Accidental Casualty Survivor, Faith, marriage, Uncategorized

“We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are. ~Anais Nin

I have no idea who Anais that quoted this title but it holds so much truth whoever they are!

Topic: Perception: Filters that can be deceivingIMG_3525

There are two sides to the story, there are facts, and thoughts and somewhere depending on our worldview there are perceptions. They can quickly become twisted and misinterpreted. I took this pic after reading some hurtful words, actually hurtful is low balling their true caliber they were low blow words. It happens!

Even people sharing the same life can have different perceptions of situations. I remember the first seven years of marriage very differently then my husband, but we shared space.

If you ask me I will tell you it was utter chaos. We were married young and despite loving people who meant well they knew what we would be up against.

Still finding ourselves…

Working with at-risk youth…

3 babies in under 4 years…

Financially strained…

So I will tell you it was hard, how I cried and struggled at times to see how we would ever make it. Glad I was so very wrong but my vision was jaded. I had suffered some postpartum depression. I was on a hormonal roller coaster between pregnancy and nursing. It.Was. Crazy.

If you ask Chris he would say it was great! Sunshine and roses, we were blessed with 3 babies in 4 years. We were poor but never went without. Our arguments discussions were passion filled and totally normal.

Want to hear a perception that haunts me? When I sat at that stop sign listening to Katy tell me about her volleyball game, my guard was down. I felt safe, nothing seemed urgent or pressed. Quiet. Peaceful.

From my left the approaching motorcyclist saw my car yielding at the stop sign. He, I am certain felt safe enjoying the evening ride shifting gears to climb that hill. He felt safe because from his view I was waiting at the stop sign. (Broken!)

But he wasn’t safe because I did not see him approaching up the hill. I did not hear him, I heard my daughter’s story.

I made myself drive up that hill many times after the accident. I wanted to see what he saw, I wanted to understand. I did not want the hill to have power over me. I wanted if I am being honest maybe for someone to pull out in front of me so I would know this was a dangerous intersection.

Perceptions go both ways and our worldview and how we have previously been hurt can alter or differ from other people we do life with. Both individuals are right in how they feel.

Ever talked with a teenager about why they are grounded, probably a very different view from the parent who took the phone away!

I once told a very close friend, and not just told but argued with him that I did not believe racism still existed. I have never been so wrong in my life! It would take years before the “kneeling protest” that took the blinders off for me. Invisible hate suddenly spewed everywhere. I was heart broken. I was wrong.

I love the cartoon where two people are facing a 6 or a 9 depending on their view. They stand toe to  toe arguing instead of leaning over and chuckling over the fact that they are both right.

So many are hurting or have been hurt and it’s hard to not become callous. Build up walls…

I don’t share to seek attention or pity, I gain nothing except maybe a friend along the way that shares my sorrow. I share with the purpose to educate and I will not apologize for the message that burns in me. It is not for you, I share for me and the one that created me!

XOXO ~Jenn

Galatians 5:13 New International Version (NIV)

Life by the Spirit

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Accidental Casualty Survivor, Faith, Struggles are Real, Uncategorized

Try not to step in “you know what” with your story…

“Don’t step in you-know-what with your testimony”

 

To share or not to share…a personal decision

 

For me personally navigating this road is trial and error. More error! I am a talker always have, I drove my middle school teachers crazy. I will forever try to exercise restraint in taking over conversations and responding before listening. It is a struggle but a vice I strive to change.

 

This quote from my cousin resounds in me. I do in fact have a testimony, many testimonies where I believe God has shown to be faithful. I never want to “one up” or boast in that sense but I sure feel compelled to shout from the mountain tops the love and grace received. Processing grief is different for everyone, some will retreat inward (I did this for a while) some will need to talk it out (I err on that in this moment.) Either way we must respect each individual space, process and terms.

 

A testimony is sacred. A tragedy like an untimely death is certainly not something to be marketed or exploited or become numb to the circumstance. I am broken when I share and I pray it never loses the sting in many ways.

 

Recently I have shared, quite possibly too much. I am an over-share-er (please forgive me) and I am self conscience if I am making my fellow CADIs proud/comforted, am I helping a cause, am I representing Christ in a way that draws someone in or turning them away? These are the questions that swish about in my inner voice.

 

I PRAY that I don’t leave a stench “stepping in IT” as I walk away from sharing. It’s like when someone walks up to join a conversation, and everyone glances over and checks the bottom of their shoe. Who stepped in it??? I won’t know until it is done, and I will either be embraced and helped, or I will hinder…But believe me I will analyze every spoken word and criticize it.

