Monday, 26 April 2010

On a more serious note.....

I don't do serious posts about life very often, and won't do very often, but I'm getting to know you guys so wanted to share.

My husband and I have a very special anniversary on Tuesday 27th April, it will be 10 years since we had a serious car accident which nearly killed Paul and changed our lives forever. This is not as depressing as it sounds, as you've probably realised by now I'm a pretty upbeat type of gal and so is my honey, so really what we celebrate on this day is survival and the joy of life.

We were on vacation and were travelling from Tuscon in Arizona to meet our friends in San Diego, up til that point we'd had a great time, we'd been to LA, Monterey, San Francisco, then on to Viva Las Vegas where we met and had a great time with lots of friends. We then went on to Phoenix, then Tuscon where we found the best vintage finds - all of which were lost dammit!

Viva Las Vegas 2000
But on that journey we had a car crash that did in fact change our lives, neither of us remember it, we were hit so hard and so quick thankfully we don't remember anything, I only remember the emergency crew bringing me round in the car, but even then I was in and out of conciousness. I wasn't so bad, although clearly not great, however my husband had very serious internal injuries and worse still a severe brain injury.

This was taken only about an hour before, little did we know what would happen next.

Long story short, he was in a coma for 3 months, in fact still in a coma when we were flown back to the UK, when he finally started to come out of the coma - believe me it's not like the movies - it was clear, as predicted, that his brain injury was severe and he pretty much had to learn everything from the beginning again, he didn't even understand yes and no at first, and he couldn't swallow which was a disaster for Paul as his love of food is legendary!

It was (and is) a very long and hard road, he was in hospital and rehab for a total of 6 months, and it took a lot longer than that before life returned to anything approaching normality. He still has a disability but he does walk and he does talk, neither of which the docs predicted he would!

However through all this we felt lucky, we had each other, we were alive, Paul had not changed his personality, he hadn't forgotten me which was my biggest fear when he was in a coma (I know selfish huh? but true!), he wasn't the same physically as he was before, but personality wise he was, he just couldn't do some physical stuff that he used to do.

Of course I don't want to make it sound like it was a breeze, it wasn't, there were some dark moments, but our positivity about life and our love saw us through and still does to this day.

We have learnt a lot about life since this happened, we pretty much did live life to the full before and boy are we glad we did, there are some things that are so much harder for us to do now, but we've done them at some point in the past so that's good!

We learnt about people too, some people were amazing, the 'scene' that we are part of raised an unbelievable amount of money which really really helped us through the first few months, we could not have survived without it, some friends went above and beyond the call of duty, our best friends even converted their dining room to a temporary downstairs bedroom so Paul could come at weekends when he was in rehab, we lived in a maisonette upstairs which Paul couldn't access, Bloater and Lisa will never know how amazing that was for us. We also learnt that some people weren't true friends which was kinda sad, but hey you move on!

So the moral of the story? Live life to the full as you never know what's around the corner. I'm not one of those who says live life as if every day was your last, I personally think that's not possible, for a start I don't have that kinda money ;o) You also can't have any kind of normality if you always think like that, we got in a lot of money problems at first as Paul's favourite phrase when we were out shopping was 'buy it I nearly died' and we did live life like that for a while, but the reality is that you just can't live like that.

However I would say try to do things which make you happy, don't pander to people unnecessarily as often they are the people who wouldn't be there for you when the time comes, don't just go with the flow because of peer pressure it won't make you happy! I'm not saying that we haven't made mistakes in the last 10 years but usually we rectify them quicker!

Happiness is what truly matters in life, not money, not where you live, not what possessions you have, of course they all help as well, I'm not naive I'd be ecstatic if I won the lottery, but aim for happiness first, I'm broke, started a business in a recession, can't really afford to go out, but basically apart from being broke I'm happy!

Back at Viva Las Vegas in 2006!
Anyway I just wanted to share my story, there's a lot more to it, but that's the short version and on Tuesday we will be celebrating life, oh and then on Saturday 1st May we'll be celebrating our 17th Wedding Anniversary, we're broke so we can't afford to go out, but I'll cook a damn fine meal and alcohol will be involved ;o)



i would like to write something but i'm out of "words". i hope you will have several "17th anniversary".
Take care of each other.

Helen Highwater said...

I think it's great that you came through something like that, and not entirely unscathed, but you didn't let it dent your positive attitude.

