Listening, Letting Go, and Letting In

I’m Fifty now; I’d like to think my complexion stills begs the question. But, recently I’ve been feeling my age. It’s as if an entire Self has shed – I can see it behind me like some snake skin wrapped around a post.  I don’t know what’s gone, but I know I’m somehow less and somehow more; but, definitely not the same.

Periodically, there’s a piece that runs on CBS, during a news segment – “Everybody Has a Story”.  A reporter throws a dart behind him at a map of the United States.  Where it lands, he goes.  Then, when he gets there, he interviews a random name from the phone book.  I’ve been finding archives of interviews like that in my own psyche – stories that are complex, tragic or compelling, waiting for a someone to come by and ask the questions … and listen.

I’ve been through some of life’s downsides in the last few years – deaths of animals, deaths of people, my Sister’s sudden, serious illness.  The abrupt necessity for me to drop my career and writing lives to work 60+ hours per week for over a year – for the benefit of my sister, who needed my help.  Now, the horizon is clearing, and I can see far enough ahead to see that very soon, I will be able to devote time to my career and my writing again.

Enter the parts of my psyche who have been waiting for someone to listen to their tales – to the fear, the weariness, the disappointments.  To listen to the soldier in me who had to narrow her focus and march through territory – a territory that demanded everything, and perpetuated only Itself.

The soldier in me wants to speak now.  And, I need to listen.  So, I can acknowledge the sacrifice she made, and begin the integration of my psyche, my current life, and the future I long for.

Sometimes, if we choose to stop and listen to the parts of us that wait beside the road to be fed, we find that we fill ourselves in a way which is necessary to walk on.  In this way, we Let Go, and can Let In.  I am ready.

I Almost Died Today

Yesterday, I realized, “I almost died today”.  Or, at 3:15pm Pacific Daylight Time four years ago yesterday, to be exact.  The events of that day are definitely carved in my brain’s granite.  I am glad to say that I don’t feel a chronic apprehension about:  1) big trucks 2) freeways 3) concrete pillars supporting freeway overpasses (okay – just a little.)  More to the point, I can drive by the spot where a truck hit me going 70 miles per hour and not cringe.  But, the supernatural things that happened, well, I am not so ho-hum about.

As someone who has worked with the dying and the passed-away (my job’s a topic for another blog), I understand better than some, the emotions that plague a person who is dying.  I got an upfront and personal dose of that one sunny afternoon, when I got hit from behind and drifted along a lane and meridian to plow into a guard railing.

The most extreme part of the experience has to be when I overheard a nurse talking to Radiology about my then, broken neck.  I cannot forget when she said “The films on Nelda Doe are not good.”  Nelda Doe, their alias for me, intended to keep my anonymity at the ER.  But, I knew the name on my hospital bracelet.  Yep, that was me.  Then, a doctor came over and said I would need neck surgery.  Even now, as I write this, I can feel the cold sting of the same kind of adrenalin that flooded my extremities and dropped my blood pressure.

So, I was thinking to myself, “Fuuuuccckkkk – I’m going to die”!  Little tears dragged their feet as they left the sides of my eyes, crying for every moment I had wanted, that I would never get to live.  Earlier, I had sent some of my family away through a coy cell phone call designed to stem their fear.  It didn’t do that for them, I found out later.  They had wanted to get in to see me, but they said that the ER entrance was like some bad scene from the worst inner-city hospital show ever.  Even though they had my alias, I couldn’t describe where I was, and I wasn’t on any list.  The security guy wouldn’t let them pass.  So, I told them I was fine.  And then, I was all alone.  My smarts were in the crapper that night – my resources for finding solutions to situations like their not being able to come in, all but gone – my common sense was still waiting for a ride from the accident scene.

Basically, the story’s worth telling because of what happened next:  A doctor came over and said that while they were waiting for the surgeon to come and speak with me, they would take me for further imaging.  After, I waited, still on the same gurney.  Then, a doctor came up to the side of my gurney and said, “Well, we can’t find the break on the new images.  So, let’s see if you can move your neck.”  He sat me up some, and I was able to move my neck in every direction.  I was discharged within two hours, and able to call my better half, to come and get me.  For the next ten days, I lived in a neck brace waiting for another Radiology opinion – I didn’t want to end up royally screwed by an inaccurate radiology finding.  But, gladly the report came back saying that I had no break.

For weeks, I tried to understand what had happened.  Why had that truck hit me and how was it, that I was fine?  As startling as finding out that I didn’t have a broken neck, was when I looked up research on high-speed impact crashes.  I wanted to know the average injuries of someone in an accident like me.  There wasn’t any data, because NOBODY SURVIVES HIGH-IMPACT CRASHES.  Reading that was like getting a bonus on the lottery.

Since then, I haven’t looked back much.  I have resolved to LIVE and LOVE – enough said.  But, one of the greatest realizations from that event is that I am a Writer, and that if I don’t write, I’m as good as dead.

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