Thursday, April 2, 2015

To Be Mo Part 1

(Pre-accident. April 2012)

I know I am going to have to talk about this sometime or another.  These are my real, only slightly censored, thoughts.  There is no point in sugar-coating things, it's time to be real.  This past year has been a huge struggle. This is part one of a three part series of my personal account of my accident. Here we go. 

I have struggled with how to talk about my lovely accident and the effect it has on me.  Even that last sentence makes light of the terrible thing that happened to me, "lovely accident."  I down-play all of the details, and the fact I was hit by a car. I want to live as if I have never been hit by a car, as if a man had never decided to drink, get in his utility van, unknowingly hit a 19-year-old girl and drive off leaving her there to die.  I want to live like that day never happened. 

I tried to do just that. 

Tried.  That's the keyword here.  I can pretend all I want, but I cannot live a lie.  I cannot sit there and say this food is delicious anymore when I cannot taste or smell it.  This is where a slight personality problem comes in, I like to make people happy and one of the best ways to make someone happy is to compliment their cooking.  I could be fed dead rat and would tell them it tasted delicious because I wouldn't be able to tell a difference between that and prime rib.  I cannot smile and and talk about "the good 'ol times" I had with my friends in high school anymore.  Those memories are long gone. 

But I do. 

I have found that I sometimes pretend to remember something in order to avoid an awkward "I was hit by a car" conversation.  I conjure fake memories in order to avoid it.  Example:  Me out loud: "Yes! I remember that one time when we all went to so-and-so's house and ate five gallons of ice cream."  In my head:  Who in the world is so-and-so?  Why did we eat five gallons of ice cream with this person?  Where does this person live?

But now I am done pretending.

 February's issue of the National Geographic is pure gold. There's a very large article entitled "Healing Our Soldiers."  I looked at the cover, opened it up to see what it was all about, and it's about traumatic brain injuries. I love a quote from Army Staff Sergeant Perry Hopman, who sustained a traumatic brain injury.  He said, "I know my name, but I don't know the man who use to back up that name."  

(At the hospital with my sisters. January 2014)

I am Morgan.  But what does that mean? 

This has been the most difficult part of my injuries.  I sometimes wish I would have lost an arm or a leg.  That's an injury that people can see and recognize.  With my injuries, people cannot immediately recognize I have a traumatic brain injury.  They are offended when I do not remember their name or other facts our incredible brain remembers. . The facts we do not realize we remember so easily. I am sorry, I know you have told me the name of your sister's brother-in-law's cousin's hairdresser's dog five hundred times, but it is not going to stay in this brain of mine. Okay, that was an extreme example. Here's a better example:  One night I was with the sisters in my house, I was the only one who could drive, we were leaving the hospital.  Our Mission Mother/Mission Nurse told me to drive to the pharmacy.  I drive home and completely forget that I was supposed to stop at the pharmacy after I unlocked the door.  Twenty minutes later I get a phone call, "Did you get lost?"  "Lost? No."  "Where are you?"  "At our apartment?"  "Oh, the pharmacy closes in ten minutes."  I had completely forgotten in the 5 minutes it takes me to drive home and drop the sisters off at the house.

I got in the car, made it to the pharmacy, and sat there and cried because I was so embarrassed and ashamed. 

  For one to understand what I go through on a daily basis, they would have to experience the exact same situation.  They can read my blog posts, they can read the chapters of my book, but they will never fully understand or realize how devastating this accident is to me.  If I were injured like that, if I lost a leg, I would still know who I was. I would know what it means to be Morgan.  Today is the day I put this lovely accident behind me.  I am just another average 21-year-old girl.  As much as that kills me to say "average" I will because I am alive and am grateful for that. 

When I opened my mission call in 2012 and was scared to death to speak Tahitian, I read a quote by Richard G Scott, personalized it, now it is my constant reminder of WHY I am who I am now: 

Heavenly Father did not put me here on Earth to fail, but to succeed gloriously.

I am reinventing myself. 
I am Mo.

(Soeur Taylor, we are taking a picture!  Um.. Okay!  That's how life is, you just have to go with it. December 2014.)


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