Wednesday, October 19, 2022

A Day Worth Celebrating

Today is Robyn's 36th birthday.

Most of the time, they don't want too much of a fuss made. A nice evening in, some good food, and they're happy.

But this year is different. This year feels like it needs a party, a parade, an entire world full of people celebrating my beloved.

Because they very nearly weren't here to celebrate at all.

Throughout the day today, that thought has slammed into my chest over and over. And the only thing I can do is to grab Robyn and hold them tight and just say 'I love you' over and over and over again.

But they are here. And we're through this nightmare of a recovery process. We're together and alive and I am so thankful.

So happy birthday, babe. You are amazing and wonderful and resilient and the strongest fucking person I know. I am so incredibly proud of you for not only not letting the consequences of the accident slow you down, but instead have somehow let it help you grow.

The way you are unashamedly yourself now and on the path to pursuing what you want out of life is absolutely awe inspiring.

I can't even tell you how lucky I am to get to stand beside you and watch you take on the world.

I love you so much, babe. Happy birthday and many, many, many happy returns.

Friday, July 1, 2022

The Accident - Text Only

CONTENT NOTICE: This post is going to have graphic descriptions of injuries, car accidents, surgery, bodily harm, and death. 

I don't really have much of a preamble to this. I'm hoping that by finally just writing out everything that happened, I can get it out of my head. Try to curb the near-daily flashbacks I'm having. And to give people who keep asking what happened a place to go so I don't have to relive it again and again.

And it may sound silly or weird, but I just honestly want to share what happened and what we're going through to maybe help others who have to deal with something similar. I've tried hard to always be open and honest about my experiences in life. This one is just a lot harder to deal with than most.

This will be long, rambling, and non-linear as I interject with observations, feelings, and such that I had looking back at these moments.

I guess we'll start at the beginning.

On January 1st, I had asked Robyn to go get me some ground coffee and some lavender syrup for us from our favorite local-ish place. It's roughly a 15 minute drive from our house. I had asked them to go around 4:30 when it was still light out, but we were kinda nagging each other back and forth about it and I kept saying that they didn't have to go if they didn't want to and they kept insisting it was fine, they'd go. Right before they left, we had a long discussion where I told them that they have to be better about listening to me when I say it is okay to say no.

This argument is something that haunts me. If I would have kept my mouth shut, if I would have saved this conversation for when they got home, if I would have pushed harder for them not to go... would we be in this position? Would this have saved them from the accident? I am dealing with so much guilt, feeling like this whole thing is my fault. It's something I'm working on with my therapist, but I don't know if it will ever fully go away.

Anyway, Robyn left about 6ish, out into the rain and the rapidly approaching dark. They messaged me at the coffee place and let me know when they were on the way back. I reminded them to use the gas card my grandpa had gotten us for Christmas.

But I didn't do what I always do. I didn't tell them that I love them and to be careful.

I heard the sirens at about 6:45. I knew Robyn was likely close to home, so I texted them, letting them know that I was getting anxious because of the sirens.

No response.

I felt so anxious, so uneasy. Like I was going to throw up. I called them. No response.

I messaged my mom, who gets text messages about what calls are happening in our area as she worked for our local ambulance service. She didn't get back to me right away because she was at work.

I called Robyn again. Three times. On the third call, a woman answered. She told me that my spouse had been in a car accident and that it was going to be okay. Asked me what hospital to take them to. I told them, She said it would be okay again and I screamed back at her that it was not, in fact, going to be okay. My spouse was in a fucking car wreck and I needed to get off the phone and call my grandma.

I'm thoroughly ashamed that I said that to her, swore at her. I pride myself on being calm in overwhelming situations and this time I wasn't.

I hung up with the woman and tried video calling my mom. She didn't answer.

I called my grandma, still screaming. Crying. Hysterical. She tried to calm me down. Told me grandpa was going to come get me and take me to the accident.

I had a moment where I stopped getting ready, thinking that I couldn't go. That they wouldn't let me be with Robyn because of covid policies.

Mom messaged me back then with what it was. I frantically called her again until she answered. Told her what had happened. She said she was leaving work and coming to me.

I found out later that the message about the accident came across as a motor vehicle accident, two injuries, one unresponsive. Unresponsive usually means dead. She thought Robyn was dead.

I called grandma back and she told me grandpa was coming. I was frantically getting dressed, trying to get myself together. I remember kiddo coming out of the bedroom, asking what all the screaming was about. I told them it was Robyn. Car accident. That I had to go.

