Guilt consumes you. It has no mercy. It doesn’t wait for an empty moment to strike. It takes over every thought and fills it with regret and an overwhelming sensation of loss. What’s worse is that no amount of guilt can change the past. No amount of brooding, depression, or victimization will change what happened. You have to weed out your guilt and just deal with it!
It’s difficult to let go of our life before the accident. Or how our future would have played out if this accident didn’t befall us like a meteor. My physical therapist at UW Madison, Katie, suggested the book “Where is the mango princess” by Cathy Crimmins, to help me understand the gravity of what has happened. A beautifully written book about their journey back from brain injury. Her husband suffered from quite the similar injuries as Jitish’s. She spoke of the trauma in terms of a meteor, taking your loved one down into the crater with it. As family, You have a few choices; to go down with the meteor yourselves (Guilt would love that). Or figure a way to get him out and jump across the crater. Start a new life. Halfway down the book, her husband woke up. And I was done reading! I couldn’t read any further. I was looking at my husband, staring into the numerous wires and pipes and IVs surrounding him. A ventricular drain to relieve the pressure in his brain. A PIC line to get medicines straight near his heart. Pipes to drain fluid from his lungs. He was still in a Pento Barbital coma! I couldn’t read the book any further until he got up!
I am guilty. Of not being able to save us from the accident that day. Maybe I could have gone to the loo before I left? Or called my sister? Or stayed at home and finished packing? So many small things could have been done. That would have thrown time off by a few minutes. The could have been enough. Or not. We could have taken a right turn earlier? Or headed toward a whole other direction? Maybe gone out for our Sunday dessert craving instead? Damn the sugar free diet!
Am I guilty of not stopping him from getting a motorcycle? No. Absolutely not. If you knew Jitish even a bit, saying no to a motorcycle would just be hurtful. He has bee the safest, most responsible guy I have known. Across the board. He didn’t let me sit on the motorcycle until I got a helmet. Not even a spin around the parking lot. We had just got a helmet a day before the accident. Damn it.
But, There is nothing I can do now.
Focus on the now. What has happened, happened. Now dedication, patience and prayers can shape the future. And that’s where all our energy should be deployed. On getting things done! I am secondary. We are secondary. Jitish is the goal. I fight for his 100 percent!
Guilt didn’t stop visiting. I feel guilty of what happened. And what continues to happen. To him. To me. To our families.
It isn’t just our lives that have been affected. But we took down our families with us. Instead of taking care of our 60/70 year old parents, I find them helping us through this trying time. Instead of a vacation in the U.S., it’s one traumatic episode after another. From hotels to hospitals. Waking up at 5am to cook, clean and drive to hospital. We stay from 8am to 8pm or even longer. Hopefully we can give our parents that vacation some day in the future.
But right now, single minded focus on him. Guilt can’t have any room. Nothing and nobody gets my attention. They don’t help Jitish.
Eyes on the goal.