31 January 2013

Heels Over Head

the old-fashioned way

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.

Table of Contents

Copyright 2013 by Deborah and Brett Atkinson
All rights reserved. No part of this book - prose, photos or graphics - may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without express prior written permission of the author.


  1. I admire what you do and work with it yourself. The therapist is right. Writing everything down is a great thing to do to heal. And helps you to go forward. But I am surprised you have so many memories in detail of the addicent.

    Hugs from NF Monica

    1. Thank you, Monica. The first four chapters of this were written in less than 48 hours while the memories were still very fresh and raw. From this point on, it was written from what I recorded in my journal. I am SO thankful I wrote down the most precious moments in my journal!

  2. It sounds as if writing your story in the notebook was just the therapy that you needed. I once had a huge tramatic event that led to PTSD - and I never was able to write a word about it until about 20 years after it. It involved a gun, two shots, a dead dog, and me being held a gunpoint. I wonder if I might have recovered faster if I'd written about it, like you did.

    No doubt that you're right about how these events shape us and help us to be ready for the future hard knocks in our lives.

    1. I read about that experience on your blog when you shared it, KB, and you did a good job of recounting the horror even thought you didn't use a notebook at the time. Funny how some things become permanently engrained, isn't it.

  3. I didn't realize until now that you'd written this as a form of therapy for yourself. What a great idea!

    1. Thanks, CameraGirl. Yes, partial therapy, partial ridding myself of the icky parts I didn't want dragging me down anymore.

  4. I was thinking about highway dread last night. I cut out a house number which was the overcrowded path of my youth.


Dusty words lying under carpets,
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