Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What an anniversary!

Yesterday was an anniversary I prefer not to remember. However, it is something I have lived with every day for the last 11 years. It's hard to believe it has been 11 years, because I remember it like it was, well, yesterday.

On Monday, May 5th, 1997, I was driving home from my job, at an agency that counsels youth and young adults facing substance abuse problems. I was going to go home for a bit, to babysit my brother's youngest 3 children, and then head over to my regular Monday evening shift at a non-profit organization.

It was approximately 4:40 pm on an overcast, slighty drizzly evening when a drunk driver illegally turned into my lane. I plowed into him, head-on. The pain was immediate. My glasses were thrown, but I could still make out the driver of the truck. I remember thinking, "He looks drunk. But it's only 4:30 pm. He can't be drunk this early!" He was drunk. More than twice the legal limit.

I was taken to the hospital, in an ambulance. Turns out, I had soft tissue damage the entire length of my spine. That night began one of the darkest, most difficult journeys of my life. It changed the trajectory of my life. The physical rehab would last about a full 2 years.

Every time it is overcast, I think about that evening. Every time I'm with someone who is drinking, I think of that evening. When I bend, or have headaches, I think of that evening.

From first-hand experience, I know that if you have even 1 drink, you shouldn't drive.

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