Confession:

My greatest fears are glass in feet, looming doom, and turning someone away from Jesus because I am human and a hypocrite!!! If I am being forthright I also fear judgement that I do anything for my own gain.  How could this story ever be praise worthy? It won’t but the people who carry on despite daily struggle to find new normal, face the guilt, lay down the brokenness and try to make it beautiful. You guys are my hero!

 

I wish not to remain in victim-mentality but move forward changed and a better person. Our community of CADIs/ACS grows daily, it is heart-wrenching. I can’t reach everyone but there are a few people who are committed to this community who want to help each other. It is a beautiful thing to be a small part of something bigger than yourself.

 

Everyone has a unique story that can benefit this world, as much as I am a talker I also love to listen to the different stories. Over-comers! World-changers! Humble and brave people that share their story.

 

For me I revisit my “why” I share because when someone (Johnny) was brave enough to share with me I immediately felt less alone.

I go back to the purpose of sharing, is it to educate about the state of mind, is my focus on sharing hope, did the Lord tell me to? If my purpose is to wallow in self-pitty…I should refrain.

When I mess up or I am insensitive, admit it plainly, ask for forgiveness, make it right as if possible.

 Find your voice! Never lose hope! Show compassion and embrace our differences!!!

Accidental Casualty Survivor, Struggles are Real

Hello my name is Jennifer, a wife, mom to 4, teacher, and an accidental killer…

Woah ya that’s a loaded title. I don’t type it easily, or with pride, but slowly I am also sharing it with a little less shame/guilt, or self -hate. I share to find others, I share to show as my friend and fellow CADI terms, the flip side of a very painful road!

I always loved a great tragedian play, never guessed I would live one. My 2016/2017 in lyric would have been the saddest country song ever sung.

I was involved and responsible for a life-altering, world shattering accident that claimed a man’s life. I joined a club of accidental killers. I actually feel like throwing up each time I type that. I/we prefer the term CADI (Causing Accidental Death or Injury) or ACS (Accidental Casualty Survivor).

Most people do not think of us unless slinging hatred and judgment. Unfortunately, I am guilty of that. I once and I quote said, “If this ever happens to me I would pursue that person to the full extent of the law!” This statement was me talking a bunch of hot judgmental air that really breaks my heart now. I was talking with my mom after we had learned of someone who tragically and unexpectedly lost their husband in a car accident and she was now widowed and raising 4 children alone. The other driver survived and is a CADI. Little did I know that one day I would be on the other end, bringing the worst pain to another family.

How could I ask for or expect grace?

rangergame

I share because maybe someone is struggling to forgive a CADI for an accident that claimed a loved one, I hope my openness helps in some way.

I share because my story may help other CADI/ACS feel less alone.

I share because I now am on a healing journey from anxiety,  panic, and depression.

I share because I was broken, still broken, and plan to make my broken beautiful by not giving up!

This story is in lots of pieces that I will share little by little.

In May of 2017 I stumbled upon a post looking for CADIs to share their stories with a nationally published journalist, I thought here is my chance to share my heart. Maybe just maybe people can see we are not monsters. Alice Gregory other than my therapist heard more details of my accident than my own husband. I was very lerie of sharing at first, I wanted to know her intentions. She just had a thought, she wanted to know the flip side…what happens to people who cause the death of another. She was incredibly easy to talk to, I can not imagine taking in all of our stories in raw form. Beyond words of gratitude!

Her bravery to explore a taboo and sensitive subject opened discussion. Most people feel that by defending or lending compassion to me (CADIs) that they suddenly become insensitive to the real people that lost in the situation, the families of the deceased.

It is true! They lose in ways I cannot fathom. Asking for their forgiveness, seems very selfish. How to ask for such a thing, yet this request is behind many of my thoughts and prayers.

What the public does not know is the grief, trauma, PTSD, anxiety, shame, suicidal ideation, and nightmare cocktail that a CADI/ACS will suddenly and abruptly swim/ drown in.

You can read the article here.

Thank you Alice, for giving us a voice! I feel especially grateful because through that interview I have now joined a community. I have formed some friendships that are bonded in tragedy.

No, I will never “get over it” even time will not heal this,it is unlike situations you can relate to.

Yes, I accept that I am not the one who lost a life, I still grieve something. I hope the mental health community will eventually research and study us.

Most importantly God is faithful and I owe everything to my Savior! I may have not survived without my faith!

Miracles happen! I hope to share them with you!

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