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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Comments on: "SPEAK OUT! Guest Blogger . . . David A. Grant . . . . . . . . . . . . . You Gave Me the Life I Was Destined to Have" (5)
Hi David and Donna, Janice here, you know me. I was T Boned too in 2010. Only I was a passenger and the guy who caused the accident was in a car. He has a very common name so it’s hard to follow or even find him because he’s a 50 something loser. He was underinsured and had nothing we could find financially. I have no idea what happened to him or where he is, but the woman who was in the car had the audacity to try to sue my husband for the accident. She was denied. She went onto graduate from college with a degree in psychology. Really. I don’t share your belief about destiny or that I’m living the life now that I was supposed to have. I was a caring, giving before, and I’m a caring, giving person now. The thing I feel is that in spite of what happened to me, I never lost my faith or my belief that God would take care of me. That’s the story of Job. That’s what it teaches us. Who the Devil uses to try to destroy us is irreverent. The fact that we don’t let it, that is what is important. Glorifying God by not blaming Him for our troubles and proving the Devil a liar by serving God when we lose blessings, that’s what the challenge was. Job proved the Devil wrong. Job is the example to follow. Follow it. Then the blessings come. That’s how I see my existence.
Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your views. As we all know each of us approaches life in different ways and none is necessarily right or wrong. They are just how we view our circumstances.
I like to share all kinds of views on my blog because for sure it will resonate with someone.
Also, I always place a disclaimer at the end of each post to indicate that the views are of the guest and do not necessarily reflect mine.
Again, thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts.
Donna O’Donnell Figurski
WOW WOW WOW!!!!!! It is so amazing to hear all the different stories of us ( the Brain Injured) I like to think I have a great attitude of what happened to me but your’s gets First Prize. It is so beautiful to see what each person makes out of their lives. I wish the BEST to you always. a fellow survivor, Lee Staniland
What lovely thoughts you shared with David! As we all know each brain injury is different. Each person is different. And, each handles his or her BI in the best way possible to accommodate his or her life.
I think you are pretty amazing, too.
Donna O’Donnell Figurski
Lee, if you want to read a ton more stories about people with determination and perseverance, check out “The Resilient Soul,” by Karen Leavitt and published by David Grant.
You can read my story, “The Living Nightmare” on page 132.
Donna O’Donnell Figurski