I called my mom back again, asking her to meet me at the hospital. That I needed her there to fight them if they wouldn't let me in. That's when she realized that Robyn wasn't the unresponsive victim.

Grandpa picked me up and we headed towards the accident. It was a 3 minute drive from our house. I called Lily on the way. Let her know that they were in an accident, but I didn't know exactly what had happened.

I barely let grandpa stop the car when I jumped out, sprinting towards everything. The entire road was shut down.

I screamed at the person blocking the road to let me through, that it was my spouse.

I cannot express how grateful I was that if this was going to happen, it happened so close to home. I grew up with a big part of my family working for the local emergency services. I have known these people my whole life.

I went running up the road as grandpa parked the car. I saw Ethel, our Ford Taurus, first.

But before I looked any closer, I saw that the ambulance was still there. I didn't care about anything else, I just went flying for it. Ripped the doors open. I had to know Robyn was still alive. I HAD to.

I could hear them talking, but they didn't realize I was there. The medics were patient with me, which I am grateful for. I did everything I grew up being told not to do in that situation. One of the firefighters, again someone I knew my whole life, came back and told me that I had to let the ambulance go, kiddo.

I did. It was the hardest thing I think I've done, letting them take Robyn away from me.

Things are a little hazy, as it has been so long since this happened, but I think the next person I talked to was one of the state troopers. He was a complete and utter ass. Asking me if I knew that the other driver was dead. Getting pissed because he was told that a woman was driving our car and here I was saying it was my husband who was driving (I referred to Robyn as such because I live in a small, conservative town. I wasn't about to out our entire gender identity/relationship to this person).

I remember being petrified with fear at that point. Was the accident Robyn's fault? Even if they lived, were they about to be drug to jail?

I ended up talking to another trooper (a woman this time) along with the couple in the car in front of Robyn. They told me what had happened. The other driver was in the left lane, almost hit the couple, but the couple managed to swerve out of the way. The other driver then plowed head first into Robyn. Hard enough to spin Robyn's car around. The truck kept going, landing in a ditch. The other driver likely died on impact.

He was likely drunk, confirmed later when we got the accident pics and you could see the open beer cans in the front seat.

He hit Robyn so hard that his truck broke in half. 

I found the chief of our fire department, again someone I've known my whole life, and just asked him what had happened. He told me that they had to cut Robyn out of the car. That when they realized who was in the car, they absolutely swarmed it, doing everything to get them out. These people always work hard, but when it's someone you know, they go just a little harder.

I broke down at that point and chief just held me and let me sob and scream and cry and just let it all out. I told him about everything that we were dealing with. That this year was supposed to be better. That I already lost Bethany, I couldn't lose Robyn, too. I guess it made him cry a bit, too. 

I needed to get up to the hospital at that point. I made sure that I wasn't needed anymore. Grandpa had grabbed the important stuff out of the car. But he also managed to lose his keys. Which meant we couldn't leave.

I called Em, begging her to bring a spare set to the scene, while a couple firefighters helped us look all over. We ended up finding them IN grandpa's car.

On the drive up, I just started calling everyone, letting them know what happened. I meant to call my mother-in-law first, but I accidentally called my other grandparents, my fingers dialing the number unthinkingly. I called Jody right after. She was dealing with her second go-around of covid. She couldn't come to the hospital, which ended up being a good thing.

Inbetween phone calls, my grandpa kept up an unending stream of assurances that Robyn was going to be okay. My grandpa isn't much of a talker. The fact that he couldn't stop showed me just how upset he was.

We got to the hospital. Mom was already waiting for me. Her coworker had brought her down as she was so distraught that she couldn't safely drive. She was in the ER waiting room. She'd actually beaten the ambulance there. She wasn't allowed into the room with Robyn because if she had, I wouldn't have been allowed in. Because of covid, they only allow a patient one person per day as a visitor. But they had let her talk briefly to Robyn in the hallway. She said they just kept asking for me.

The ER waiting room was somehow magically almost empty at that moment. It's hit me several times that Robyn could have very easily been someone who fell victim to the lack of hospital beds from covid.

I wasn't allowed back to see them for a while, as they were doing xrays, CAT scans, the whole nine yards.

But then I was led back.

There was so much blood. On the floor. On Robyn. I discovered later that it was also all over my own shoes.

They swarmed Robyn at some point during all of this and a doctor was trying to explain what was going on and I just sank to the floor. I was so overwhelmed. I remember the doctor saying that it was just bones. We can fix bones.

