This is going to start out as a confusing story. But stick with me for a minute. I have a point…I promise.
Awhile back I found myself in the annoying situation of having lost my driver’s license. I reasoned with myself that it really wasn’t that big of a deal…I was due to renew next month anyway. But, as you all know, any time you find yourself sitting in the uncomfortable plastic chairs at the DMV, clutching your number like it’s the key to heaven…well, it’s a minor irritation.
Of course, I found my driver’s license the day that the new one arrived. Not thinking twice about it, I just threw my old one right next to my new one. Besides the obvious difference of a few pounds and a different haircut, they looked pretty much the same (although I think my skin looks better in the new one…BONUS!).
And then I really looked. And I saw it.
That young woman in the old picture didn’t know what was getting ready to happen. She had no idea that just a couple of years after that picture was taken, her life would change and she would never be the same. The information on the new and old cards were the same…same address, same height, always an organ donor. But the woman was completely different.
The new one had a smile that said she was happy, but didn’t quite reach her eyes. Something said she had lived through an experience she shouldn’t have for a long time. There was a little more worry. A little more sadness. And still a little bit of disbelief.
I find myself looking at old pictures a lot around this time of year. I’ve been doing that since the first anniversary of my husband’s death. I especially look at pictures from the two months before he died. Now, my husband’s death was sudden and very unexpected, but for some reason I look at these pictures as if they’ll have an answer. I look at them and wonder how we could not have known that something so catastrophic was getting ready to happen. How could we have spent the 4th of July with family, blissfully happy and not know that this monster was waiting for us just around the corner.
My therapist has said that this sort of thing is normal. And I can’t tell you how relieved I am to hear at least one of the things I’m doing is normal. But it still feels odd to be begging for an answer from my 31 year old self three years later. I know there was no reason for it. I know it was a random accident that could have happened to anyone.
But I’m still waiting for that girl to give me an answer.
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© Catherine Tidd 2010