The weather has been stunning lately. Snuggling in warm against the chill of a cold morning, I look out into the yard to see the first light peeking through the trees. Filtered through the gold and bronze hues, the promise of another gorgeous fall morning rises with the sun. While I’ve felt balanced these past months, healed, the past few days a darkness has loomed. I can’t quite put my finger on why I’m feeling this way when all seems to be right with my world. I try to shake it off and be present with the beauty that is unfolding.
I notice pictures on my nightstand and am reminded I need to get them scanned and sent to the documentary producer. I have taken them out of what I call my box of pain. In it I have stowed and locked away all the painful reminders of that day; police reports, search warrants, newspaper articles, surgical notes. The box holds the somber vestiges of TRFBoise, my trauma name, assigned to protect the anonymity of anyone who comes through the emergency department trauma bay.
The first pictures taken of me in the hospital, surely graphic and uncomfortable to view, were erased later that week from the camera by whoever was taking pictures of my daughter dressed to attend her first Cotillion. The few pictures that remain, taken a few weeks later, sit on my nightstand.
I pick them up today to take them with me as I leave the house, pausing a moment to actually look at them. These wordless images tell the story of the extent of my injuries, which my mind has tucked away just as I have physically tucked away the box. As I look, I am back there.
Though I know the number intimately, I once again count the thirty nine staples that held my abdomen together, the twenty five where my right breast was reattached after closing my chest cavity. The extensive bruising still appears purple and black in the picture; eight or so inches encircling an exit wound, on either side where chest tubes were inserted and at the entry wound in my back.
I’ve always felt like the first bullets could have been a terrible mistake were it not for the one in my back, reminding me of the chilling intent. How peculiar the feeling to know someone wanted you dead, let alone someone who you spent virtually your entire adult life with.
In an belated aha! moment, simply glancing by the pictures sitting innocuously these last few days has stirred the depths. My unconscious mind is in apparent conflict with my perception of being detached from the woman in these pictures. Though I have moved from those early days, this is me, this is what I’ve been through, this is my life. It is a miracle, it is gift, it is short, too precious to waste. TRFBoise duly acknowledged, I must dispel my sadness, come back to now, and be present in this spectacular day.