Yesterday marked 17 years from the moment that changed my entire life. Seventeen years ago, I was in a car accident that killed my boyfriend.
I was the one driving.
I was in the ICU for five days, and hospitalized for seven more after that.
I remember the details of that accident vividly.
I also remember one of the most impactful gifts that was given to me in the hospital was a gratitude journal, where you write down five things your thankful for each day of the year.
Little did I know, that journal would change my life, as well. Because even with all of the hurt and pain, even with all of the memories and sadness that engulfed me for the next few months, even years after, each day I was able to find five things that were blessings I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.
Seventeen years later, I still write in my journal. Last night’s entry was remarkably similar to the first one: I am forever blessed to have had Tyrel in my life. That God’s plan is much bigger than my own. That I survived to help others heal through my lessons. That I am the person who I am today because of the lessons that occurred on March 26, 2000.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned is although while we are in the midst of the storm and we can barely see what’s right in front of us, we trust that one day, the storm will pass.
We may be beaten, broken, and ravaged by the waves crashing over us, yet we hold on. And one day we wake up and realize the rain has stopped, and we don’t have to hold on so tightly anymore. We loosen our grips and just for a moment, breathe the first real breath in forever. We are able to come up for air and know that soon, the sun will shine again. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day.
Trust is about having vision further than one can see. Trusting that our lives are made for so much more; an even bigger impact and legacy than we can ever imagine. I have witnessed this time and time again in more hard lessons than I care to admit.
And although I know that Tyrel made a huge impact on the lives around him, and his legacy lives on still today, I am most thankful for the lessons he taught me. And much like my gratitude journal from 17 years ago, I know my purpose in life is still unfolding. I trust that my words, my lessons will be used for a greater good. Not so that others don’t have to go through what I went through, but to know we’re not alone.
Grief is such a lonely place. Seventeen years later, I am filled with gratitude for what my life has become, and yet yesterday, I couldn’t speak of my accident. It was if time stood still and I was that fifteen-year-old girl who was all alone again.
But today is different. I am ready to share.
Grateful. Humbled. Blessed. Purposeful. Ready.
Seventeen years later, I am using my accident as a catalyst for change.
Bad things happen.
Good people die.
Hearts get broken.
Life goes on.
It’s your choice to wallow or to rise above and see the beauty that unfolds. I am thankful for the lessons and ready to serve knowing how it will not only help my healing, but for those around me.