CaringBridge was the breath of air that we needed after being trapped underwater.
That’s all it took.
In one second, the life that I loved was turned upside down and shaken out on to the cold, hard ground.
Ben, my boyfriend of 7 years, and I were ready to start planning our life. But on the morning of October 4, 2013, a car flew through the median at speeds over 70 mph and hit Ben’s Jeep head-on as he was heading to work, leaving him clinging to life on the highway.
Ben was in a coma for a month. He underwent countless surgeries, moved through two hospitals and one rehab facility where he had to relearn everything – how to walk, talk, eat, smile, all of the simple things that you and I take for granted. Ben has made incredible strides since that horrible day.
To hear a doctor tell you “this is as good as he may get” while he was lying in a coma only moving one finger, to watch him now laugh, sing, volunteer, ride his bike and prepare to drive, is a remarkable feeling.
I Remember Every Moment
Some say the first minutes, hours and days following a traumatic event can be a blur. Not for me. I can remember every single part of that day.
Everything from the gut feeling that woke me up that morning, falling to my knees in tears after getting the call from Ben’s mom informing me of the accident, the drive to the hospital, the agonizing wait to hear if he’s alive, the steps I took as I walked into his ICU room for the first time and seeing him so broken with machines, tubes and wires attached to him.
And I remember the moment I turned to CaringBridge.
Ben’s CaringBridge website came to fruition on the same day as his accident. The concerned calls, texts, emails and social media messages from loved ones were all incredibly overwhelming. There we were, trying to grab hold of the severity of our reality and going through the spectrum of emotions, while trying to explain to our support system what had happened, was exhausting.
The suggestion to start a CaringBridge website came from my mom. It took me almost 5 hours to complete the first post. Because Ben’s injuries were so complex, translating his condition to our loved ones outside of the four hospital walls was a difficult task that I never imagined I would have to do.
CaringBridge served us our original purpose – to get the word out – but it also quickly turned into so much more than that. CaringBridge became a community.
We connected with doctors, nurses, therapists and first responders who helped Ben along the way. We browsed other stories for answers and glimmers of hope. And we shared our story with those who were just starting the long journey known as traumatic brain injury recovery – encouraging them to keep their face to the sun.
We Were Not Alone
Guestbook posts, comments and page views from friends, family and complete strangers – they were a constant reminder that we were not alone in this fight. CaringBridge was the breath of air that we needed after being trapped underwater. If this tool did not exist, I am certain we would not be where we are today. The site is a necessary part for any traumatic event and health journey.
Many CaringBridge journeys don’t end like ours. The first days felt as though we were at the bottom of a canyon with no way out. And although some days were better than others – we have continued to climb the cliff toward a complete recovery.
And for that, I am thankful. I am thankful Ben is alive. I am thankful for the support we’ve received. And I am thankful CaringBridge was front and center carrying us through our crisis.
Nearly every 7 minutes, a new Caringbridge website is created. Please consider making a gift to CaringBridge – your donation will help families like ours feel not so alone in their fight.