The worst injury, he said, was the femur and the elbow. The elbow had broken through the skin. It was going to need surgery. Multiple surgeries for everything.

I was just in a daze and kept going between Robyn's room and the waiting room. And making phone calls. To everyone I could think of. Including Robyn's boss, who had assured us that Robyn's job was secure. The only thing that mattered was making sure that Robyn was okay.

Mom also told me that she found out that there had been multiple phone calls to the police about the drunk driver. Supposedly they were on the way to pull him over.

Mom's boyfriend had joined us at some point. They sent grandpa back home, told him that they would get me home.

Robyn and I talked in the brief moments we were together. They knew what had happened. Talked about how much pain they were in. Cried because of how scared they were about the surgery. How they didn't want to go through with it.

I told the nurse on duty that they went by Robyn. I couldn't stand hearing so many people calling them by their dead name.

I can't remember exactly when, but Robyn had to be taken upstairs to a different room to await surgery and I had to leave. They needed the ER bed for another patient. They let me say goodbye in the hallway, Robyn asking me to meet them upstairs, sad when I said I couldn't, that I wasn't allowed. I couldn't even kiss them goodbye.

I was told that the surgery would take place at 7am and visiting hours started at 8.

And then I left. Mom and Randy took me home.

I called Lily on video chat, climbed into the shower, and just cried. And cried. And cried.

I didn't want to sleep alone. I could count on one hand the number of nights that I have not slept by Robyn's side in the 12 years we've lived together. And now I was facing an unknown amount of them.

I couldn't sleep on my side of the bed. It felt wrong. Robyn wasn't there. Robyn was not laying where they should be, close enough for me to reach out and touch them and assure myself that they were alive.

I was scared of the dark. I was so convinced that if I turned out the lights, Robyn would die. I plugged in a nightlight I had gotten for Christmas, slept with it every night that Robyn was in the hospital.

I called the hospital at 2am just to ask the nurses if Robyn was resting comfortably. They told me that I could come in before the surgery, if I wanted to. But I knew that spending hours and hours at the hospital, alone, not knowing what was going on during the surgery would break me. So I made the decision to go up when Robyn was done.

The next day was an anxious waiting game in between phone calls from the hospital.

While waiting, a friend graciously set up a gofund me to help us out. Robyn was going to be out of work for who knew how long. We had to replace the car. We didn't know if the other driver had insurance. We didn't know how much we'd have in medical bills.

We also did some facebook snooping, as we had found out the name of the other driver. His profile was full of statuses about how much he wanted to die. How no one cared about him. He was also a fascist anti-vaxxer. My sympathy and empathy dried up pretty quick.

I got the call that Robyn was out of surgery and in recovery at 3pm and that it would be a couple hours before they were back in their room. I was up with them by 6pm. 

The surgery took 7 hours. Originally, they had just planned on doing the elbow surgery, but ended up tackling the femur, too.

We had a better understanding of the injuries, then, though there were some that Robyn and I didn't even know about until we got the discharge papers.

I guess I'll just list them from top to bottom.

  • skull was smashed in above the left eye
  • multiple facial lacerations
  • shoulder shattered
  • humeral head broken
  • laceration on the back of the shoulder that went clear down to bone
  • elbow was absolutely shattered and shoved up out of the skin
  • ulna broken
  • multiple lacerations on the hand and arm that required staples
  • a small bruise on the lung
  • femur broken in two places
  • fractured tibia
  • torn PCL (ligament in the knee that keeps it from bending backwards)
When I got there, Robyn was still out of it. I wasn't even sure that they knew I was there. A nurse came in at one point and started talking to me. I absolutely broke down sobbing, just letting it all out. And Robyn... my ridiculous spouse, coming out of a SEVEN HOUR SURGERY AFTER TAKING A TRUCK TO THE FACE, must have heard me crying because they started squeezing my hand, then, and rubbing my fingers.

As they woke up a bit more, we were talking about everything that happened. They remembered most of the accident. Towards the end of this, I'll have them write up exactly what they remember.

They were finally able to drink some "damn" water that they'd been wanting since the night before. And yes, they specifically said, "finally, I can drink some damn water."

I had to leave pretty soon after that because visiting hours were over.

The next morning, as I was getting ready to go up to the hospital again, Robyn surprised me by texting me, asking when I'd be there. I don't think I can put into words the amount of joy I felt in that moment. To know that they could communicate with me when we were apart again.

