I am a Survivor. With a big ol’ capital S. Why the big S? Because being a Survivor requires the acknowledgment of something stronger than just a name or description. It’s not who I am totally, but a big portion of my heart, soul and body. - Shani Kenny 2015

Saturday, September 26, 2015

That fateful day.....

* Hey guys! Since I mentioned my moms accident in previous posts, I figured it was time to tell ya'll about it. This is mostly what I wrote about it af ew years ago with some minor changes. It was hard on me to share this one. I think since it's so close to the anniversary of her passing....none the less....I want to tell you our story. In my eyes, my mom was more than a Survivor. She was a true Fighter! Ty for reading!


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On June 14th, 1988, our whole lives changed. My mom had been working at her new job at Circle K convenience store as assistant manager. She had just changed jobs and was 2 weeks away from getting full benefits for me and David. It was the summer that was one of our hottest.

Mama was working on a display that day that was a part of a contest held through the chain. Her usual customers came in, Shanna, her sister and her Mama. They were buying ice cream and chatting with mama. Another customer had come in earlier, she was 77 years old, I can't recall her name. She drove a huge green car and shouldn't have been driving. While mama chatted with her customers and rang up their ice cream, this woman made an illegal u turn in the parking lot and either the accelerator stuck or she was senile but she drove through the front of the store. This was back in the day when store fronts were glass form bottom to the top. To boot the concrete stoppers were put in backwards so they worked as an accelerator for the car. The car plowed through the cash register where mama was and Shanna and her family. the mom and her younger sister were thrown by the impact out of the way. My mom and Shanna got hit by the car. The force of the impact pushed mama against the concrete wall and as the lady hit the gas some more, helping to move the solid wall and mama 13 inches. All the while Shanna who was 2 years old, was trapped under the tire. She tapped and pulled on mama's leg trying to get help. A bystander got the car moved back and helped mama and Shanna get out. They were both sent to the hospital. Shanna died 5 hours later. The mom and young daughter came out of it with out any scratches.


That day changed everything for my family. I remember coming home from school that day, excited it was the last day. Mama was sitting on the couch all bandaged up and I was worried. Mike wouldn't allow me to touch her or go near her. I remember panicking and getting worried because I didn't know what happened. I heard her telling someone that she had been hurt at work. Mama wouldn't look at me. what was wrong? I don't remember much after that because I was sent out to my Aunts house for the summer, to better help Mama with what she was dealing with. I had fun that summer, but constantly worried about mama. I was explained to that she got hurt at work and she needed to heal up and get lot's of rest. I was 10 at the time and would have been more of a burden on her than a help. I never regretted that or blamed her. if anything I'm glad she did. Because as I got older I found out the other reason. Not only obviously were our names nearly the same, we looked almost identical. If you had looked at my 2 year old picture and at Shanna's you would have to look twice. Mama couldn't handle having me there, it was too raw and hurtful.


Looking back at her journals of that summer, I still get chills. She wouldn't sleep, the severe trauma of what had happened literally made her crazy. She was on so many meds as they tried to figure out what was going on with her back and leg. She was suffering tremendously. She had PTSD, Severe Depression, Anxiety and became agoraphobic. Even suicidal. At one point she held a knife to her leg wanting to cut it off to stop the tapping of Shanna's hand, or what she believed it to be. I admit that the meds they put her on at that time did not help a great deal. She began extensive therapy both physical and mental. Going home for the school year, I didn't know what to do. All I knew is she was hurt and I couldn't help her. I couldn't save her. David and I began a routine, he was working and school. He had worked all summer to help pay for mom's meds before L and I kicked in. Mike was an asshole who did very little to help with it. I still get angry over that. I began to take care of mama as much as she would allow me to and work on chores.

On most weekends I was back out at my Aunt's house to give mama a break. For 3 years she suffered so very much. When I was 13 she had back surgery to repair and fuse the ruptured disc in her back. She had permanent nerve damage in her leg that caused so many problems for her later.


David continued to work so hard, and go to school. Helped take care of us when mama couldn't. She had to fight to get L and I because they constantly told her she could go back to work. It was a bunch of crap! We went through a lot. i remember being 14 and being suicidal myself. Not many know that, crap only a few. I was so depressed with all that was going on. Mike was getting more abusive, and hateful. He no longer hit me, but the verbal was there. Mama hardly knew a thing. He told me he'd hurt mama in the early years. By then I had dealt with so much. I kept my pain from everyone, including mama. I didn't want to hurt her. Later I would find out she was on the brink of destruction herself. During 15 years before she passed, she would attempt suicide 3 times. Mostly in the earlier years. David had to come home from school once because of it. We all three suffered such trauma. I hated Mike for the crap he put us through. you see Mama was on her way out, taking us away as she couldn't deal anymore with his crap. He abused her too in a lot of ways. When the accident happened she was helpless. We all kept most of it to ourselves in order not to hurt the others. I regret that now, more than ever. Especially as I deal more with my mental health.


Looking back on so many things, I realize how much mama had to give up in order to be stable. I see her pain through her eyes as I always did from the time I was 14 on. She suffered so much, it was a wonder she survived. She kept us together no matter what. This last year I've had to come to terms with so much of my past. Hearing things I never expected. Like when I thought I hid it so well, that we all did other's knew. Facing my demon's has been so hard. This included. I know mama didn't always do things right, I question some things, and other's I'm proud of. I hurt yes every day in some ways for all sorts of different things. there will always be things no one knows about what we went through. But that's ok, it's not for everyone to understand.


Even though mama hurt so bad, she never stopped loving us. Never stopped being proud. She wasn't perfect, but she was my mom. I've forgiven the things that should have changed, could have. I forgive her for those things. I forgive the accident and the lady who changed our lives. I live now even after mama is gone to make sure my life is different and better. It's been 22 years now, and yes it still hurts. Anyone can say, let it go. But unless you lived it, you have no idea.


I think about Shanna and what her life would have been. I feel sorrow for her family and the pain they went through.
That fateful day, things may have changed but in all of it, it made us stronger. I hate that it took that trauma for making us that way. Do I hate her for the fact David and I were left to take are of her for 15 years? No...am I angry? Sometimes. Because I knew Mike could have changed it. But he was an abusive asshole who didn't care about us enough to save us.


My heart aches for the fact I couldn't save mama more. Even if in my adult mind I know I couldn't. With all that happened, not just the accident but all of it as a whole, I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Well, I should say I live with it.


I live with it, and I deal with it. I miss mama every day of my life. But today, I embrace her and thank the heavens she no longer hurts or in pain. She suffered so much and in the end she is at peace. I pray that i can find that peace with all of it.
Mama I celebrate you today, 27 years after the day that changed us. Thank you for your life, your love and your guidance. With out you, my life would not have been as rich. I praise you and thank you for everything, the good the bad and the turmoil. Because I would not be who I am.

Rest in peace mama, I love you.

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