My apologies to William and Ray for hijacking their site. I have something on my chest I need to get off, and I know Tangible Triumph is about igniting a spark in one’s soul, whether it be motivational, or discovering that truth deep down inside of you that can often be hard to realize. In that endeavor, I wish them the best of luck, and hope that I can assist them in some way in their great and noble journey, even if it’s only through my rare and often gin fueled musings.
There are so many clichés and stereotypes in the world. England has bad food, white people can’t jump (I know I can’t), Irish people love to drink, and so many more. Some of them of course are true, or at the least grounded in truth. For instance, I’m part Irish, and I like drinking, that’s what I call science! All joking and vaguely racist comments aside, one cliché has been stuck in my head for…. ten days: You never really know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. This is so incredibly true, and hopefully if you ever have to learn this, it won’t be because you’ve lost something. I don’t consider myself “lucky” necessarily, but in this instance, learning about how true some clichés can be, I consider myself the luckiest man in the world.
I am writing this on January 9th, 2017 (that’s the first time I’ve had to write the new year, and I.nailed.it!) and for the last ten days I have felt like the luckiest man on the planet. You see, on December 31, 2016, my girlfriend was in a horrible car accident. She was on her way to work at her second job (I’ve always admired her work ethic), and she was hit head-on by somebody who was driving on the wrong side of the road, under the influence of some kind of drug or alcohol. December 31, 2016 is one of those days that I doubt I will ever be able to forget.
She walked out of the house on her way to work, and I realized I didn’t say “Have a great day!” or “I love you” to her, something very important to me because the world is a crazy place and I never want to leave things in a negative or unsaid state. I rushed to the door, swung it open and said “Bye! I love you!!” It seems like something out of a movie at this point, but I recall thinking to myself “damn it, I said bye. I never say that.” I think it was the movie John Q. where Denzel Washington’s character says to his son at the end something along the lines of, “and don’t ever say goodbye, it’s see you later.” For whatever reason, that stuck with me. The rest of the night played out like something out of a Hollywood chick-flick too, in that second act, “here’s where you cry” part of the movie.
I am out getting Gin for the festivities to happen later on in the night, it’s New Years Eve after all.
Phone begins to ring.
*That’s weird, why is Mary-Lynn calling me, she’s on her way to work?*
“Hello, Dear! What’s up?”
“Dear I was just hit head-on.”
“What?! Are you kidding me? Are you okay?”
“My head hurts and it hurts to breathe.”
“Where are you?!”
“The ambulance is here, I don’t know what’s going to happen….”
I have a tendency to freak out when it comes to stress, it’s just something I’m not built to deal with. For whatever reason during this, probably the most stressful thing that’s ever happened to me, I was able to talk myself through it all. I knew if I started freaking out nothing good would come of it, so I used my problem solving ability I have always been complimented on.
It was down-pouring, but I knew her route to work, and how to get there from where I was. This doesn’t sound like that big of a detail, but I recently moved to Mississippi after roughly 29 years of living in Connecticut (and six months in Vermont earlier in 2016). I headed to her work, and began the journey back towards where we live. Sure enough, like another scene from a movie, I reached the top of a small hilly part of the road, and slowly saw the police and ambulance lights come into view. I pulled up by a cop, rolled downed my window, told him I was the boyfriend of one of the people involved in the accident, and was trying to find out if she was okay. I tell you, the police have it rough these days thanks to social media, but this guy was a godsend. He told me to pull over by a truck and walked me over to the ambulance, assured me she was okay, and gave me directions to the hospital.
Long story short, not that it’s not important, but I don’t want to take up too much of your time, she had (and is still recovering from), fractured ribs, a neck injury, an injured knee, a partially collapsed lung, and fluid in her lung. I watched a lot of House MD when I was younger, but when I was hearing all of this at first I didn’t know if that meant she was okay, or had hours to live. Thankfully the doctor was another godsend, and he made it clear that she was not knocking on heavens door. We spent the next five or six nights in the hospital, and we are now home, though she is still confined to a bed for the most part.
I can not tell you how many times over the past ten days I have thanked god for sparing her. I have a tendency to be overly cautious and over react, but hearing countless nurses and doctors say they can’t believe she wasn’t worse off or didn’t die was enough to make me really appreciate that things weren’t worse. I would get her refills of water, butter rolls, and go buy her lunch until the day I die if I had to, because at least I still have her.
Every night since the accident, when she falls asleep and I am left on my own to pass the time, I find myself reliving it all. Thinking about how scared I was, how I wish I could trade places with her, and how grateful I am. Like I said, I am a cautious man. In action, thought, and emotion. Being cautious is a gift and a curse, because while I feel that I’ve missed out on a lot due to fear, I also feel like I’ve been able to use my head and not make a lot of mistakes I would have made if I’d thrown caution to the wind. Mary-Lynn is one of those things that makes it a gift. I was cautious with our relationship. I knew what I wanted in a partner, and was not willing to settle out of some fear of being alone. If I died alone, never meeting the one for me, so be it, that’s what was meant to be. But I found the one for me, my soulmate. She is my partner, and my best friend. The mere thought of not being able to talk to her again, discuss science, argue about politics, talk of the obvious existence of extraterrestrials, the chance to make each other laugh…. these things fill me with a dread and sadness I can’t put into words. I’m talking the type of sadness that results in the song Mad World, which my older brother Robbie once described after I made him listen to at one of William’s baseball games as “the most depressing song I’ve ever heard.”
William and Ray set out to inspire. To share thoughts, outlooks, and experiences. Sometimes it’s not easy to be our best selves, or know what to do, and that’s okay, that’s why friends and family are so important, why humans have the need for human interaction. That’s why I felt the need to share my story. It’s a lot to have on my mind so much, it’s a pain I feel almost guilty for having, because some people get calls about accidents, and they don’t have the privilege of helping their significant other through their recovery. They have the misfortune of calling loved ones and telling them the worst news imaginable, they have the misfortune of planning a funeral, and they have the misfortune of having a finite amount of memories to recall, but never the chance to make new ones.
When I was younger and lost in thought; sad, happy, inquisitive, whatever, I used to write song lyrics as a way of sorting it all out. I have hundreds of songs written, but this required something a bit more…. verbose. It all comes down to this though: tell your loved ones you love them. Don’t let things end on bad notes. Don’t go to bed angry. Take the blame during a fight even if you’re right, because life is so much more fleeting than you realize. Do nice things for people, express your appreciation. Be romantic, be kind, be optimistic.
Leave nothing unsaid.
Back when I used to write a blog, I used to accompany each post with a song I was “feeling” at the time of writing. Today, I leave you with this:
Makes you cherish more, it’s great to be alive and human. I am so glad that everyone is okay that is a very intense event. My spouse caught me reading this with my eyes wet and I was thankful for that moment!
I am so glad that you were reminded and learned this without losing your girlfriend. It is something that we all need to remember daily. No one is promised tomorrow. Hugs to you both.