Exactly a year ago, we had a lot of things going on as a family. It was mid-August, to be exact August 17th, 2016. Today was the day when we had to drop off school supplies at the school, meet my son’s new teacher, and school starting tomorrow. I was teaching Zumba the next day, my son was going to have his canines extracted the following week, and my mom was visiting from Peru.
It was a regular Wednesday, as many Wednesdays we had had during that summer. I remember my mom and son watching a movie in the living room. I was in the dining room trying to get a hold of my husband to remind him that he needed to be at home at 6 o’clock. That day he made the decision to work from the library and was going to leave around 5.30pm.
Around 5.30pm, I started to call my husband to his cell phone; minutes later I felt a sharp pain in my ribs. “What was that?” I asked myself. I was upset that he did not answer his phone, but that might be because he was riding his bicycle. 6pm was near, and he was not home. I started to get frustrated because he knew punctuality is important to me. Right after 6pm, I started to call and call numerous times, not just because I was upset, but because he knew he had to be at 6 at home. I started to have a weird feeling.
At 6.15pm, I finally saw my husband’s photo on my phone on an incoming call. I answered right away, but the voice I heard was not his. My heart dropped, and I knew something was wrong.
“Are you Mary Siddall?”
“I am a nurse at Littleton Hospital. Your husband had an accident while riding his bicycle against a car.”
In that moment, I literally felt that I was going into another dimension of my own self. I knew I had to stay calm, so I used every single tool I knew to stay still. My mom, who was in the living room with my son, noticed the phone call. I gave her a look: “Yes, something is going on.” I just had a few seconds to react.
“How bad is it?”
“Ma’am, I can’t say. They are checking him.” The nurse gave me the emergency room number my husband was in and we hang up.
I automatically told my mom that I needed to go. I told my son that daddy fell from his bicycle, and with just a look my mom knew she was in charge of the household for who knew how long. I grabbed my keys, got in the car and breathed, telling myself: “Mary drive carefully. We don’t need two people in the hospital.” While driving I prayed, and I knew this was a huge test that the universe was giving me. Would I be able to pass it?
I parked at the hospital, a place I pass almost every day near my house. The hospital that we always put as a chosen hospital in case of an emergency. It was my husband’s turn to be in it. I walked in and passed security who showed me his room. I couldn’t get in because they were with the x-ray machines, so I stayed out. While waiting I saw a policeman also outside the room.
“Are you here for Justin Siddall?” I asked.
“How bad is it and is it his fault?”
“Yes, it was his fault, and the other car got totaled. You should have seen how it ended.”
After hearing that, I had to breathe again. I had to remember what I do for a living. I had to remember there is a lesson. I had to remember I had to be the good wife. My big concern, believe it or not, is that my husband could be falling into depression after this. As soon as the x-rays were done, I was not allowed in the room until the police talked to him.
“Your wife is outside waiting,” the officer said.
“Uh oh. She is going to yell at me,” Justin replied. In that moment, I knew my husband had a sense of humor and that he was alright mentally.
I was scared to see him, because I had no idea how bad were his wounds. What I saw first scared me a little. He couldn’t move at all as the nurse was stitching a hole he had in his legs and one of his arms was covered in gauze. He had a bruise on his forehead, and I saw his clothes had been cut and had lots of blood. I was grateful he was alive and at the same time I was so angry. “How dare you put me through this?” I thought, that was what my mind was telling him. But I had to play the good wife.
The doctor came to talk to me and informed me that he had 4 ribs broken, one of them went into his lung. Although he had his helmet on, they wanted to check for a concussion and several wounds through his body. The doctor said that we had to wait 24 hours to see how his body would heal. It could happen that he could heal pretty well, or the opposite and that his lungs would collapse, in which case they would have to take him to surgery. Knowing that I had to wait, it was time to let the family know about the accident. I texted everybody and also asked for good vibes from my spiritual groups.
My husband finally was passed to his own room. We got our first visitors, my father-in-law and his wife and a pastor friend that came to pray. I decided not to stay; it was time to get back home. I was so grateful to have my mom visiting because I had been gone for hours, and she just knew as a good grandmother what to do. No need for instructions, and I knew she would be in charge of everything.
I didn’t know how to feel. I just remember feeling that everything was in pause. How from one second to the other things can change, making you see that everything that you were busy for and prioritizing for is no longer a priority. I was aware that things were not going to be the same, but I chose to keep as much as I could the same. So my son went to his first day of school the next day. I burst into tears every time someone would ask me how I was doing.
