Life changed in a split second for me. A stranger took control over by body and I don’t think she is leaving. Ive learned the familiar old me isn’t returning so I have had to try to make peace with this “stranger”. It’s extremely difficult because this stranger knows nothing. She’s like a baby. She has to relearn language, how to eat, how to swallow, dress herself, walk, read, speak.. Gosh it’s tiring. I’m held hostage by a baby. I know what needs to be done but for some reason my voice isn’t heard. I’m just trapped in this tiny little space and have to watch everything happen. How did this happen to me? How was my body/mind high jacked?
Nothing makes sense anymore. It seems that everyone demands so much from me. I’m constantly being told remember this, do this, lift this, tell me what happened, don’t lay your head down that’s a sign of weakness. But what they don’t understand is my head is so heavy, it’s so painful to stay awake and focused. Would it really be that “weak” to lay my head down for a second and take a break? There’s one of two ways this story could go.. Do I forfeit my tiny space and completely lose the old me? Or do I learn to befriend and teach this baby how to live and function through life? Well I choose the latter.
The Kaylen Woosley friends and family knew for 23 years is still here (kind of) but she has changed. The Kaylen Woosley of today, who has befriended the stranger within, has some of the same personality traits and life goals but she is SO much stronger, caring and just better in almost every way than the old version. I mourned my old familiar self during my first awakening from my walking coma. I mourned my old life and memories. It is probably one of the strangest feelings to wake up and be an alien inside your own body. To look at pictures from before the wreck and have no idea who that girl is in them. To look at yourself in the mirror and feel as if two people are looking back at you. To have two voices inside your head, the dominant voice being the stranger and having no idea who is in the reflection but then there is a very soft faint voice saying “it’s me its me. I’m still here. I survived.”
The mourning process was quite hard for me but it also was liberating. The truth set me free. The truth was “I am different. I am a stranger. Kaylen Woosley of 23 years is dead. I have to relearn everything and I have no former memories to go off of. I am blank.” But guess what? During this time life didn’t stop for me just because I was clueless and grieving so I immediately got right back to it. I had to. I had no other choice.
It’s remarkable to think of where/how I am now and then to remember myself back then. I had such an amazing team of therapists to help me and push me towards my final goal of being “normal” again. It’s in these times of reflection I am very proud of myself.
I am proud of what I have conquered. I have been through so much since June 11, 2012 that it’s nice to look back and say “I did it. I achieved what doctors said was impossible.” I think I am finally stepping off my roller coaster of heartache, grief and pain. I am now at a place where peace is a priority and negativity can not exist. I have had to make many hard decisions during my recovery, one of the toughest was to leave friends and loved ones. But while I did the unthinkable and walked away from what I foolishly thought was going to be my future life, I found myself. Don’t get me wrong it was very scary but walking away opened up a world I didn’t know existed. I have now had the chance to figure out what respect tastes like and it tastes amazing.
My heart was ripped wide open to were I didn’t think I could close it but guess what? Miracles happen everyday day. My heart is patched up and beating strong again as if it was brand new. I am open to all possibilities that life has for me. My goal in this new life is to carry the wisdom that my past experiences have given me but to not allow it to weigh me down. I am going to treat each day as if it is a new unique reality that I have yet to encounter and I am going to proudly own my story. I am not going to waste my time running from it or pretending it didn’t happen. I am going to own it and use it to help others on their journey through whatever struggle they are dealing with. I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.