I don’t like negativity, but I try to stay realistic. I don’t want to be weak but at times it’s hard to be brave. Lately it feels like any glimmer of hope turns into a step in the wrong direction. Some days hope is just another 4 letter word.
And yet, one particular night hope was presented to me as not only a feeling, but a choice. I went to a beautiful wedding and had an amazing time, but for a moment I wasn’t sure if I could let myself enjoy the night. While congratulating the groom during cocktail hour, we talked about the couple’s first dance. He mentioned the name of the song and it sounded familiar but I couldn’t place it…until I heard that first verse.
Memories of the accident flooded my mind and tears fell from my eyes. I had danced to that song in my favorite contemporary dance class, two nights before I was hit by a car. It was the last time I would dance as an able-bodied person. I hadn’t even thought of that until the moment I watched the bride and groom dancing to the music.
I knew I had to choose – let my fear of never dancing again swallow me whole, or turn that page in my life and accept this new chapter. Armando held my hand as the tears of grief subsided and a smile crept across my face. I have to admit, I felt a bit like Carrie Bradshaw in that episode of Sex and the City when she read at a wedding and tried to pass off her sadness as tears of joy for the happy couple. But looking around that ballroom, filled with love and the promise of a new beginning, the song became less painful and more inspirational.
An instance of a strange/surprise reaction is bound to happen after any kind of traumatic accident. A smell, taste, or sound may trigger a memory that has been neatly tucked away. Just the other day my family piled into our car to go home when another car ran a stop sign and nearly collided with us. When I saw that car drive through the stop sign and narrowly miss us my adrenaline jumpstarted and I had a panic attack. I never would have reacted that way before my injury.
These triggers will keep popping up, but like I wrote before, I choose to embrace life and overcome fear – even fears I never knew I had. Hope may be just another 4 letter word, but I’m choosing it over any other.