Hey hairballs. I hope you’ve had a lovely Thanksgiving, honoring the lands we’re on, the food we’re provided and the community around us.
Thanksgiving in my house is a happy time – we come together, laughing and sharing, and it feels good. When I was a kid, my parents took us camping and sometimes, we even ended going on Thanksgiving. I have such happy memories of running through the forest on Thanksgiving, helping my Mom baste the turkey, and mashed potatoes (damn straight).
As I’ve grown up, I’ve come to appreciate Thanksgiving day more and more. I love seeing my Dad’s face as the turkey comes out; I love seeing my brother going back for seconds; I love watching Shawn create a mashed potato and gravy volcano; and I love how happy my Mom looks when we all sit down together.
But this Thanksgiving was different.
Friday October 11, 11:05 AM: I’m walking out of my therapist’s office on Eglinton Ave W onto the sidewalk. There’s a lot of construction going on and I have to pass through a construction site to get to the crosswalk. It’s a beautiful day – the sun is shining and I can feel the breeze. The hand tells me not to walk so I put sunglasses on and that’s when it hits me – the dizziness. It’s happening. I can feel it happening and I’m scared. I try to stabilize myself but I can’t see anything. My vision is black. I’m gone.
The next thing I know, someone is lifting me and when I wake up, I’m on the sidewalk surrounded by firefighters and a random woman. I try to get up but they wont let me.
What’s going on?
“Can you tell me your name please?”
“Stay still, we’re calling an ambulance.”
“Do you have a form of ID?”
I reached for my wallet and they searched for my Driver’s License. “What happened?”
“You fell. Do you know what caused it?”
“I have anorexia.”
“When was the last time you ate?
“The ambulance is on it’s way, okay?”
“No, No I’m fine really.”
“Jennifer, you’ve fallen and hit your head. We need to get you to the hospital.”
I reached up to touch the side of my head. My hand was covered in blood. I was covered in blood.
They helped me call my Mom and Shawn – I was in shock and I couldn’t explain what happened. They told me that they were coming to the hospital. All I could think about was how scared my Mom must be and what she must be thinking. The first time I collapsed, she was there. I don’t remember much but I remember my Mom and my brother loading me into her car. I remember her screaming my name, slapping my chest, and burning the words “Not Today” into my mind. I hated myself for putting them through this last time, but this time, I felt a sense of hatred and hopelessness for myself deeper than I’d ever felt before. How could I do this to them again? How could I be so selfish?
So here I am – Thanksgiving Monday – and I have 6 stitches in my head. I’m have bruises all over my shoulders, legs, and arms, and scratches on my face. I’m sore all over. I have horrible tinnitus and a constant pounding headache.
And I’m alive.
I got really lucky.
That “random” woman? She saw me collapse into the busy street and she stopped her car before hitting me.
That “random” woman? She called 9-1-1 and got me help ASAP.
That “random” woman? She waited until the last possible minute to leave just so she could make sure that I was okay and safe.
This year, I’m not thankful for the food on my plate, the house over my head, or the people around me. I’m not focused on the turkey dinner or the pain in my ear. I can only focus on one thing – that “random” woman.
I am thankful for that “random” woman for seeing me.
I’m thankful she stopped her car.
I’m thankful she called 9-1-1.
I’m thankful that she stayed with me until I was safe.
I’m thankful she saved me.
I’m thankful to be alive.