We found out that Robyn lost enough blood to require a transfusion, so that would be happening at some point. Physical therapy also came in and had them sit up for the first time. It went as well as they'd hoped, though it was still scary to me because they seemed like they were going to pass out at any moment.

We also had a discussion with a doctor about doing the brow bone reconstruction the next day. The doc wanted to do it then because Robyn had a convenient laceration in their eyebrow that the doctor could go through instead of a more invasive procedure.

Robyn got to eat for the first time since the accident. It was a learning experience, having to spoon broth just a little bit at a time in their mouth so they didn't choke.

I left at the end of visiting hours, came home, showered, barely slept, and headed up the next day. And by barely slept, I mean I think I got a collective two hours that night.

Robyn asked that I be there before they went for surgery. I missed them by 5 minutes. I was devastated. All I could do was sit around and wait.

I had my counseling appointment during that time, and let me tell you, my therapist earned her paycheck that day.

Robyn got done a little before 3pm. I got to go sit beside them in the surgery center recovery area. They had overheated a bit and had a fan blowing on them. A nurse was feeding them ice chips.

We were back up into the room by 3:15. Robyn ate all of their broth for dinner and some raspberry ice stuff.

It was home again that night, shower, sleep, rinse and repeat.

Robyn's surgery the following day was to fix their shoulder. We figured it would be another long one. It was scheduled for 7:30am, so we had decided that I would come up around noon. I was sleeping soundly when I got a call at 9:30 in the morning from the hospital. Understandably, I freaked the fuck out, thinking something awful had happened.

Nope. It was the doctor letting me know that the surgery was done, Robyn did great, and that they'll be back in the room soon.

So I rushed around, showered quickly, and got myself up there.

It ended up being one of the worst days there. The nerve block in Robyn's shoulder wore off and both of their IV lines blew. They were too nauseous to take medicine by mouth, so they had no pain relief. For HOURS. This was one of the days that the national guard was there to help out because the hospital was so short staffed.

They couldn't find anyone to redo the IV lines. Some of the people were too scared to try because they only had the one arm to work with. So I did the only thing I could think to do and just talked and talked and talked in a low voice. Telling them about the vacation we were finally going to take once we were through this nightmare. Anything I could think of to help them not focus on the pain.

A nurse finally, FINALLY came in and did the line. Got it on the first stick. And Robyn got medicine.

When I got home that evening, I found out that my dog's lip had been split open and I was going to have to take him to the vet. Which led to the first time in my life that I ever fully passed out. Because I was so overwhelmed. That night was a bit of a blur after that. Em stayed the night with me.

I woke up the next morning to discover that I may have been exposed to covid. I couldn't go see Robyn for at least 4 days until I could get a rapid test.

I started spiraling hard. I felt like an absolute failure. I couldn't be there when Robyn needed me the most. What if this set back their recovery? What if I did end up with covid and couldn't see them for weeks?

I organized some friends and family to go up and spend time with Robyn while I couldn't be there. I had also went ahead and bought a new tablet and headphones for Robyn (both of which they were severely overdue for) within the first two days of them being at the hospital, so I made arrangements to get those to them.

There was a lot of texting back and forth during this time. Silly pictures of what was going on at home. Anything I could do to try and make them happy.

They had to get through getting the MRI alone, which they claim is the worst thing they've ever experienced.

OSP stopped by at some point and took their statement.

Robyn also felt well enough at that point to join the giant group chat I had started with our friends to keep them updated.

My mom was one of the first people to go hang out with Robyn. She left her tablet with them and from that point on, we were video chatting constantly. Even over night. The night of the 6th, going into the 7th, Robyn couldn't sleep due to panic attacks. I stayed up all night with them and we just talked and talked via video chat. I am so, so, so grateful to have technology that allows us to do that.

The 7th was the day that Robyn got to sit in a chair for the first time since the accident. Mom also took the time to comb out and clean their hair since it was still matted with blood and glass.

On the 8th, they were in the chair again. Our dear friend, Vi, went up and hung out. That's the day that Robyn had all their IV lines disconnected permanently. They had a knee immobilizer put on to help with the torn ligament.

On the 9th, another dear friend, Mikayla, brought me a rapid test so I could check the next day. Then she went up for her shift with Robyn. Robyn got bathed for the first time that day.

And on the 10th, I woke up at 5:15 in the morning, an anxious wreck. It was the day to take the covid test. It was blessedly negative. Which meant that I could go back and see Robyn again.

