Between the moment of impact and the moment the paramedics arrived I assumed I was with God.
But I wonder about that now.
I was 19. The day after Thanksgiving.
Another skier hit me. He’d stayed up all night, smoked weed, and that morning fancied himself an extreme skier.
Two hospitals later, a bleed in my brain indicated frontal lobe damage.
I always believed I’d found God on that mountain. Because isn’t that the only reason something so traumatic happens for no apparent good? I wanted this jagged edge in the fabric of my life to mean something. I wanted it to mean the biggest something.
Eleven days I slept in bed while my brain bled slowly enough that surgery became unnecessary.
I felt angels hovering around my body. Mostly young ones, cherubic beings that kept me company in my deep sleep. One rare moment when I awakened, I felt myself say out loud, if anybody wants to know about God, send them to me. Then I melted back into the pillow.
Tonight, I feel that twenty-one years of recovery have brought me a life filled with purpose, love, friends and spirituality— but these years have put little distance between me and the trauma I experienced on the mountain.
Every year, as Thanksgiving approaches, my cells remember the collision and its aftermath. Pleasure is inconceivable. The delicate stitching between my body and soul comes apart, releasing all the pain once woven tightly by the thread.
Last year, I couldn’t see it for what its was—PTSD. I believed I was in real danger. I believed the trauma—and lost sight of my consciousness, always present and delivering me from illusion. I spent seven days in the psych unit letting nurses take care of me so I could remember how anti-climactic and safe it is to be me.
This year, as the symptoms return I say, “Dear girl, I got you.”
I’m reliving the pain of the past, but my process is loftier.
I cry and pray and meditate to feel how God could ever be present in such pain? Did I imagine Spirit protecting me and loving me as I lay in shock on that mountain?
Sometimes we cope by imagining things that aren’t there. Sometimes we resort to grandiosity when reality feels numb.
Perhaps my cells cyclically erupt with memory of my brain injury to force a spiritual crisis?
I relive one of the darkest periods of my life over and over again so that each time a little more consciousness and love can soften the blow. Maybe that’s the Divine saying “Just hang in there, you and I, we got this. I love you.”
Even in my skepticism, I want to believe.
This is the face of a seeker, riding bareback with PTSD, asking Spirit to gallop beneath.
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