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.)



  1. Hi Mo! You don't know me, but I happened upon your blog while searching for mormon missionary blogs for BYU Special Collections and just want to say that you are a inspiration. Your story includes some very difficult circumstances that not many people can understand, but you seem to be handling it really well. You don't have to pretend that everything is dandy, and you shouldn't have to, so I'm glad you're sharing your true feelings about the accident. I can't imagine what it's like to be in your shoes, but you have a special opportunity to help others because of what you've been through. I wish you well and can't wait to read the other parts to being Mo. Keep your chin up and stand tall. Although you've gone through tremendous pain both physically and emotionally, you've been blessed. The Lord is certainly watching over you and preserved your life for a reason. You are a special soul. Thank you for sharing something that is so personal to you for the world to read. I'm glad I was able to learn about your story. Let that light of yours keep on shining! =)

  2. There are no words to describe what it is you have been inflicted with, and the extent of which you have had to suffer through it. Still, it's nice that you are facing it head-on, and living your life as you see fit. Ultimately, I hope the weight of this situation is lessened, and that you’re surrounded by wonderful people that understand and care for you. Take care!

    Sabrina Craig @ Medical Attorney NY

  3. Good morning, how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because through them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately, it is impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are very small countries with very few population, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this, I would ask you one small favor:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from French Polynesia? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in French Polynesia in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
    28902 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally, I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez


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