Five years ago today, my world shattered.
On June 30th 2005, a beautiful sunny day, the world as I knew it changed forever.
"Mme. Fraser, line one", I heard on the intercom as I hurried along through the school hall with a large box in hand, emptying my classroom. Some of you may have experienced a similar phone call...the kind that takes your breath away, where the world freezes in time, where you feel you are no longer inside your body. On this day, I learned that my husband had fallen from the sky and would never walk again. "Paralysed, waist down", the doctor told me over the phone???
Five years...I can honestly say that it feels more like ten. Our lives have changed so much since that fateful day in June. There has been so much struggle, but equally, there has been so much healing. I have learned a great deal in the last five years. I have learned that bad things happen to good people, paralysis sucks, our world is not wheelchair friendly and that my anger houses my deep sadness inside my body. I believe that some things are just meant to be no matter how hard they are and that if you want to be happy you need to make lemonade, no matter how sour your lemons are.
I learned that you can still have a FULL life after this happens. It tests everything you've got and then some, but after five years you can look back and say WE SURVIVED. I still get angry when I see someone parked in wheelchair parking without a permit. I still want to leave a nasty note or kick in their door... But, I don't wear my pain on the first layer of my skin anymore, where it is so sensitive to the elements. It is rather tucked inside a very special box that I take out once in a while. It is there that I give myself permission to be sad, to remember, to grieve.
I learned that healing is not linear and that time does not fix everything. I learned that marriage is hard. But if you add fourteen years in the military and paralysis, it's even harder. I've learned to make very difficult decisions, but some that had to be made and in the end, it was for the best. I've learned that my son will be able to live his life knowing that ANYTHING is possible...the good and the bad, and that you have to make it count, no matter what. I believe that Owen will grow up knowing that you can survive the very worst in life and still be a contributing member of society and you don't need to numb yourself with drugs and alcohol. He will know that everyone, no matter their "disability" have something GREAT and AMAZING to contribute to this world and they deserve RESPECT.
I learned that I am married to the strongest man I know. God really doesn't give you more than you can handle and some people have just been chosen to shine his light. Steve is one of those people. He actually makes paraplegia look easy. Seriously. But, don't kid yourself...It's not. At ALL. He chooses everyday to make a difference in this world. He wants to make it better for all those who find themselves wheelchair bound. He has become the person I most want to be like on this planet. The quiet strength and determination he shows me daily is humbling... To me, he is one of those superheroes who secretly live among us...his wheelchair being part of his superhero costume.
Our journey together has not been an easy one. It has been hard and heartbreaking. However, we have grown so much and become better people. We are not easily fooled by ego or material worth. We like to surround ourselves with people who get the meaning of life and appreciate all the little things. Steve and I have come a long way...But trust me...we were not always this way. There has been some very painful growth here...where you are faced to look at yourself in the mirror and see just how ugly your ugly parts are...
Five years ago today my world shattered. Nothing is the same. Nothing. But, I can honestly say that some of it is even better than it ever was. And, some of it will always stay tucked inside my little box.
It's fitting when I think about it...This "accident" happening on the eve of Canada Day... A reminder of what so many have sacrificed in the name of Canada. We are just one of those families affected by our service for this beautiful country.
To all those who have lost so much in the name of CANADA;
I thank you, I am with you, and I will never forget you.
(Many of you have been asking what my book is about... It's about all of this, all of it. The journey before and the aftermath. The people behind the statistics, the TRUTH about living our lives as military families in Canada. What REALLY happens and what you never hear about on the six o'clock news. The TRUTH will set me FREE)