby of the hospital ward with a joyous rendition complete with sparkle britches and sunglasses. We must dance! And rejoice in our wonderful lives.
In my delirium (I was in ICU for two weeks) I saw Angels and Demons. The angels won. I did not remember anything after impact. I did not remember being helicoptered from the crash site in Santa Cruz to the Trauma Center in Santa Clara. I do vaguely remember protesting the cutting off of my clothing. As I saw the scissors snipping at my jeans I shouted, “Wait! Those are my best Butt-Lifters!” Never mind, they fell away from my broken now unconscious body. The first responders saved everything in a plastic bag which I discovered after I got home from the hospital and took inventory. Hey, my red stilettos made it! Rescued from the rubble by my amazing daughter-in-law. A very good sign. I will be strutting around in those things soon. Hey, it’s something to aim for.
There’s more—a lot more. I will write later when I have more strength. For now, I want to tell you the most important part: The time to bury the hatchet is now. Release all feelings of resentment, animosity, judgment. We are all doing the best we can with what we have to work with. Live with love in your heart and joy in your spirit. Dissolve the bad feelings and embrace the positive.
Soon I will be sporting my license plate again:
Never mind that there is no car. I will get one somehow.
Huge thanks to all of you for pulling me through this dark spot. Sending you love and light. God Bless!