So that's exactly what I did. And being the wonderful spouse I am, I took them some Wendy's, which they'd been asking for.

We found out that day that our second choice of rehab centers had an opening, so then it was just waiting for them to get all the paperwork and insurance straightened out and get Robyn there.

It was a couple more days of waiting on that. We spent the time just sitting and watching way too much TNG. And still video chatting every moment I wasn't up there.

On January 13th, just under two weeks from the accident, Robyn was sent to the rehab facility.

I think that's where I will end with the retelling of this.

I actually started writing this post back in April, but have had a very hard time writing it, as you can imagine. Today is actually 6 months exactly since the accident happened.

I've dealt with a lot of emotions today. Mostly an overwhelming relief that my spouse is still here with me. And doing so well. We finished up outpatient physical therapy last week. Robyn is walking with no brace at all now. The only lingering problems are the shoulder being tight. But for the fact that they almost died, we'll take it.

I wanted Robyn to write about everything they remembered from the accident, so here's a small guest post in this post, if you will.

"I was driving down Rt. 43; it was getting dark and was a little rainy, so I didn't see the truck coming at me at all. One second everything was fine, and the next there were headlights directly in front of me. I had absolutely no time to react. I'm pretty sure I yelled out in that moment...it was possibly "oh fuck"...and I think I might have moved my left arm up in front of my face, which would account for all the damage it took. Everything after that is just small bits and pieces of memories that kind of run together. I lost consciousness, but we think only for a few minutes. When I came to, I think I realized pretty quickly that something was wrong. I remember the feeling of my hair hanging in front of my face and of the dirt and glass in my mouth. It was crunchy. I also think I understood quickly that something bad had happened; I remember trying to move a little bit and when I couldn't, I knew I needed to stay still.

The next thing I remember is trying to speak...I think I said "What happened?" more than once. Not loud, but just kind of to myself. The first person I remember speaking to me was a woman. We're pretty sure it was the driver of the van in front of me, who had nearly been hit. I think she asked me who I was and who my spouse was as well. What else she said to me I can't recall.

This is where things really start to run together. I remember more voices and activity around the car as the EMTs and firefighters worked to get me out. I do remember someone saying they'd have to cut me out, and then the sound of the equipment as they worked to cut open the door. I've been told that someone had climbed into the backseat at one point to hold onto me and keep me still as they were cutting, and I have a vague memory of that as well. I think that's about all I can remember from inside the car.

I do kind of remember being pulled out, just a little bit. Ashtan has told me that I was already in the ambulance when she arrived and how she frantically climbed in to see me...I don't remember any of that. My next memories are vague ones of the ride to the hospital. I remember the sensation of the ambulance moving, and of thinking that it felt like we were going to tip over because we were going so fast. I remember slowing down and thinking "oh we must be at the hospital", and then that's it. After that, nothing until the evening of January 2nd. I don't remember being taken out of the ambulance, of being in the ER, of talking to Ashtan and her mom, or of being taken into surgery the next day. I think I have a very vague memory of talking to Ashtan the evening of the 2nd, but nothing really specific.

We thought for sure I was going to struggle with nightmares or flashbacks from this, but I haven't at all, and I'm sure the reason is because I just don't remember much. For that I'm grateful, though I hate that the emotional trauma got passed onto Ashtan. But we're working through it together. Things are getting better, 6 months later. I'm just glad to be alive, honestly, and I'm trying to use this experience as a motivator to be even more unafraid to be myself. I absolutely do not recommend going through this haha. I think I'll leave you with this: please always wear your seat belt, and please, PLEASE, never drink and drive. In the words of my grandmother, who had left me that Ford Taurus when she passed away, be careful on the road."

And with that, I think I'm finally done with this post.

I will never be able to properly convey my gratefulness to all of our friends, family, the medical personnel, and you, our lovely customers and readers, who have supported us and loved us through this whole ordeal.

We're still not quite through it yet, but hey, we're still here. And that's something.

The Accident

CONTENT NOTICE: This post is going to have graphic descriptions of injuries, car accidents, surgery, bodily harm, and death. 

This post specifically will include pictures of all of these things. There will be blood and visible injuries.

 
I don't really have much of a preamble to this. I'm hoping that by finally just writing out everything that happened, I can get it out of my head. Try to curb the near-daily flashbacks I'm having. And to give people who keep asking what happened a place to go so I don't have to relive it again and again.

