On the 23rd of April 2016, the afternoon started off with food and wine and the good company of friends. As we waited for the sun to set, we planned to do light photography in the garden. We enjoyed experimenting with different light sources to create amazing photographs.
My turn to spin the burning steel wool. I missed stepped lost my balance and fell. I hit my head on the embankment which is 3 meters high. It felt like I was hanging over a tree branch by my middle, head and feet dangling in the air. But there was no branch to break my fall.
I can’t put into words the experience. It won’t make sense to you, even if I tried you won’t believe me. My guardian angels intervened and protected me from a fatal head injury. It was not my time to go.
I landed on my back, the wind out of me, struggling to catch my breath. Disorientated I looked up and saw the night sky. I tried to move, but the pain shot through my whole body and I realised I couldn’t get up by myself. The next moment my two friends were there to help me.
My body turned ice cold, and I shook. I felt pins and needles from my neck into my arms and hands. The emergency services arrived. They stabilised me and took me to the hospital. In hospital and MRI showed there is spondylosis of the cervical spine between the fifth and sixth vertebrae, resulting in the paraesthesia and loss of power in the upper limbs.
One week later I was released to go home. I had a broken hand, a large hematoma on my back and a few lacerations. I felt weak and struggled with mobility in my upper body.
I resembled the humpback of Nostradamus. My boyfriend called the hematoma “Steve”. Bless his soul, he always try to find the humour in a situation which makes me laugh and forget the pain.
‘Steve’ is excruciating and creates a lot of pressure on my spine, neck and shoulders. I had pins and needles in my arms and hands. I did not have the strength to form a grip. A simple task of drinking coffee, suddenly got a lot more complicated. Daily tasks of cleaning and dressing myself and eating had its own set of challenges. I got tired faster and did not have the stamina or energy I had before the accident. Can you imagine my frustration?
I am an independent woman and use to doing things myself. It was difficult to ask for help and allow other to help me. I felt like a burden. Friends and family loved and cared for me and wanted to help. All I had to do was to allow it. It meant, I had to surrender to my situation and accept it. To let others see me so vulnerable and helpless took a lot of courage.
With follow-up consultations with the doctor, the prognosis was all doom and gloom. The injury between my fifth and sixth vertebrae would have a serious impact on my daily activities. He pulled out a form and ticked off a list of activities. He recommended that I should not perform any of these.
The list was endless. It felt like a delivery of a death sentence. The doctor’s voices kept fading as he read out the list to me. He finally looked up and asked: “Any questions?” All that came out of my mouth was, “I am glad sex is not on that list!” He smiled and told me to take it very easy for the next eight weeks and be patient with myself.
I walked out of that consultation room and knew in my heart that what he said was not true. When you know, you know. You don’t know how you know, but you know.
What I didn’t know at the time was the spiritual lesson and growth that was in store for me over the next 8 months. The loss of mobility, the pain. It breaks and humbles you like nothing else can. No matter how much I wanted to exit my body and not feel, I couldn’t. For the first time in years, I was present in my body and I had no choice but to feel it all. The physical pain, the fear, the doubts. Old wounds surfaced, which I thought I had dealt with.
The experience taught me how to feel my emotions and listen to my body. I realised that I didn’t know my body, my fellow human or God that well. I knew my relationship with myself and my Creator had to change.
- It is okay to ask for help. allow and accept the help offered
- That I am safe, and it is safe for me to open my heart
- To trust myself and listen to my inner knowing because my heart knows the way
- To love me more, it is not selfish
- That I am enough
- That I am loved by my Creator and don’t have to prove myself or do anything to be worthy in his eyes
- To appreciation and have compassion for all the medical staff. They also get tired and have human emotions while dealing with all kinds of trauma and pressure.
- To appreciate and love my body and take better care of it. It is my home for this lifetime on earth.
- The power of prayer. Prayers are always answered. I got answered but it was not what I wanted to hear, so I ignored it. Things did not progress but when I did listen to the guidance things flowed with more ease.
- To surrender to what was happening to me and around me and allowed God to take control.- I have a team of angels and guides around me. I learned how to ask for help and listen to the guidance offered and trust in Divine timing.
- To find my joy even when times are hard. There is always something to be grateful for.
- To laugh and don’t take life so seriously.
I learn the meaning of faith, trust, surrender, grace, compassion, strength, braveness, love. Terms which I was not so familiar with, nor understood before.
My road to recovery was long and hard, with many soul lessons. I no longer felt stuck. I am learning and growing with each new experience. The more difficult ones is where I had the most soul growth.
I love this quote by Tracee Ellis Ross, as it explains how I feel since the accident.
I am learning everyday to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be, to inspire me and not terrify me
Nine month later, I ran my first 10km race and it felt damn good. Walking back to the campsite that evening, my boyfriend reminded me how far I have come. I felt proud and a deep sense of gratitude for all that I experienced.
Me on the left in the blue shirt.
This was the photo of me spinning the steel wool and then I fell..
Sense of humour is still intact, you can see the morphine started working.