This I believe

Paula - San Antonio, Texas
Entered on September 2, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

This I Believe

The past four years have been very difficult. My life was turned around on June 20, 2004 when my husband was tragically killed in Victoria, TX, five days before our wedding anniversary. We had been together eighteen years and would have been married for eight.

The next few weeks were a blur; I endured two funerals, one in Victoria, TX and the other in our home town of Baraga, MI. It was extremely traumatic. We had grown together and had plans since we were children to start a family. Adding to the trauma was the realization that I was now alone in Texas, an experience I was not ready for. My family and friends lived eighteen hundred miles away in Michigan, but Texas had become my home that I could not leave. I had my two dogs and my parrot, it was hard, but somehow I was making it.

Things worsened, when two months later I lost my German Shepherd who I had loved and had for thirteen years. This loss was devastating, as I started to doubt my spiritual beliefs and didn’t think I would have the strength to make it. During this time I started to drag race motorcycles, which helped distract me from the constant reminders of the horrible experiences, unfortunately not a good decision, as I was not able to think clearly to be doing something so dangerous. Sometimes I wonder if didn’t have a subconscious death wish.

Five months later I was in a horrible bike accident at the race track. I had blacked out not realizing I had Hypoglycemia (a low blood sugar condition) and ran off the end of the race track at over a hundred and fifty miles an hour. The condition was exasperated by not eating well, as a result of the stress and trauma that still lingers today. I was life flighted to the University Hospital Trauma Center, where I later learned they didn’t think I would make it. I had suffered from broken collar bones, broken hand, shattered ankle , broken lower leg in several places, seven fractures in my back and spine, and a punctured kidney. The trauma surgeon(s) would bring students to my room to show them the “miracle” girl. They said someone must be looking out for you; you should not be here based on your condition. They had never seen someone in such bad shape yet in such good spirits.

I learned through my accident that when it’s our time, it’s our time. The accident seemed pretty easy to deal with (relatively speaking), even while living with an external fixator on my leg for five months, then a cast for another two. The pain of losing a loved one and even the animals you love is so much harder than the physical pain.

I believe people have an incredible strength to endure many traumas. One never knows the strength you have, until something terrible happens. I don’t feel like I have yet fully recovered, as I still have lingering problems from the multiple traumas experienced since 2004 including ones not mentioned.

Nevertheless, I’m here, happy to be alive and proud of myself for being strong. I have made mistakes along the way, but who wouldn’t? My mother and father are so proud of me. My mom says she looks up to me, because she could only hope to be so strong. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have such a huge heart and be so spiritual, which has guided me along the way.