When I told the story, I was surprised as to how many people got to see the accident the day before. It was interesting to see how people reacted when I told them what happened. Some of them wanted to know if he had a helmet, others whose fault it was, others were judgmental and criticized my husband, and others just offered a helping hand. What people didn’t know is that I had those same questions and judgments.
Doctors limited visitors, but lots of people went to the hospital. The most interesting thing is that my closest friends just texted me to see how everything was, and others just showed up at the hospital and at home.
I am grateful for how everything unfolded. I needed my friends to come support me, and I also needed them to keep their distance; I got what I needed from all of them at the right time and place. Some of them made decisions for me and organized my home, and I am glad they did because I did not have the mindset for that.
My husband stayed 5 days at the hospital, and I realized how strong he is when it comes to pain. He was healthy, so his recuperation was very quick. Well I thought that the worst part was over, but I was wrong. Having him at home was the most difficult part of this journey. I met this new husband who was stronger than his pain, stubborn as a bull. And that did not go well with an over-protective wife who adored him.
I was not happy; I was kind of depressed, but I had to be strong. When I couldn’t deal with that, I would go visit someone and vent. I remember my bad thoughts came quite often. I went to a hot tub with a friend and told her that I think losing my husband would have been easier than taking care of him. I am grateful for those people that just let me say and be without judgment whatsoever, and I just needed an ear. I had to be strong for my husband, my son and my mom too. My mom was getting ready to leave, and we were heading back to a reality of a family of three.
The worst came later. We both got lots of feelings of guilt. We fought quite a bit. I journaled like crazy. I needed to get all my thoughts out so they didn’t poison me. Everybody texted, called, and emailed how Justin was doing. But not many asked how I was doing. I questioned myself if I was a good wife thousands of time. I apologized to him for not being the typical wife and quite often I would tell him he deserved someone better. I hated him. I was angry at the situation, but I also was aware that was temporary. But for how long was the temporary, I would ask myself.
I hit bottom. I was tired of being a wife. I was tired of suffering because he was careless just one time. We stopped eating, we stopped talking, and I was not willing to suffer again for my husband, because the reality is that there are no guarantees that another accident would not happen. So I went ahead and started thinking that my life would be better without him and that maybe it was my time to let him go.
As terrible as that sounds (and many of you must be judging me), thinking that way gave me peace. My control issues were becoming worse, and I was suffocating in myself. We had a cruise coming up, and I told my husband to go on it with my son and that I would be okay staying. I told him that I wanted the divorce and that I would leave so he really didn’t have to deal with anything and that I would come visit every day. I told him that I loved him so much but that I could not live on the edge.
The first thing I did was to find a job so I could be ready to be alone. I met with a divorce lawyer to see what financially I could expect from my husband and what not. I came back home and told him exactly how much he needed to give me if we proceed. In order to survive the everyday life, we contacted the best counselor we ever had. He had to deal with us, probably a picture he had never seen before in us. But he said something: “I still see love, which now it looks like pain.” I asked myself then what I ask my life coaching clients: “Are you doing this based on love or fear?” And my own answer was fear. I loved him so much that I preferred to have him away from me just in case something else happened.
We both were hurt and knew we needed help. Our wonderful friend/therapist/pastor did an amazing job getting us ready for the cruise. Every time we left his office, we could breathe and talk again. We knew we were having our worst experience as a married couple. We have been married for 14 years, and this was the worst for us. It was not solved, but we were aware and ready to have fun away from home.
Our vacation to Disney World and the cruise was amazing. It was like a big stopping point between pain and anger. We did great there. When we came back, we were ready to go full speed to save our marriage. We read books together, we went to a therapist from November 2016 until a month ago. We develop strategies. We used all the tools we had to make this work. We knew our fears came from the past way before we met each other, so going deep from the inside out was really great.
If you ask my husband, he would say the accident was a blessing; if you ask me I would say it was a curse. We all know life is full of experiences; it depends on us as to how we face them. There is no right or wrong way; we are all different. My story was of a happy ending; I also know other people that did not have it that way. I am aware I can’t control life. We still deal with the aftermath after a year, but we are dealing with it as a team.
Without that incident, I might not be a life coach. This experience pushed me very hard, and I was willing to make my dream come true. Without the accident, would that have happened? I will never know, but it is okay. After a year exactly, we are doing very well, still working on us, grateful for our son that was a trooper being with us through this roller coaster, my mom who held the castle while it was going down, for my friends who stayed with me and those that kept their distance, and for the family who was always there.
The universe works in very interesting ways to make you be yourTrueSelf.