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Accidents, Friends and the Big 6-5

Updated: Aug 12, 2022

Today is my friend Susan’s 65th birthday and because of that, I feel like I want to share a little about this wonderful lady. To tell you about Susan, I first need to tell you how we met and became friends.

In the summer of 2015, I noticed that this beautiful older woman had purchased the house across the street from me. I didn’t really have the chance to speak with her much and we would politely pass each other most days on the street while we would be walking our dogs. My Lolabear is a tiny Shih tzu mix breed and her Murray, a beautiful Irish Terrier with a fiery red coat of fur. We would exchange pleasantries, but I can’t say I was overly friendly (nor rude), as those days I was pretty much in my own bubble of bliss.

I would say that at that time I was doing well in life. Three years earlier I had reconnected with a former beau after 5 years of being apart and when we got back together everything seemed to just fit. I was in love with a good man, had a good job and we were making plans for a life together. You know…marriage, kids, pay off our house, do a bit of traveling. We were youngish and in love.

In September 2015, things changed suddenly. While driving to work one morning, we were stopped in traffic at a red light when we were suddenly struck from behind by a large truck. The driver stated he didn’t even see us stopped in our little 2 door car. The chaos that came from this accident sent many different ripples into effect and resulted in many different changes in all areas of my life. Both myself and my boyfriend has sustained significant injuries. I was taken to the hospital with a head injury via ambulance and was eventually released to go home with instructions on how to manage a concussion.

The following couple of months my boyfriend and I had a drastic change in our lifestyle, as we went from happy and healthy to miserable and in constant pain. We spent countless hours going to physiotherapy, doctor’s appointments and for me, this included being diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) on top of the physical issues. I couldn’t walk straight. I couldn’t form a full sentence, which for me was unimaginable as I always have something to say. (LOL) I became angry and a little aggressive. I had a migraine most days and all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and cry, which is what I did do most days.

Anyone who has experienced any sort of injury, whether physical or mental that knocks you on your ass, knows what I am talking about. Now add into the mix the fact that your partner is injured as well. They are in pain. They are suffering too and you can’t help yourself, let alone someone else. That was the hell I was living in. Plus, my personality changed. I would have bursts of anger, or sadness and just want to be left alone. I think my saving grace was my little Lolabear who needed to be fed, walked and cared for every day. She got me out of bed and out the door. And she cuddled me and licked my tears away when I was frustrated or in pain, which was a lot.

It was around this time that Susan showed up at my door with her dog Murray and a dessert. She had heard that I had been in an accident and wanted to drop off something and offer her assistance. That was the beginning of our friendship. Not long after we started meeting up to walk our dogs together and chat. It didn’t matter that she is over 20 years older than me, nor did it matter that I would have bad days where I didn’t say a word as we walked. She would just listen or carry the conversation when needed. As I continued healing my physical and mental injuries, I would share with her my ups and downs and she would listen and give advice when needed.

She came into my life when I needed a friend more than anything else. I had a loving family that would check in on me and help get me to appointments if needed. I had my boyfriend, who was gradually pulling away due to many things, including his own pain and frustrations. I had a few friends who I could chat to, but they had their own lives. They had kids and jobs and their own husbands to care for.

And there was Susan. My first impression of her would be that she is a very well put together business-type woman. Not only is she physically attractive, but she is a strong, independent and loving woman. She, like myself has never been married, nor has she had children. Unlike me, she did not want kids. I on the other hand have always wanted a big family, but as the years have passed, have come to accept that perhaps that is not what life has planned for me…you never know. Since forming this friendship with Susan, I have found myself accepting more about myself than I previously had. I have found more “gumption” for lack of a better word. And I like the “new Jenny.”

The interesting part is that Susan never knew the “old Jenny” and she still loves me. I could change and still be wanted and loved. I can’t say the same for some of the relationships I have lost or have seen diminish the past 7 years since the accident. I do not blame anyone or anything for this and after much counseling and therapy, I have come to accept that there is no turning back. There is now. Take it or leave it. I can do this.

I am sure I could write a book solely about my journey from car accident to today, but I will save some of those stories for another day. Today I wanted to share a bit about my friend and to say how grateful I am for her and the change she has made in my life. She is part of the reason I am here today. She has encouraged me to seek help when needed and to be honest with myself and others about my limits. She has provided me more amazing desserts than any woman should ever consume and she does so because that is one of the ways she shows love. (And who doesn’t love a homemade apple spice cake. OMG!!) She has seen me through a car accident, years of different therapies, the death of a brother, the death of my dad, a mental breakdown and the loss of a job, relationships and friends. And she has done this all without asking for anything from me, other than my friendship.

That is love. That is acceptance. And I am so glad that I have her in my life not only as an example of how to be a strong woman, but also how to step up and change someone’s life for the better. Everyone needs a Susan in their life. Happy Birthday Gorgeous!

Much Love

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