You Gave Me the Life I Was Destined to Have
David A. Grant
Donna O’Donnell Figurski
I’ve been thinking about you again and wondering how life has been treating you.
Last night, Sarah and I were at the high school. We went to watch fireworks.
Like we do most every year, we set up our blanket, then walked the oval track for a couple of laps. It’s a great place to people-watch.
The bleachers caught my eye as I looked up to one of the top rows – to where I was sitting when I saw you graduate.
You had no idea I was there at your graduation. How could you?
Except for the day we met shortly after the accident, we’ve not seen each other.
One of our own kids graduated the same day that you did. It was just another of those “chance meetings” that have too often come to pass.
I never expected to hear your name on the loudspeaker that graduation day.
Nor did I know how deeply my PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) ran as I fell into my seat, unable to even stand for the rest of the ceremony.
A while back, I wrote that if I had the chance, I might just thank you for changing the very course of my life.
Today, I would most likely not thank you.
But I need to be very clear, I am not angry, nor do I hold any resentment. To hold bitterness in my heart is to allow myself to be run over again and again – every day that I breathe.
Life is just too short.
Sometimes things just happen.
Sometimes newly-licensed teenage drivers run over cyclists. We both know that better than most.
It’s a safe bet to say that you did not plan your day by saying, “By today’s end, I’ll have T-boned a local cyclist.”
It’s weird and hard to put into words – even for a guy like me, but I am living the life I was destined to live.
You just played a small, rather impactful part.
Kind of like a long line of falling dominoes, you knocked over the first domino when you struck me that cold November day back in 2010.
And from there, that line of dominoes has continued to fall. It’s circled the globe a few times … and, one-by-one, the dominoes fall.
While I can’t thank you for hitting me that fated day, I can now see that it was unavoidable. It was destined to happen.
Over the years, I have come to realize that I have lost my life. I spend a lot of time living for others.
A few years ago, I was able to find you on Facebook. You were in college then.
Lest we forget, you were only sixteen when we first met.
You looked like a typical college kid – happy, clean cut, smiling … ready to embrace your future and all the promise that it holds.
I looked for you again today. Not in a creepy kind of way – more so, just to see how you are.
After a few minutes, I gave up. You were nowhere to be found.
I suppose that’s best.
You most likely don’t wonder about “that guy” that you hit while you were still a kid, but occasionally he thinks about you.
I have no need to forgive you as I never condemned you. Funny how that works.
If Fate saw our paths cross again, I would most likely not let you know who I was. No greater good would be served by it.
But here, in the faux anonymity that comes with today’s world, I wish you well … and I wish you happiness.
About David A. Grant
David A. Grant is a freelance writer, keynote speaker and traumatic brain injury survivor based out of southern New Hampshire. He is the author of “Metamorphosis, Surviving Brain Injury,” a book that chronicles in exquisite detail the first year-and-a-half of his new life as a brain injury survivor. His newest title, “Slices of Life after Traumatic Brain Injury,” was released in 2015.
David is also a contributing author to “Chicken Soup for the Soul, Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries.” As a survivor of a cycling accident in 2010, he shares his experience and hope though advocacy work including a public speaking as well as his weekly brain injury blog.
David is a regular contributing writer to Brainline.org, a PBS sponsored website. He is also a BIANH board member as well as a columnist in HEADWAY, the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire’s periodic newsletter.
David is the founder of TBI Hope and Inspiration, a Facebook community with over 15,000 members including survivors, family members, caregivers as well as members of the medical and professional community as well as the publisher of “TBI Hope and Inspiration Magazine.”
Thank you, David A. Grant.
Any views and opinions of the Guest Blogger are purely his/her own.
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(Photos compliments of David A. Grant.)
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