And it may sound silly or weird, but I just honestly want to share what happened and what we're going through to maybe help others who have to deal with something similar. I've tried hard to always be open and honest about my experiences in life. This one is just a lot harder to deal with than most.

This will be long, rambling, and non-linear as I interject with observations, feelings, and such that I had looking back at these moments.

I guess we'll start at the beginning.

On January 1st, I had asked Robyn to go get me some ground coffee and some lavender syrup for us from our favorite local-ish place. It's roughly a 15 minute drive from our house. I had asked them to go around 4:30 when it was still light out, but we were kinda nagging each other back and forth about it and I kept saying that they didn't have to go if they didn't want to and they kept insisting it was fine, they'd go. Right before they left, we had a long discussion where I told them that they have to be better about listening to me when I say it is okay to say no.

This argument is something that haunts me. If I would have kept my mouth shut, if I would have saved this conversation for when they got home, if I would have pushed harder for them not to go... would we be in this position? Would this have saved them from the accident? I am dealing with so much guilt, feeling like this whole thing is my fault. It's something I'm working on with my therapist, but I don't know if it will ever fully go away.

Anyway, Robyn left about 6ish, out into the rain and the rapidly approaching dark. They messaged me at the coffee place and let me know when they were on the way back. I reminded them to use the gas card my grandpa had gotten us for Christmas.

But I didn't do what I always do. I didn't tell them that I love them and to be careful.

I heard the sirens at about 6:45. I knew Robyn was likely close to home, so I texted them, letting them know that I was getting anxious because of the sirens.

No response.


I felt so anxious, so uneasy. Like I was going to throw up. I called them. No response.

I messaged my mom, who gets text messages about what calls are happening in our area as she worked for our local ambulance service. She didn't get back to me right away because she was at work.
 
 

I called Robyn again. Three times. On the third call, a woman answered. She told me that my spouse had been in a car accident and that it was going to be okay. Asked me what hospital to take them to. I told them. She said it would be okay again and I screamed back at her that it was not, in fact, going to be okay. My spouse was in a fucking car wreck and I needed to get off the phone and call my grandma.

I'm thoroughly ashamed that I said that to her, swore at her. I pride myself on being calm in overwhelming situations and this time I wasn't.

I hung up with the woman and tried video calling my mom. She didn't answer.

I called my grandma, still screaming. Crying. Hysterical. She tried to calm me down. Told me grandpa was going to come get me and take me to the accident.

I had a moment where I stopped getting ready, thinking that I couldn't go. That they wouldn't let me be with Robyn because of covid policies.

Mom messaged me back then with what it was. I frantically called her again until she answered. Told her what had happened. She said she was leaving work and coming to me.

I found out later that the message about the accident came across as a motor vehicle accident, two injuries, one unresponsive. Unresponsive usually means dead. She thought Robyn was dead.

I called grandma back and she told me grandpa was coming. I was frantically getting dressed, trying to get myself together. I remember kiddo coming out of the bedroom, asking what all the screaming was about. I told them it was Robyn. Car accident. That I had to go.

I called my mom back again, asking her to meet me at the hospital. That I needed her there to fight them if they wouldn't let me in. That's when she realized that Robyn wasn't the unresponsive victim.

Grandpa picked me up and we headed towards the accident. It was a 3 minute drive from our house. I called Lily on the way. Let her know that they were in an accident, but I didn't know exactly what had happened.

I barely let grandpa stop the car when I jumped out, sprinting towards everything. The entire road was shut down.

I screamed at the person blocking the road to let me through, that it was my spouse.

I cannot express how grateful I was that if this was going to happen, it happened so close to home. I grew up with a big part of my family working for the local emergency services. I have known these people my whole life.

I went running up the road as grandpa parked the car. I saw Ethel, our Ford Taurus, first.



But before I looked any closer, I saw that the ambulance was still there. I didn't care about anything else, I just went flying for it. Ripped the doors open. I had to know Robyn was still alive. I HAD to.

I could hear them talking, but they didn't realize I was there. The medics were patient with me, which I am grateful for. I did everything I grew up being told not to do in that situation. One of the firefighters, again someone I knew my whole life, came back and told me that I had to let the ambulance go, kiddo.

I did. It was the hardest thing I think I've done, letting them take Robyn away from me.

Things are a little hazy, as it has been so long since this happened, but I think the next person I talked to was one of the state troopers. He was a complete and utter ass. Asking me if I knew that the other driver was dead. Getting pissed because he was told that a woman was driving our car and here I was saying it was my husband who was driving (I referred to Robyn as such because I live in a small, conservative town. I wasn't about to out our entire gender identity/relationship to this person).

