a real-life adventure
Read Part XIV here.
Now available in ebook format!
Written in about 2006 (about ten years after the accident)
It's been nearly ten years since I've jotted anything in this notebook. I can't remember exactly why I stopped writing. My kids' adoption/bonding therapist had been working with me to help me overcome my fear of driving, and I had mentioned to him that I wanted to write a book about my experience to help others who've been in horrible accidents to learn to trust themselves behind the wheel of a car again. To feel confident having children in their cars again.
He thought it was a splendid idea and encouraged me to move forward immediately with the project. He said it would be good therapy for me.
As best I can recall, I sat down and began recording my memories that very night. I worked almost throughout the night and during every work break the following day. I picked it up again that night and formed blisters on two fingers from holding the pen so tight through another night. When I finally retired to bed, I didn't have nightmares for the first time in several months. I never returned to the story until now, even though I never forgot about it.
Perhaps the sleepless nights caught up with me. Maybe my kids became more demanding. Maybe reliving the trauma during waking hours was more than I could stomach. Or maybe I read over what I had written and deemed my project a failure, more negative, especially toward the emergency workers who tried to help me, than I intended. I don't remember making a conscious decision not to finish the book, but I didn't miss it while it was put away, either. Maybe it just needed to ferment for a while.
Now my kids are out on their own, I'm back to putting 20,000 miles or more on my vehicle every year, I've endured a few more hard knocks, and I realize some of the strength I developed through this accident and some of the everyday tragedies that followed helped me survive and thrive a whole lifetime of events, good and bad, since then. The story still needs to be told, but perhaps my vision has matured. One can only hope...
I pulled this notebook off the shelf because I was in the mood to write. I have at least seven books in progress at all times. I couldn't remember where I'd put the adventure novel I wanted to resume. This one wasn't it. But after reading what I'd written so long ago, I decided it is time. This one needs to be finished.
As I glanced through the pages a second time, I began wondering if I'd suffered a little more brain damage than the doctors realized. So much has changed in ten years! I initially didn't remember that stretch of highway EVER being two-lane. But then I found proof.
Eight months after the accident, a brief from the Rocky Mountain News caught my eye. I'd clipped it and tucked it neatly inside this notebook, where it has yellowed until now.
Douglas County officials, seeking $14.4 million, plan to meet with members of the House Transportation Committee in Washington the first week of February and return to talk to the Colorado delegation later in the month, said Commissioner Michael Cooke.
The project would add a third lane to southbound I-25 from Lincoln Avenue to Castle Pines Parkway, the deadliest strip of roadway in the county. (italics added) — Rocky Mountain News, 1/24/97, page 32A
The highway to Castle Rock really was two-lane. The Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post really were two distinct and separate entities a long time ago. And I really had been afraid to drive.
Read Part XVI here.
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Copyright 2013 by Deborah and Brett Atkinson