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To The Driver Who Hit Me And Ran: Not Knowing Who You Are Hurts Most

I'm sure you are terrified to come forward. Who wouldn't be?

09/13/2017 11:56 EDT | Updated 09/13/2017 13:18 EDT

Dear driver,

It's hard to believe that it has been three years and some months since you left me in the middle of the road. The impact broke my humerus, pelvis and sacrum. I was told they had to put me in an induced coma for about 10 days to reduce the swelling on my brain. I was in the hospital for five weeks and the rehab centre for four.

I read about the five stages of grief, but it was really only when I actually took the time to reflect that I did realize that I've been grieving this car incident for the last few years.

flyparade via Getty Images

It can begin with any of the five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I was told that I pretty much would have to go through the all stages at some point and may even go through each stage several times.

You can even be in multiple stages at the same time.

I'm pretty certain "acceptance" was the first stage. I continue to accept the new me as I experience "new and familiar" things: That I have spotty memory compared to the impeccable memory I had before. That I cannot remember people's names after shaking their hands five seconds ago. Literally.

Alright, so how do I learn how to walk again? How do I play the piano as elegantly as I did before? How do I just get better?!

I think then came denial. I told everyone that I was fine. I could walk again. I could run again. I moved to Hong Kong and tried to live the "normal" life. I was "working" and I could type almost as fast again. I lived a life that everyone had. I was fine. Right?

Then came bargaining. I am in a new city, with a new identity, and it is as if nothing had happened. New friends, new life, new work, new home. I am living a new life and I'm a million miles away. How can the incident still affect me?

I never thought I would hit depression or anger. I am far too positive for that to happen but as the trial date draws nearer, I think it has secretly crept up. I left my job in March to focus on me and my recovery. I regret moving too fast now. Everyone told me to take it slow, but I was so focused on getting over it that I didn't give myself the time to grieve.

I have been focused on me since March, working on my physical and mental recovery through everyone's loving contribution. The physical recovery is fun, but it gets lonely quite fast. I outgrew the system's physiotherapy a long time ago because physiotherapists seem to think it's good enough if I can walk to the grocery store, carry bags home and live that "normal" life.

I am thankful for the friends that have made time to be around me. Their positivity and encouragement has been my anchor.

The mental side of recovery is harder. It is so exhausting having to read and re-read things over and over again, because my brain gets tired more quickly.

It is frustrating that no matter how hard I try to drown out the sounds, I cannot hear my friends, even in a not-that-loud restaurant.

And they're sitting right next to me, too.

The brain recovery has been quite a journey, for sure. It's all about reconnecting the wires. I especially can't ask specialized (and expensive) doctors to monitor me through daily exercises, so it requires a lot of discipline. As the results become increasingly minimal, I just need to constantly tell myself I will get better and better.

It's like running a never-ending marathon.

There is no finish line or, rather, they don't know if there is or where the finish line will be. The only thing they know for sure about the brain is that recovery from brain injury is lifelong. Great.

I've been running non-stop and now that I've slowed down, I think depression has caught up. They say to surround yourself with all the support you can get, so I've been taking the opportunity to visit friends and hope their positive vibes rub off on me. I am thankful for the friends that have made time to be around me.

Their positivity and encouragement has been my anchor.

I am stubborn and really didn't think I would go through anger, but I have the sinking feeling that it might hit right before the trial dates. Hopefully anger will be short as I am sure it was really just an accident.

michal-rojek

I'm sure you are terrified to come forward. Who wouldn't be?

But you drove away. You didn't even stop to see what happened. I'm not mad the incident happened. Everyone makes mistakes. I think the anger will eventually stem from the fact that you didn't come forward.

That you haven't come forward.

It has been quite a lonely journey. I've always been quite proud of myself for being independent but this is the one time I wish there was someone I could lean on.

That I could call whenever I discover something I could do before, but can't now. I am lucky that everyone around me has been very supportive.

As I do one last hurrah, maybe I'll go through the stages a few more times before anger hits. I hope that I will be better and stronger than I was before.

And I hope for you that you can be strong. That you come forward.

It doesn't have to be loud. It doesn't have to be public. It can be private and quiet or online, offline, whatever way that you feel comfortable. I just ask that you hold my hand through these lonely times so that I continue on this never ending journey.

xo

An original version of this blog post appears here.

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