I remember being petrified with fear at that point. Was the accident Robyn's fault? Even if they lived, were they about to be drug to jail?

I ended up talking to another trooper (a woman this time) along with the couple in the car in front of Robyn. They told me what had happened. The other driver was in the left lane, almost hit the couple, but the couple managed to swerve out of the way. The other driver then plowed head first into Robyn. Hard enough to spin Robyn's car around. The truck kept going, landing in a ditch. The other driver likely died on impact.

He was likely drunk, confirmed later when we got the accident pics and you could see the open beer cans in the front seat.


He hit Robyn so hard that his truck broke in half. 


I found the chief of our fire department, again someone I've known my whole life, and just asked him what had happened. He told me that they had to cut Robyn out of the car. That when they realized who was in the car, they absolutely swarmed it, doing everything to get them out. These people always work hard, but when it's someone you know, they go just a little harder.

I remember looking in the car then. Seeing the blood. Watching it drip off the visor. There was so much.

I broke down at that point and chief just held me and let me sob and scream and cry and just let it all out. I told him about everything that we were dealing with. That this year was supposed to be better. That I already lost Bethany, I couldn't lose Robyn, too. I guess it made him cry a bit, too. 

I needed to get up to the hospital at that point. I made sure that I wasn't needed anymore. Grandpa had grabbed the important stuff out of the car. But he also managed to lose his keys. Which meant we couldn't leave.

I called Em, begging her to bring a spare set to the scene, while a couple firefighters helped us look all over. We ended up finding them IN grandpa's car.

On the drive up, I just started calling everyone, letting them know what happened. I meant to call my mother-in-law first, but I accidentally called my other grandparents, my fingers dialing the number unthinkingly. I called Jody right after. She was dealing with her second go-around of covid. She couldn't come to the hospital, which ended up being a good thing.

In between phone calls, my grandpa kept up an unending stream of assurances that Robyn was going to be okay. My grandpa isn't much of a talker. The fact that he couldn't stop showed me just how upset he was.

We got to the hospital. Mom was already waiting for me. Her coworker had brought her down as she was so distraught that she couldn't safely drive. She was in the ER waiting room. She'd actually beaten the ambulance there. She wasn't allowed into the room with Robyn because if she had, I wouldn't have been allowed in. Because of covid, they only allow a patient one person per day as a visitor. But they had let her talk briefly to Robyn in the hallway. She said they just kept asking for me.

The ER waiting room was somehow magically almost empty at that moment. It's hit me several times that Robyn could have very easily been someone who fell victim to the lack of hospital beds from covid.

I wasn't allowed back to see them for a while, as they were doing xrays, CAT scans, the whole nine yards.

But then I was led back.

There was so much blood. On the floor. On Robyn. I discovered later that it was also all over my own shoes.

They swarmed Robyn at some point during all of this and a doctor was trying to explain what was going on and I just sank to the floor. I was so overwhelmed. I remember the doctor saying that it was just bones. We can fix bones.

The worst injury, he said, was the femur and the elbow. The elbow had broken through the skin. It was going to need surgery. Multiple surgeries for everything.

I was just in a daze and kept going between Robyn's room and the waiting room. And making phone calls. To everyone I could think of. Including Robyn's boss, who had assured us that Robyn's job was secure. The only thing that mattered was making sure that Robyn was okay.

Mom also told me that she found out that there had been multiple phone calls to the police about the drunk driver. Supposedly they were on the way to pull him over.

Mom's boyfriend had joined us at some point. They sent grandpa back home, told him that they would get me home.

Robyn and I talked in the brief moments we were together. They knew what had happened. Talked about how much pain they were in. Cried because of how scared they were about the surgery. How they didn't want to go through with it.

I told the nurse on duty that they went by Robyn. I couldn't stand hearing so many people calling them by their dead name.

I can't remember exactly when, but Robyn had to be taken upstairs to a different room to await surgery and I had to leave. They needed the ER bed for another patient. They let me say goodbye in the hallway, Robyn asking me to meet them upstairs, sad when I said I couldn't, that I wasn't allowed. I couldn't even kiss them goodbye.

I was told that the surgery would take place at 7am and visiting hours started at 8.

And then I left. Mom and Randy took me home.

I called Lily on video chat, climbed into the shower, and just cried. And cried. And cried.

