I’m still in a state of shock and disbelief about my recent brush with death. It seems surreal to me that I’m still alive and for the most part unscathed; my body isn’t damaged but my mind is scattered. I’m at a near constant battle, struggling to subdue the flashbacks of first looking up, hitting the sign, the wave of fear and panic, I recall zooming jumpily over stacks of piled wood, rising and falling hard like sitting in a chair that’s lower to the ground than anticipated. In the background of all this, The Cranberries doing a cover of The Carpenters’ Close To You and I crash to a halt at the base of anĀ  ancient tree.

Trying not to cry or scream and fighting to maintain control over my emotions after briefly slipping into chaos, I stood in the rain and wind until they could fish my bright red Explorer out of the foliage and mud. On the ride home, I pathetically and shakily attempted to warm my frozen hands by the heater vents. Tried to calm my nerves with deep breaths and blank thoughts. I couldn’t look at the road without feeling like it was going to happen over and over again.

In about an hour or so after that, I had to be clocked in and at my register with a corporate smiled glued to my face. Money takes precedence over just about everything at times like this. But what I needed the most and hadn’t realized how much I needed it until I got it was a hug. Just basic human touch from someone I love, someone who loves me. Once I got that hug, I felt a good chunk of the burden on my shoulders shed itself and I’d never been so grateful for something so simple. I haven’t felt love, like really felt it like that, in a long time. It felt out of reach. I have come to realize that it’s been there all along, I just couldn’t remember how to let it in