6 Years + 1 Day With Poem

17 Dec

Six years ago (+ one day) my little sister Sam was involved in a near-fatal car accident that killed her boyfriend, Nathan, and left her permanently brain injured and in a coma for over a month and changed all of our lives irrevocably.  They were hit by a drunk driver (on his third DUI) on a dark road weeks before Christmas.  She had severe brain swelling from frontal lobe damage (TBI), a pelvis so crushed the doctors found bone shards in her spleen, a broken clavicle,   and many other injuries.  It took two stays at Touchstone Neurorecovery Center and several months at TIRR (where Gabby Giffords received treatment) to bring her back to us.

Tonight, she visited the site to lay a wreath at the cross marker.  Tonight, I reflect on how time heals the heart, but doesn’t let it forget.

 

Without

 

Little sister, sleep or whatever it means

to be without the mind, without the mind

 

meaning body, you are still the early sun,

the unbroken glass.  You are still the wax bird

 

you once drew flying from the car window,

you are the sprouting grass.  When

 

your small fingers birded the paper sky

years before when your mouth was full

 

of popsicle or crackers instead of rutted

gravel, did you know how you would

 

later smash head-first into that December

cold, how your body would hit

 

the wet earth in the field?  Little sister,

I am drawing your bird swirls and your

 

stick fingers waving back.  Your face,

the black Os of your eyes looking up.

 

(from The Glass Crib, Zone 3 Press, 2011)

 

Sam @ Hermann Hospital, December 2005. The "bolt" in her head keeps pressure off of the brain.

Me and Sam, Family Day @ Touchstone Neurorecovery Center, 2006

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