25 April 2013

Heels Over Head

The Great One

a real-life adventure

Read Part XXVI here.

Now available in ebook format!


I started this story with the intent to help others overcome their fears but apparently was temporarily derailed by the very fear I was trying to conquer. Now that I have finished, I really can't tell if what I've been through will help someone else.

So I guess I'd better make one of those proverbial lists, just in case my verbal wanderings don't hit the mark.

The most important step in recovery for me was and is prayer. Long before this accident ever occurred, I learned, the hard way, to pray each time I took the driver's seat. I always pray I will be able to stay awake and alert, that I will not endanger the lives of others and that I will be courteous. After my accident, I was tempted to believe God had not watched over me and my kids. It took a long time for me to realize He did exactly that and more. God doesn't always prevent accidents, and He doesn't always provide happy endings. But He does hear and answer prayers. I am thankful for the lessons He taught me throughout this ordeal, and I'm thankful He was able to strengthen my faith in the process and prepare me for other calamities I would face down the road of life.

The second most important element in my revitalization was the desire and ability to journal. I didn't finish this book when I wanted to, but I did record daily experiences in my journal, a magnificent buried treasure I could draw upon later, containing many healing moments that likely would have faded from memory had I not taken the time to jot them down.

Family, friends and a good therapist also were helpful. When I felt worthless, guilty or just plain terrified, my family and friends rallied around me and reminded me of the fun memories that sporadically played hide and seek. They bolstered my confidence, my sense of adventure and my yearning to get back out into the mountains. They hungered for my photos. They kept being my confidants and friends, especially when I felt unworthy of their efforts.

Nothing in life can be tackled without humor, or at least a smile. When I look back at the first three chapters of this book, I can see how I tried – desperately sometimes – to make myself laugh. I was very hard on the rescue personnel and hospital staff. And yet, there is this prevailing flavor – a subconscious attempt to describe events in a manner that might at least cause eyeballs to roll, if not outright laughter. As I began to heal, my kids were instrumental because they were comedians in a former life, sent here to torment me with nonstop nonsense and everlasting entertainment.

Children truly are resilient, and I am continually inspired by their zest, curiosity and freshness. Both of my kids experienced some dreadfully hard things before they entered my home, and their sheer desire to survive makes them daily miracles in my life. Their path still is not easy; both have ghosts that haunt them still. Deep down inside, however, both of them have clung to the healing powers of laughter. Even from the darkest abyss, they try to crack silly jokes and make Jim Carreyesque faces. They evoke laughter even when it's not appropriate.

Attitude is a final key ingredient to healing through and through. It is a product of all the other essential elements. I'm not sure it can thrive without the rest. So many times I wallowed chin-deep in negative emotions that threatened to devour me and imprison me. I think the hardest thing, more difficult than getting hit by a truck, adopting special needs kids, negotiating with high-pressure salespeople and sneezing with broken ribs, is pulling myself up out of the gutter when I feel defeated, broken, rejected or abandoned. Without the soothing and healing balm of God, true friends, self-reflection and laughter, a bad attitude cannot be easily shirked.

In reviewing the details of my rollover accident, I sometimes feel as if I'm reading about a different person, not me. I've changed so much. I’ve grown so much. I've survived so much more now. This really is my story. I really did rise above May 25th, 1996. I made it!

Had I known some nine and a half years ago that finishing this endeavor would take only four more nights, I could have finished it way back then. But, oh, heck! Then I wouldn't have been able to finish up with four-wheeling in an SUV in Alaska!


Read Part XXVIII here. (link will not work until May 2)

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'm glad you persevered to work your way through this ordeal to positive ground. Kudos!

    1. Thanks, CameraGirl! It is good to not be afraid any more!

  2. Attitude truly does play a huge part, although sometimes it is very hard to get it up to a good spot with all the crap going on in ones life.

    1. You are so right, Pat. Perhaps my own journey would not have taken so long had it not been for some of the unrelated things going on at the time...

      But again, I'm so glad I got to finish it up with Alaska. Doesn't get any better than that!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    1. Thank you so much, Ann, for reading along!

  4. That photo at the top - it takes the breath away.

    Thanks so much for letting us travel the road with you - all the ups and downs and tears and fears and laughter. And the happy ending.

    P.S. Gosh, that's a cute picture of you! :)

    1. Denali truly does take your breath away, Sue. It's amazing. I'd love to go back one day.

      Thank you for reading along and for commenting each week. I truly appreciate it.

      That picture was taken by my sister-in-law, and I do treasure it. And her!

  5. I am grateful for you sharing this with us. It was a tough time for you, but like most insightful people, you took away lessons and strength that have helped you ever since. It's hard to recognize it at the time - that you're going to end up stronger than before... but it happened to you!

    1. Thank you, KB, and thank you for reading along. This has been a great journey, a marvelous way to wrap up what was a long and sometimes traumatic journey. And you are right, recovering from the fears of the rollover did indeed make me who I am today.

  6. I am a fan of the healing process. I need to start praying when I get into my car. Have a grand week.


Dusty words lying under carpets,
seldom heard, well must you keep your secrets
locked inside, hidden deep from view?
You can talk to me... (Stevie Nicks)

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