I'm quite a negative person and I try to follow people's positive examples. I knew someone who had terminal cancer and who was still upbeat and said "I'm quite lucky really" when he compared himself to the man in the bed opposite. I was humbled that in the face of death he could still claim to be lucky! I don't think I could. Or could I? I suppose it depends on what life throws at you.

Anonymous said...

I cant believe its been that long.
That was our first vlv and I remember the news and shock that spread though the weekend. And how we all wanted to do 'something' but didnt know what.

And here you both are, Triumph over Adversity? Or just a huge pot of courage and strong will to live life.

Hats off and here's to next 170 years!!!!!!!!

ps. going out is sooooo last year

punk in writing said...

I love that attitude of hope and making the best of things.

Makes me think of this song. :)

take time for your pleasure
and laugh with love
take the hand of another
and sing for the wings of a dove

art*deco*dame said...

Wow,thanks for sharing and I'm glad you guys are so positive.I think that really does help people make it through that kind of stuff.

In The Heyday said...

You are both stars in my book! Many people would hide at home after such a tumble, but there you are still living life to the full, taking risks and believing in yourself and each other.

Happy Anniversary - both of them!

Straight Talking Mama! said...

Thanks all you're all very lovely :o)

Sarah @ ColorKitten said...

Wow, thanks for sharing that story and congrats to you both on BOTH upcoming anniversaries! I hope you'll be back to VLV many more times too.

Shrinky Inky said...

thank you for sharing your story with us. happy anniversaries on both counts. big hugs your way!!

Retro Chick said...

Wow. You made me get tears in my eyes and that hardly ever happens.

Congratulations for both anniversaries! 17 years is pretty impressive!

Emerald Window said...

Great post! I love your positive attitudes and your strength. Have some Happy Anniversaries and enjoy life.

Yesterday Girl said...

Wow, you're even more amazing than I thought you were! Happy Anniversary to you...enjoy it.x

Miss Matilda said...

Thank you for sharing your history. You are one fine mama and I'm proud to know you.

Enjoy your anniversary. xx

BakeliteBebe said...

Wow, life is so precious. Thank you for this post and thank goodness you are both still alive and kicking!

Straight Talking Mama! said...

What lovely blog followers I have, thank you! I wasn't sure what the reaction would be to this post as it's much more serious than anything I usually do, so thank you!

'The Girl Can't Help It' said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I was in Vegas at the time and remember hearing about the accident. Some pals reminded of me at dinner tonight. So glad you are well and happy!!!

Straight Talking Mama! said...

wow weird that you remember & we didn't know each other but do now!

Dolly Cool Clare said...

Such a moving story. And what a great attitude you have, and your husband too. I wish you a very happy anniversary :) x

.Lisa - I Need A Typist Virtual Assistant Services said...

I only just read this!! Obviously you both know how much we love you and admire you for the strength you have both shown over the last 10 years. Reading it written down is kind of weird, we see you so often and know you both so darn well that we just forget about all of this, Paul is just Paul and you very rarely mention the accident and certainly never feel sorry for yourselves over it. We have talked soooo many times about what is important in life and I know we share the same philosophies of counting the blessings, not the misfortunes, however I have often wondered if I could ever have the strength of mind you both show every day. Life is great and we all have a lot to be thankful for, even in the face of adversity, and it is heartening to have such amazing friends! :) Lisa & Bloater XXXX

Straight Talking Mama! said...

aw thank you Lisa, well you know what you did when we had the accident was above and beyond, so you know how I feel about that! I'm filling up, and you know how rare that is!!!!

Pennychoo said...

I didn't know you then (as you probably know!) but I remember a collection bucket coming round at Ealing Town Hall one Saturday and thinking 'I wonder who this Paul bloke is?' Very strange to think about that now. This also means that I never knew Paul pre-accident and have wondered if it turned him ino the philosophical, life-loving optimist he now is or if he was just always like that?

I don't think anyone would descibe a near-fatal accident as a 'gift' (!), but you and Paul are certainly testament to the fact that good things can come out of bad. I don't think I know another couple who are still as loved-up as you two after 17 years but you both realised that life would have to go one of two ways, and you had the strength of character to make it go the right way. I suppose what *is* a gift is the knowledge that you can now survive pretty much anything! x

Straight Talking Mama! said...

How strange that you remember a collection being made for Paul and now you know us so well!

And thanks for the kind words!

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