Eleven

No, not that Eleven (although she has also been through some shit). I'm talking about how today marks eleven years since the worst shit that ever happened to me.

I could use more flowery language, but whenever I think about that day, "worst shit ever" does nicely sum up getting hit by a Chevy Suburban that got hit by a firetruck and breaking eight bones. And eleven years doesn't feel as monumental as ten years, but I will still think about the experience every October 20th and give thanks that I am still here.

I was talking with my dad about angels recently. If reading that sentence made you roll your eyes so hard that it hurts, believe me, I was right there with you at the beginning of this conversation. I'm not religious. I consider myself agnostic. The word "angels" either makes me think of froofy-looking cartoons that you see on valentines or the unrealistic beauty standards of Victoria's Secret.

But in our conversation, my dad introduced a better meaning: "angels" can simply refer to the people who were there for you when you needed them, even if you didn't know you needed someone. We've probably all had those moments, like when you're walking down the street thinking of someone, wondering what they're up to and then you see them and they have good news for you. If that hasn't happened to you yet, I bet it will at some point in your life.

So today I'm thinking about angels without rolling my eyes about it, and thankful for all those who helped me out eleven years ago:

  • The EMTs who ignored my cries to please please not cut off my cool Topshop jeans and went ahead and stopped my bleeding anyway.
  • Andrea and Rebecca, who ran a night of one-act plays and then slept on the floor of the ICU until my parents came.
  • The dashing plastic surgeon who left his daughter's birthday party to stitch my face up.
  • My parents, who got the worst answering machine message they've ever heard, then drove for five hours in the middle of the night to be at my bedside.
  • The neighbors across the street from my parents, who gave them driving directions and set them up with a place to stay.
  • The very patient ICU nurse who convinced my parents that they needed rest too.
  • The stranger who donated the B+ blood that transfused into my body.

There were many, many more angels in my life after those first 12 or so hours, and then in following months, and I'm thinking about all of them too. But those first 12 hours were the hardest, and I'm so glad I wasn't alone.

Even more: I'm so glad I'm still here. Now go be alive!