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.

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