Monday, January 21, 2013

09/30/10 Day One - The Worst Day


            On an otherwise normal day life can take an unexpected and some might even say grossly tragic turn. Actually I can't think of anyone who wouldn't say that it was grossly tragic, in my case. Certain details of the morning are as vivid as photographs. I know exactly what I was wearing right down to the jewelry and I even remember looking in the mirror before I left and being satisfied that it was the right outfit to go from traveling right into dinner somewhere in New York City. There really wasn't anything out of place that day. I'd done the trip to the airport so many times that I had it down to the minute practically. I like getting to the airport and getting right on the plane. Maybe grab a coffee and something non-nutritional like a chocolate chip muffin, but that's it. I packed only a carry-on whenever possible to cut down on the time it takes to check a bag. Once on the plane I'd shove my red Vera Bradley Paisley print duffel bag into the overhead bin, take my seat, fish my book out of my green canvas bag and read. That was what should have happened but it didn't. I actually only made it just a few miles from my home before fate intervened.

            I've heard people say that time slows down during an accident but I can now throw in my own two cents and say that time did nothing of the sort. The road I was on is not heavily traveled but for some reason a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction decided to use the opposite lane as well. I saw it coming at me head-on and the gray matter computer in my head very quickly assessed that I had two choices… Choices 1, use the opposite lane to pass him/her… Choices 2, go off the road to my right and hope to be able to recover and get back on. The first choice seemed too risky because what if the other vehicle went back into the correct lane… We'd still have a head on… So I went off to my right. It should have ended at worst with me stuck in a ditch… Should have…

            But no, instead I found myself in a vehicle that did not want to obey my commands. Perhaps I bumped back onto the road at the wrong angle… Maybe steering locked on me… Maybe it was just that time for me… I was heading for the opposite side of the road at a very strange angle and something inside me just knew this was going to end very badly. The only thing I could do was shout "no no no no no" and then nothing. An empty gap in time followed by darkness and a voice telling me that they were going to get me out of there. It was so dark I thought it was night… I saw nothing just heard the reassuring voice and the sound of the cutting equipment… The kind they use to cut people out of vehicles. All I could say was "help me" over and over until I heard my phone ring and then I told them it was my boyfriend and to please call him back and let him know what was going on. Because I knew, I knew exactly what was happening… I knew they had to cut the seatbelt to get me out… I knew I broke my neck.


  1. Well this just gives me chills you know. I was there two days later when you still had leaves in your hair in the ICU and I was so scared for you but I couldn't show it, I had to be strong. Your brother told me not to lose it, but I knew how to do that, I told him he could count on me. He was so protective of you, outside the door to the ICU, hovering, intercepting all who came to see you. I have known you since we were seven. Sometimes I cry about this, and what has happened to you, unexpectedly. When I was decorating the Christmas tree this year, i came across a porcelain harlequin clown ornament you gave me in high school. I lost it, Rich was not there to warn me.

    I love you. I am so amazed at your positivity and perseverance EVERY single day. Every time I visit, I am in awe of your progress, your determination, your drive. You motivate me, you nut. You really do.

  2. Cherri... YOU are an amazing person and so strong. I don't know if I could have done or do
    what you have done. My heart is with you and you are always in my mind.

  3. Cherie, this is wonderful! You can get all your feelings and words out to everyone!

    I am SO proud of what you've been through that you still have that great smile on your face.

    Hugs.. Cat (aka sdbsgirl)

  4. I read this and feel like it was yesterday... but it wasn't and you have endured SO much it is unbelievable... your perseverance and determination inspire me everyday... and I always think of your beautiful smile,heart and amazing ability to see the good in everyone.... Love you so much... thanks for letting us all in to your life and story.... you mean so much to all of us !!
    xoxoxoxo Alli

  5. This brought tears and goosebumps, and that is said in such an underwhelming way - what am I, a writer? Oh yeah - I am - well, dang - *smiling at you* ----

    I hate this happened to you, but am amazed at the grace with with you handle it -- however, I shouldn't be surprised, for long as I've known you, you've been a kickass woman.

  6. My goodness Cherie, what an amazing and gut wrenching account of your experience. While I have only known you for a relatively short time, you have had a profound impact on me by simply being who you are. Such courage, such strength, such intelligence, such spirit and perhaps most profoundly, WHAT AN OPEN HEART! I am so glad you are doing this. I look forward to your future entries on this site. Each time one person is lifted up in this world, we are all lifted up. We can all reach higher because of who you are. I will be forever grateful that I met you. JJ

  7. What a fabulous idea, a historical blog! You have power plus. I am sure this blog will inspire and help not only those with spinal cord injuries, but also those with debilitating injuries of the soul. Great to hear from you.
    Love you.

  8. I'm with Beth, on this one. I still can't wrap my brain around all you have had to endure, and yet, you seem to thrive on no matter which turn your life takes. Your spirit is absolutely irrepresible, and you are such an inspiration to so many. My Joey enters 6th grade next year, and I will always think of that grade as life-changing for me, because you and Beth became firmly glued into my life, and who I am, then. I look at him and think he's too young to have something start now and stick with him forever, and then I think of you, and all the Friday night sleep-overs, the poetry, music, tea, and cranberry quick bread that never made it to the oven. I am so blessed to call you my friend, and so inspired by your absolute conquering of obstacles, and joy that radiates from you. I love you more than ever sweet friend!