The beginning of the middle of the story… 

For those who don’t know me my name is Mandee. And no- it’s not short for Amanda. I am not a writing major by any means. I don’t always use commons in the right places. I might miss spell words and use run on sentences but I do know the difference between there, their and they’re. That’s really all that matters these days. First and foremost, I have lived a life full of blessings. Along the way I have had a few questionable moments happen to me. Sure, we all have. But I have seen and been through things that would make anyone question humanity. For awhile now I’ve had people telling me I should write a book. Sick joke, I say. The more time that goes by, the thought of telling my story and my past manifest into an idea of acceptance. Something I have not come to terms with yet.

When I say past, I mean the last eight years of my life. Prior to June 28, 2008- I had lived a life any young girl would dream of. I grew up in a loving family. One older brother. Whom I was super close with except for the times when I shined bright on the annoying little sister part. Growing up I always knew I was different from the other girls. I always knew who I was. Who I wanted to be. Or at least the idea was there. As I’m sitting here typing this my heart starts beating a little bit faster when I think of how big my dreams once were. I used to think I was invincible and nothing was in my way.

On June 28th, 2008 my whole world was changed. In a matter of seconds. Myself and a group of friends had been hanging out at a friends house. We were throwing a ‘Welcome Home’ party for my friend who had been back-packing in Europe for a month. By group of friends- I mean friends who had known each other for over 10 years. Some longer. The bond we all once had was something that brings a smile to my face despite the mess we made. That night I was there without my boyfriend who I was with at the time. I had work the next morning and it was my bosses birthday. Around 12 AM- As I was walking out to leave- A few people hopped on the golf-cart to ride up to the front gate to let an old friend in. Someone who I had not seen in a long time. Instead of just leaving, I jumped on with them for a short adventure. We made it to the front- We also made to back to house- Instead of parking it- we kept going. As we were turning around- Someone yelled “my hat flew off’ – The driver jerked the wheel to the left. There was a bunch of loose gravel and an open ditch. The cart went off the road and ending up flipping over. Everyone was thrown off but me. I landed on all fours with my back holding up the cart. My friend lifted it off of me and I crawled out. I rolled over and laid on my back. I remember laying there in the first few seconds, adrenaline rushing. My first thought was wiggle your toes. Since it was dark all I can picture was the porch light that was on in the distance. I wiggled my toes and they moved! Do I even need to say that was the best feeling in the world? My legs! They work! I’m fine! I jumped up and walked home half a mile.

Within 20 minutes I knew something was wrong. I went to sit up like I had sat up the last 18 years of my life. I couldn’t move. My body was completely numb from my armpits down. My friend rolled me over and noticed bruising and swelling down my spine. The only word I can use to describe that feeling in that moment is fearful. I was scared. I was scared I was going to be late for work. I was scared my boyfriend was going to be mad at me. I was scared of what my parents were going to say. I called my mom and asked her to come pick me up- I assured her I was fine and that I just needed rest before work tomorrow. I reminded her that my dad need to come to drive my car home. By the time they got there I was completely stiff. My friends had to carry me out to the car. I remember the whole way to the ER I kept telling my mom to hurry up. As if she wasn’t already going as fast as she could. When we arrived they immediately rushed me in. Hooked me up to a bunch of IV’s. Within minutes I felt nothing. Morphine is one hell of a drug. After my CT scan and MRI they pulled my parents out of the room to show them the results. It was maybe a few minutes which felt like hours before they came back in.

When my parents walked in I noticed they were BOTH crying. That was the first time I had ever seen my father cry in all of my years. I muttered “What did I do?” – Neither one of my parents could talk. The nurse spoke up and shared the news that I had shattered my L2 vertebrae. “I what? What does that mean?” I was so shocked. Still am. They then explained exactly what my condition was. My L2 had shattered into my spinal cord. For some unknown reason it did not puncture it. I should have been paralyzed. Typing this brings tears to my eyes- as I am constantly reminded just how lucky I am.

For the next six months, my life had become something I never knew. I was having to depend on everyone in reach. I couldn’t do anything for myself. I felt trapped and I couldn’t understand why me?

I can now say I fully understand what it means when they say ‘It isn’t always the initial heartache, but what comes after that hurts the most.’

I not only had my ‘normal’ life taken away from me but I lost a lot of friends too. When you’re young, friends are life. You learn peoples true colors when times get tough. Everyone I ever knew growing up turned their backs on me. Everything I believed in was false. I felt like my life I once knew was just a dream and I was rudely awakened into a nasty hell. Stripped of my identity and forced to make my way with no guidance.

God has always made his faith very apparent in my life. I might have questioned his reasoning in my time of my pain but I never doubted him.

After my accident, I moved out and began a relationship with someone who I thought would be my husband and who I would start a family with one day. We were young and both still growing into who we are supposed to be today. We lasted for five strong years. Even though we had great times it was toxic to say the least. We were both fighting for something completely different. I was trying to find myself after losing everything- But the only thing I found was myself lost in him.

This last Wednesday, I was out and about in New Braunfels. I had some time to kill so I stopped by the river where I used to spend my days before the accident happened and where I met my ex. I had not been there in eight years. The feeling I got was so indescribable. I was talking to a friend and I said ‘it made me feel like one day i’ll be happy again.’ In that same breath I clicked over and read the words “Im going to be a dad.”

Ironic. Don’t you think? I believe in the good. And I believe in God. There is a purpose for me. I’m so close to finding it.

‘You defeat who wounded you when you choose not to be like them.’