val in real life

The Business of Personal Impact…

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending my first Horizons Unlimited gathering. There was great comfort in being immersed in this motorcycling community, surrounded by people who understand what I’ve been through and why I want to get back to riding so badly. They get it.

val in real life
A pre-ride tire check on my now-lost Marlo. Back when I could bend my knee, and squat, and ride. Once simple things that are now elusive.

Obviously I’ve had a lot to deal with in the course of my recovery, both emotionally and physically. Then there are the hassles of medical bills, insurance, and legal stuff on top of that. I’ve thought long and hard about the words of those who remind me that the legal end of this is business, that it’s not personal.

And I can’t embrace that mindset. I simply can’t. What happened to me was intensely personal. It may not have been an intentional act but it altered my life irrevocably in more ways than I can begin to articulate. What I’ve shared here on the blog barely scratches the surface. So to try to step outside of that, detach, and look at this from a nuts-and-bolts perspective has been impossible for me.

I’m now 79 days into this but at 37 days I wrote something from a very raw place as a personal catharsis. I revisited it recently, and in light of my conclusion about the personal nature of this event, I thought I would finally share it with you. I hope it gives some insight into why impacting someone’s life so deeply cannot be reduced to business.

I remember…

There’s a certain blur to a traumatic event. The swirl and chaos of it can be overwhelming. Yet within that, there are indelible moments memory cements in your mind with vivid clarity.

I remember having a great ride on an exquisite day, dancing with my motorcycle through the foothills of the North Georgia mountains.

And thinking I how much I love motorcycling as I sat at a red light, just five miles from home.

val in real life
Just a small portion of the metal that now permanently resides in my leg.

And scanning the intersection for hazards, as I’ve been trained to do.

I remember seeing her car and thinking everything was ok.

And realizing she was suddenly turning and that I had no time to save myself.

And the horror of looking down to watch her headlight crush my leg.

I remember waking up to a sea of faces circling over me.

And slowly choking out the digits of my phone passcode to the kind man who had retrieved it from my motorcycle.

I remember him asking me who he should call.

And him saying over and over again how good it was I’d been wearing all of that gear.

I remember the amazing nurse on the scene asking me what hurt.

And that I couldn’t tell at first. My whole body was rigid with pain. Every nerve on fire.

I remember finally understanding what she needed from me and focusing on what hurt most. And realizing it was my leg.

And the fireman telling me they were giving me morphine and thinking that was a very good idea.

I remember the EMT at my feet verifying is was time to cut my gear off of me.

And the sound of the scissors shredding my gear and clothing as I lay in the middle of the intersection.

I remember closing my eyes and letting go. Accepting the most utterly vulnerable position I’ve ever been in and resigning myself to trusting these strangers with my life.

I remember being rolled onto the backboard and being lifted into the ambulance.

And the EMT in the ambulance telling me she was calling the hospital to make sure they could handle my case.

And my dear friend Sarah touching my shoulder in the ambulance and telling me she would meet me at the hospital.

I remember trying to comprehend the severity of my injuries as I was wheeled into emergency surgery.

But what I remember most is the woman holding my hand as I lay in the road.

And saying it was her car that hit me. That she didn’t see me.

And I remember her pleading not guilty in court five weeks later. And wanting to vomit.

I remember the insult of it… the deep, gut-wrenching insult of her plea in the face of what I’ve suffered through. With so much more to go.

And that she got to go home to her family that day. Unhurt. Whole.

I remember that I’ve got months of pain, rehabilitation, and medical bills ahead.

And that my life is a shell of what it was.

And that it will never be the same.

Not guilty?

I wonder what she remembers. Clearly not the same day I do.

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