On the 23rd day after the accident that gave me a severe concussion and totaled my car, I rise when I feel like it. Apparently my brain needs at least 12 hours of sleep a night, so I’ve conceded. I wake in a pitch dark room, rise, brush my hair and my teeth in the dark. I don’t bother to shower; nobody will see me today and I’m not clear for any real physical activity. The darkness spares me the sight of my body, which I imagine has lost all traces of athleticism. I put on running clothes and the fleecy bathrobe my parents got me for Christmas. I dose myself with painkillers, food and water and head for my yoga mat.
I’ve been laying on my back to meditate since the stress fracture, my legs resting on a bench so I don’t get agitated. I cover myself with my race poncho from the marathon, which rustles slightly as it settles over me. After a few minutes, I begin to feel the pain of longing for the home studio I left when I fled my marriage. My head throbs slightly, and tears pour down my face into my ears and hair. Breathe, I exhort myself, and lie there with my sorrow and resentment. I breathe and remind myself I am healing, I expect to make a full recovery. Again and again.
And then I just lay there, waiting for the next wave to hit. It is quiet around me, except for Butters, my loaner cat, who maybe has forgotten I just fed him. He meows, and the grief slams into me as I remember holding the lifeless body of my own cat in my arms. I miss her goofy squawk-meow. I hear my tears hitting the mat next to my head. I am healing, I expect to make a full recovery. I breathe and allow the throbbing in my head, the tension behind my eyes and the sharp, brittle pain in my chest. I feel my anguish and pain, advancing and expanding. I do not fight against them or move to push them away. I breathe, and cry, and lay there. Eventually they recede and I notice the now familiar pain in my neck. My right deltoid spasms a few times. I am healing, I expect to make a full recovery.
The chime sounds on my meditation timer; I roll and sit up, swiping irritably at the wet spots on my face. I stare blankly out the window–green grass, gray sky, brown pine straw. I wrap my arms around myself as I catch a pang of loneliness, and I remind myself of the steady stream of loved ones, mostly my students, who have come to my aid during this crisis. I think of the hours my father spent on the phone with local law enforcement and my insurance. He sorts through the logistical wreckage from my accident while I sit in the crucible of this unwanted pause.
I am grateful for that particular support in a way that seems to shatter some barrier within me, and then I notice that I’m not squinting against the morning light. I do not hope, I do not will this to mean I’m out of the woods. More calmly than I witnessed the return of my verbal skills, I notice that I can see the light.