How life can change in an instant: motor vehicle accident
Time just seems to be flying by recently. I know I have not written a post in a few weeks and I do apologize for that. I am normally more active than I have been in the past weeks. But I do have an excuse…..A little less than 2 weeks ago, I was in a car accident. For those on this site’s Facebook page, thank you for your support 🙂 The recovery has been harder than I thought and I am slowly getting there. The goal of this article is to share my experience of this accident but most importantly the advice that was given to me. How to use the traditional way of healing. Because that’s what I am about. How to heal using the way of our ancestors. Yes, I am fully aware it is highly improbable that any of them ever got into a car accident but bear with me….
So it was a day just like any other day
Indeed, I was driving from one office to the next (I supervise 5 offices) and had just let my staff know that I was on my way and arriving soon. Until I did not. I had a green light and I was cruising by listening to my pow wow music. Then a car on a cross street decided to forgo the stop sign and just cross the street I was on as I was arriving at the intersection. I hit the side of his minivan head on going at 60km/h (37m/h). It just happens so fast that you do not even have time to react. You just don’t. His car went flying and landed in the opposite direction lanes. My car blocking those same lanes. My airbag was deployed and my car just stopped working. At that point, I became very rational (what adrenaline can do…). I knew I had to get out of my car and get my things out (I was carrying work files in the car). So I just walked out, shocking anyone around my car. I remember taking things out, looking at my hands and seeing that my left hand was hurt. So I thought to myself: I need to take my rings off because my fingers will swell. Again very rational…. and well, in shock…
The rest just went on very fast. A woman came up to me and kept telling me to look at her, grabbing my shoulders as I was taking things out of my car. And I remember thinking: ok touch me one more time or tell me one more time that I am in shock and I will punch you….She might have meant well but I was annoyed.
As you can see from the picture above, medical services attended as well as the police. The paramedics checked me out
but I opted out of going to the hospital, preferring to go see my family doctor. I was lucky enough to have wonderful witnesses who allowed me to use their phone (mine was smashed in the car) to call those whose number I remembered….and who took pictures for me. Once I gave my statement and got their info I left. In a cab to get a new phone and call my insurance company. One of my staff gave me a ride home 3 hours later and I was completely beat. I got home, still in shock, looking at my red knee and the bruises on my breast and hand. And just sat down for a moment, thinking “what the hell just happened”. I live by myself but I am lucky to have good friends who checked up on me all night.
And then the next morning and the following days
I woke up sore but not as bad as I imagined. I was very stiff and sore but I could walk. Nothing was broken. My left hand was hurting (the airbag hit it) but I was managing. The next days were a whirlwind of seeing my doctor, having x rays taken, going to the physio while dealing with the insurance company every day. And working….reduced hours but working.
Every day it seems like something else would pop up. Lower back pain, chest pain, new painful bruises (the ones on my abdomen were the worse), irritability, dizziness or mood swings like I never had. The feeling of being overwhelmed with every single thing. Of wanting to cry every time I was asked to do something else. Of being irritated with everything and everyone. Including myself and my body that just would not do what I wanted it to do. I did not recognize myself. I was not myself. And yes everyone was saying: well you are still in shock, it’s the trauma of the accident. But I felt it was something more.
I was not myself, I was empty
I know it sounds weird, but I truly did not feel like myself. I did not feel like Emily. Everything annoyed me, I was emotional. And most of all, I felt like I was just walking around, going through the motions, numb. I felt like a shell walking around, disconnected. Normally, out of habit, every time someone asks me how I am, I say “I am okay”. But this time, I was not. And I started saying it aloud. I was not okay. I felt like I had lost myself with the crash. I was just roaming aimlessly. And I could not handle anything, and felt like everything was spiraling out of control.
And then things changed
It came to a point where everything would make me cry. I cannot deal with anything. Most of all, my partner’s attitude. Because I felt like he was avoiding me. Even though I kept saying “I need a hug” over and over again to him. So about a week after the accident, following a hunch, I asked him: “has anything changed with the accident? Is there something more intense around me?” To which he answered “yes”. My partner is a gifted Native man who sees and feels things that many cannot. So I knew there was something and that he would be able to tell me. So I asked “what is it”. His answer troubled me but also made so much sense. He said: “sweetie you are not going to like it. But you need to go back to the scene of the accident. You need to put tobacco down and pray for your spirit to come back”.
Ahhhhhh! Because you see, when you go through physical trauma like that, it can happen that your spirit leaves your body. And it then roams aimlessly until it finds your body again. And that’s what had happened. I just knew he was right. I felt so empty. So I thanked him and did just that.
The next day I went back to the scene of the accident, where some remains of my car were still on the road. I took the tobacco I always carry in my purse and put some down where those remains were. I also sat down on the curb where I had talked to the police officer and put more tobacco down on the grass. And I prayed. I prayed for my spirit to come back home, to find its way to my body before it is too late. So that I could be whole again. I sat there for 10 minutes just praying touching the tobacco. And then went on about my day and smudged at night like I do every night, thanking the Creator for the protection and strength he had given me.
And I was Emily again
I woke up the next day and, as cliche as it might sound, I felt like myself again. I did not feel empty anymore. Yes the pain, the soreness and the bruises were still there. But little by little I felt more whole. I needed to put tobacco down and pray. Because we have to remember that what we do affects those around us and the future generations. If I had not done that, I truly believe I would have just felt more empty every day, more irritable and angry every day. And it might also have affected my loved ones and my future generations. Sometimes, the effect is not in your life but it will be in the life of a loved one, might they be alive or not born yet. The situation needed to be corrected. For life to take its course.
Life can be a roller coaster and life can change in an instant. It did for me. But we have to remember where we come from. We have to remember the teachings and the ways of healing. I am very thankful and grateful to be here today with nothing broken. I am surrounded by loved ones (even if some are far away) and I am me again. And that is priceless.
My doctor recommended I go in the sauna every day. Which I have been doing and it has been helping. I am building up to the sweat I have in a month. At the moment, I would not be able to sit in the same spot for 3 hours. But I know the heat and the healing of the lodge would help me. And it will be healing when I go. In the meantime, I am using the “modern version” of the sweat, a sauna. To get rid of the toxins, to relax my muscles and my mind. And attending sweats and continuing to smudge and pray every day are part of my healing plan. I smudged my whole house very thoroughly after the accident, pushing out what needed to be pushed out. And that helped too. As well as all the herbs and plants we can use, such as arnica, which truly helps with bruises and inflammation. Nothing fancy, just the traditional ways.
Anyone ever had a similar experience? Whether it was a car accident or your spirit leaving your body? Share your thoughts, your feelings or experiences below 🙂