In December of 2021 I was involved in a critical accident between my car and a propane semi-truck. It hit me as I turned onto a 50 mph street, on the driver’s side where I sat, sending me spinning and into a ravine. By all accounts, I should have died, and everyone was surprised to see me walk out of the car which had folded in half.
Although my body miraculously survived with a few minor scrapes, we did not realize that I had sustained a brain injury. My health began declining with no known reason as to why.
The trauma paired with the injury did not take effect on me immediately, and within a couple of months I was no longer able to drive or work due to seizures and severe PTSD. There were days my body gave up, left with no energy. I was so incredibly depressed, so tired, and I felt so small. I was stuck in this body that no longer had the energy to see the world. I had less connection with friends and family, and the isolation was nothing short of shattering.
At the time I was 18, and it was very difficult to navigate losing that much independence in such little time. I surrounded myself in the world and community of Sky. I was in a world where I was not bed-bound and my words didn’t have to come with trouble or confusion; where my body did not tremor and my mouth did not stutter. I didn’t have my independence taken away here, and I could still fly and reach out to new friends.
In those moments where I felt so alone, there was always something there. I remember crying during the Aurora concert, of which I waited for with excitement, because it was the first time since my accident that I felt I was somewhere in a community with people around me, even if it was virtual. There were so many people, all so excited and bright, and I was one of them. I can never go to concerts because of my accident, but the hour-long performance allowed me to experience what it would feel like if I could. I thought I would never feel that way.
In the world of Sky I’m no different than the other people and it’s wonderful. The escape from a reality which can feel hopeless at times was a lifesaver more than once.
December of 2023 will mark the second year since I lost my independence on winter roads. I’m happy to say that beginning April 18th, I’ll be in rehab to work again. No, things won’t ever be exactly like they were, but they’re getting better.
Sky and the community within gave me a light when there absolutely was none. There has never been a right way to say “thank you”, therefore I share my story so that maybe one person who feels that utter hopelessness knows it gets better.
Hold on to that light. People are here for you, and you’re so much stronger than you know. You matter, and we love you.
“Hope is real. Help is real. You are breath, you are life, you are beauty, you are light. Your story is not over, you are not a burden to anyone.”
- Please Stay, by Jake Runestad.