A Year Later: How Jay’s Accident Shaped Our Year

Yesterday morning we made the call that finally closed the chapter on the accident that helped shape the last year.  In paying the final bill for Jay’s burn care, I hope we can finally move past all the pain associated with the accident and appreciate how much we learned from what happened.

Let me preface this by saying that I strongly dislike the phrase “Everything happens for a reason”.  I do not believe that Jay was burned and suffered great pain for a larger purpose.  That said, I do believe that you always have the opportunity to see the positive in a negative situation and to learn from and grow through overcoming pain and struggle.  I am not grateful for Jay having been burned, but I am proud of how we handled the emergency and amazed by all of the ways this negative turned positive.

In the immediate aftermath of the accident we saw an outpouring of support from family and friends and even acquaintances.  The Grostick’s who hosted us in Henderson, Nevada when we left the hotel deserve a special shout out!  Thank you so much to everyone who sent a kind word or showed your support.  It really meant a lot to us, especially to me as I sat with Jay (who was zonked out on pain meds) in the Arizona Charlie’s Hotel and Casino in Vegas overwhelmed at times by the situation.

During Jay’s recovery in Phoenix we had the opportunity to learn about the Overland Expo.  After winning tickets, we attended the 2011 Expo (while Jay was still in burn dressings) and told our story to the event organizers.  Because of that, this year we are attending the 2012 Expo as presenters, sharing our story and hoping to convince other couples of the importance of having both partners know first aid and four wheel driving.  We also made so many great connections at the Expo that led us to volunteer with the Muskoka Foundation and be featured on Drive the Americas.

That evacuation was one of my first times driving on a four wheel drive road.  No pressure!  When we got back on the road, we realized the importance of teaching me how to drive off road.  Over the course of the year I had lots of opportunities to practice and I became more comfortable at primitive camping.  This really opened up our options and saved us money on campground fees.  I can’t wait to take a driving course this spring!

Through enduring this emergency, Jay and I were forced to discuss serious issues about what we need to know about each other’s wishes for major medical decisions.  We are more prepared for marriage by having had these conversations.  Since we are not married yet, we also went through the processes of adding one another as someone who has permission to speak to our insurance companies.

Now that all the bills are paid and Jay has only a faint scar, we are able to joke about what happened and celebrate the accomplishment we made in overcoming this challenge.  Last night we celebrated with a bomber of Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp Ale.  Cheers!


15 responses to “A Year Later: How Jay’s Accident Shaped Our Year

  1. It’s so simple to have fun when the world is smiling on you. The real tests in life are keeping it together when it is not. It was after this, that I knew you were truly a couple, ready for marriage and life together. No matter what, you survived this. You will succeed where others… simply quit. My hats off to you both for your love and commitment to each other.

  2. Wow, I think this is the best thing you have ever written, both in terms of writing and in content. I agree completely with what Morgan wrote. When I first read it (at the theater this evening during intermission) I was writing a different comment in my head, but I just re-read your original post about the accident and it still has the power to give me chills and bring me down. I’m sorry you two had to experience it, specially you, Jay, but it has made you both so much stronger and united. Lots of love to you both.

  3. I agree that this is the best thing you have written — it’s simple, yet profound. It shows the great amount of love and respect between you and Jay and your ability to work as a team no matter what life brings you. And I love your perspective of looking for something positive or a learning experience in all situations. You and Jay are a wonderful example and I’m so proud of both of you!

  4. Loved this post as I agree with your philosophy that there is always a positive way to look at something. I am sorry you all had to go through all this, but like you said, it will make your marriage stronger and you now know you can get through anything.

  5. Wow, I’m overwhelmed by what nice comments everyone has made. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and support, it really means a lot to us both.

  6. I was amazed at how you quickly developed the required nursing skills and found the fortitude to do all the dressing changes. You brought all of your skills and emotional strength to every part of the healing process.

  7. I was thinking about this and remembered what an amazing job Jay did of just staying in the moment, being a patient patient as he got through the pain of the early days of the injury. While he is lucky to heal quickly, his inner strength was a big part of this too. You were writing partly about teamwork and you each did your parts superbly.

  8. Ok now Im gonna be silly and ask if you were referencing jays scar as his tramp stamp with your beer choice.

  9. I’m excited to not be the only one so enthusiastic about this post! All my other regular blogs tend to be philosophical/religious, so I love that this was so personal and about your thoughts and reactions instead of just ‘what happened.’ It made me reflect that am thankful for faith that teaches that there is goodness in suffering, that I can offer up my suffering in a prayer and take away some of the suffering of someone else. Couldn’t go through natural childbirth without my list of people and causes for which I would willingly feel such pain!

  10. I am touched by reading and re-reading your post. The seriousness of the accident brought both of you to very serious and mature discussions about your present and your future. You have solidified your connection to each other in part by addressing the issues related to major medical decisions. As soon as it is reasonably possible, you should do each other a favor and affirm those decisions by way of advanced medical directives and other legal documents. I have the utmost respect for you both.

  11. I knew I saved this for a reason, which turned out to be that I absolutely needed affirmation that true love and connection exists in the world! Thanks for such an intimate sharing with your fans, “June roomie”

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