It finally happened: The anniversary of Husband Carl’s horse accident on July 15 passed without notice. 

Seriously, I didn’t pause for even a moment two weeks ago to reflect on the day that so changed our lives. I think it might be a milestone.

Or, could it be that every day in this post-accident life is, in effect, an anniversary? It’s hard not to be reminded when each day’s goings-on reflect the spinal cord injury of July 15, 2005.

There’s the power wheelchair because Carl can’t walk and the indwelling catheter because he can’t pee. There’s an enema every night since his bowels barely work. There’s the fingerless glove that Carl wears on his left hand to manage the “phantom pain” from a limb that has no function at all.

And I’ve lost count of the episodes of extremely high blood pressure that have sent us to the nearest ER.

There are the Maxi-Slides (“slick sheets” constructed from parachute material) that make it easy to move Carl from side to side in his special air-filled bed. There’s the ceiling lift that raises and moves him from the bed into his chair. There’s our van with a foldout ramp – and so much more.

Lots of daily reminders …

If truth be told, there are fewer and fewer instances when the events of July 15, 2005, meander through my head like Fishhawk Creek – the place Carl was headed that day. But, when they do, I’m still baffled by the parts and pieces of the story.

For one thing, how can an innocuous day of fishing outside Yellowstone end up with so much drama and trauma? With a tame trail and trustworthy horses, there was nothing about that lazy day that would portend the events happening a mere 20 minutes after the horses were saddled.

I’m guessing the whole accident felt like hours to Carl. In reality, 60 seconds is probably all the time needed for the trail to give way, and Carl and his horse to bounce down 300 feet of forested, rocky terrain, stopping only when the back of his neck smacked a log.

So much for walking again.

“What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be,” wrote that millennial philosopher Pinterest. 

I think with adversity comes disbelief, that “I can’t believe this happened; what do I do now?”

Some write songs. When his wife-to-be died the day before their wedding in 1845, Joseph Scriven wrote one of the most famous hymns ever, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Horatio Spafford lost his four daughters in an 1876 collision at sea and wrote another gospel classic, “It is Well with My Soul.” And contemporary songster Eric Clapton wrote “Tears in Heaven” upon the accidental death of his four-year-old son who fell from a window 53 stories high.

Some philosophize. “Bad things do happen…,” wrote artist-writer Walter Anderson (1903-1965). “I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.”

And what do I do? As is my habit, I’ve borrowed my tenet from French philosopher Albert Camus (1913-1960) who wrote, “Sometimes, carrying on, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement.”

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