I don't remember anything from the night of my accident.
I don't remember that day or the days before or most of those couple weeks after when I was mostly sedated with ten different types of pain meds and muscle relaxers. I don't remember Christmas or even things that happened weeks and months before. I look at pictures of events like Thanksgiving and my brother's wedding, and it's like it doesn't even exist in my brain.
I have the story of my accident memorized from listening to it be told so many times, but I remember nothing, which means maybe the story I'm about to tell you didn't really happen. But I will forever believe that it did.
Apparently, during the 2-3 weeks after my accident that I was basically a medically sedated blob, I put a few things in my notes app on my phone that I wanted to remember. It's choppy and doesn't make a lot of sense, because obviously my thinking and language skills weren't in good shape after smashing a window with my head.
January 6, 2014: I in wreck. Dane stayed. Was with me he there. Help got me. He left. Angel.
You may remember me talking about my dear friend Dane who passed away in November. I was really struggling with it around Christmas and sometimes I would talk to him when I was in my car by myself. I've had a recurring dream about him since my accident, but I don't think it's just a dream. I think it's a memory.
(You might be starting to worry about my mental health right now, but stay with me.)
The dream starts the same way. I'm suddenly in my smashed up car on Highway 90 in Ocean Springs, in the spot about 400ft from the red light that my car landed in after a truck ran a red light, hit me, and sent me and my car spinning down the highway. (Side note: Thank God for seatbelts. My groceries went flying out of the car. If I hadn't had my seatbelt on, I would have gone flying with them. WEAR THE SEATBELT, PEOPLE.) I'm crying and screaming for help and there is glass everywhere.
I see someone standing by my car on the passenger side with their back to me. I can't move or feel my body but I manage to lean forward enough to lay on the horn in hopes of getting their attention. Why aren't they turning around? I have finally figured out how to form the word "help" and I'm saying it as loud as I can but the person isn't moving.
Then after what seemed like hours (in reality, they said the guy behind me pulled over immediately so it was literally two minutes, if that, but I obviously had no concept of time) there were people on my side of the car. The guy who called 911 and my parents (his name is Brandon and my family and I will always be thankful for him) and EMTs and policemen and people saying a lot of things that I can't figure out.
I look back at the person standing by the passenger side of the car whose back is still to me. They start walking down the highway. They are wearing jeans and a gray hoodie. They are tall and have blonde hair.
I can't find the words but I know who it is. They have to stop him. I want to see him. I try to move my head to look at the policemen but I can't, so I try to make out a few words.
"Dane," I try to mumble to them. "Stop. Dane."
The policemen and EMTs are trying to pry my door open so they can pull me out of the car. I look back up at the road and the person isn't there anymore.
And then everything goes black and I wake up from my dream, which I'm assuming is about the time in reality that my body shut down for the second time and knocked me unconscious until I came to again in the hospital.
I know I don't remember anything. I know I smashed a window with my head and then was unconscious. I know there are stories of people being extremely delusional in situations like this.
But I know he was there. My beautiful guardian angel. He stayed by my car and didn't leave until help arrived. He was wearing jeans and a gray hoodie-- the same thing he was wearing when I saw him before he passed away.
Even though I wasn't fully conscious or in a good state of mind, I know it was him. Because that's the kind of sweet, caring friend he was to me when he was here. Every time I wake up from that dream, my muscles and nerves hurt. It's the same kind of pain that happens when I look at a stoplight or see a truck speed by. My muscles and nerves remember the accident even though I don't.
But I'm also in a weird, peaceful state when I wake up from the dream. It's one of those things you can't explain but you just know because you can feel it. Dane was there with me. And sometimes I think I have that dream so much because it's his way of reminding me that he was and is always here with me.
I don't know if you believe in ghosts or spirits or whatever, but I do. I believe the people we love are always watching over us, and I have a lot of other weird stories to back that up. And those stories happened when I didn't have a brain injury. ;)
I told Dane's mom this story months ago and had considered blogging about it before now. I couldn't decide how far-fetched it would sound, but I thought today was a good day to share it because it's Dane's birthday.
Sweet Dano, you are the best guardian angel anyone could ever have. I am selfish when I think about how much I'd rather have you here with us instead of up there watching over us. Thank you for staying with me and protecting me until help arrived.
Happiest of birthdays to my sweet friend and beautiful guardian angel. You are so loved and missed! Your hug is on the way, and it's one of those running start, squeezing you until you can't breathe kind of hugs. :)
When I start to get frustrated during rehab, my therapists and doctors always remind me how big of a miracle I am. "You can do this, Alexa," they say. "You can do this, because by some miracle, you survived your wreck. I don't know how you did it. You must have someone special watching over you."
I sure do. And he is more special than you could ever possibly imagine.