A PAINFUL LESSON
A PAINFUL LESSON
During fall break of 2004 I was ten years old and in fifth grade. Looking back I realize how young and immature I was. I never would have expected one of my greatest life lessons to be taught to me then. But it happened.
At the time I was living with my aunt, uncle, grandma, sister, and two cousins. One night my aunt, sister, cousin, and I went to town for groceries. Afterward, leaving the store parking lot, it was my turn to sit up front but I gave it up to my sister. I sat behind the driver. The next thing I recall I was sitting in the road at an intersection across town. My aunt, cousin, and sister were standing next to the car. My sister was holding the side of her head, my cousin was crying and my aunt was screaming on the phone. My face was throbbing and blood was pouring from my mouth. It all felt like a dream. I heard an ambulance and blacked out again.
I was at the hospital when I came to, on a stretcher with an IV in my arm. My uncle came in the room and explained to me that a drunk driver had hit the rear end of our car. My aunt had a cut leg, my sister needed stitches in her head, and my cousin escaped with only a bruised knee. As for me, my aunt’s chair had broke during impact and smashed into my face. I was to be flown out by helicopter to a larger hospital.
I barely remember the helicopter ride. I got to the other hospital and waited in the ER for six hours to get a room. My family arrived right before I was moved. The doctor explained to my uncle, who relayed to me, that my nose was broken along with the bones in my mouth. I had lost five teeth, three temporary and two permanent. I would need extensive dental surgery to fix it all.
During my four day stay in the hospital the doctor told me something that’s always stuck with me. He said that I was lucky my face was still okay, that I was lucky I was still alive. I learned then, at that young age, that you should live everyday like it’s your last, because it just might be.
Since this time, I have become more outgoing. Joining different activities, talking to new people, and just generally trying new things are a few of the ways I have done this. I have traveled more and saw new things, so I would feel like I haven’t missed out on anything. The most important thing I have done, though, is to be true to myself. If I am no longer here tomorrow, I want to be remembered.