I didn't want to sleep alone. I could count on one hand the number of nights that I have not slept by Robyn's side in the 12 years we've lived together. And now I was facing an unknown amount of them.

I couldn't sleep on my side of the bed. It felt wrong. Robyn wasn't there. Robyn was not laying where they should be, close enough for me to reach out and touch them and assure myself that they were alive.

I was scared of the dark. I was so convinced that if I turned out the lights, Robyn would die. I plugged in a nightlight I had gotten for Christmas, slept with it every night that Robyn was in the hospital.

I called the hospital at 2am just to ask the nurses if Robyn was resting comfortably. They told me that I could come in before the surgery, if I wanted to. But I knew that spending hours and hours at the hospital, alone, not knowing what was going on during the surgery would break me. So I made the decision to go up when Robyn was done.

The next day was an anxious waiting game in between phone calls from the hospital.

While waiting, a friend graciously set up a gofund me to help us out. Robyn was going to be out of work for who knew how long. We had to replace the car. We didn't know if the other driver had insurance. We didn't know how much we'd have in medical bills.

We also did some facebook snooping, as we had found out the name of the other driver. His profile was full of statuses about how much he wanted to die. How no one cared about him. He was also a fascist anti-vaxxer. My sympathy and empathy dried up pretty quick.

I got the call that Robyn was out of surgery and in recovery at 3pm and that it would be a couple hours before they were back in their room. I was up with them by 6pm. 


The surgery took 7 hours. Originally, they had just planned on doing the elbow surgery, but ended up tackling the femur, too.

We had a better understanding of the injuries, then, though there were some that Robyn and I didn't even know about until we got the discharge papers.

I guess I'll just list them from top to bottom.
  • skull was smashed in above the left eye
  • multiple facial lacerations
  • shoulder shattered
  • humeral head broken
  • laceration on the back of the shoulder that went clear down to bone
  • elbow was absolutely shattered and shoved up out of the skin
  • ulna broken
  • multiple lacerations on the hand and arm that required staples
  • a small bruise on the lung
  • femur broken in two places
  • fractured tibia
  • torn PCL (ligament in the knee that keeps it from bending backwards) 

 
When I got there, Robyn was still out of it. I wasn't even sure that they knew I was there. A nurse came in at one point and started talking to me. I absolutely broke down sobbing, just letting it all out. And Robyn... my ridiculous spouse, coming out of a SEVEN HOUR SURGERY AFTER TAKING A TRUCK TO THE FACE, must have heard me crying because they started squeezing my hand, then, and rubbing my fingers.

As they woke up a bit more, we were talking about everything that happened. They remembered most of the accident. Towards the end of this, I'll have them write up exactly what they remember.

They were finally able to drink some "damn" water that they'd been wanting since the night before. And yes, they specifically said, "finally, I can drink some damn water."

I had to leave pretty soon after that because visiting hours were over.

The next morning, as I was getting ready to go up to the hospital again, Robyn surprised me by texting me, asking when I'd be there. I don't think I can put into words the amount of joy I felt in that moment. To know that they could communicate with me when we were apart again.

We found out that Robyn lost enough blood to require a transfusion, so that would be happening at some point. Physical therapy also came in and had them sit up for the first time. It went as well as they'd hoped, though it was still scary to me because they seemed like they were going to pass out at any moment.


We also had a discussion with a doctor about doing the brow bone reconstruction the next day. The doc wanted to do it then because Robyn had a convenient laceration in their eyebrow that the doctor could go through instead of a more invasive procedure.

Robyn got to eat for the first time since the accident. It was a learning experience, having to spoon broth just a little bit at a time in their mouth so they didn't choke.

I left at the end of visiting hours, came home, showered, barely slept, and headed up the next day. And by barely slept, I mean I think I got a collective two hours that night.

Robyn asked that I be there before they went for surgery. I missed them by 5 minutes. I was devastated. All I could do was sit around and wait.

I had my counseling appointment during that time, and let me tell you, my therapist earned her paycheck that day.

Robyn got done a little before 3pm. I got to go sit beside them in the surgery center recovery area. They had overheated a bit and had a fan blowing on them. A nurse was feeding them ice chips.

We were back up into the room by 3:15. Robyn ate all of their broth for dinner and some raspberry ice stuff.

It was home again that night, shower, sleep, rinse and repeat.


Robyn's surgery the following day was to fix their shoulder. We figured it would be another long one. It was scheduled for 7:30am, so we had decided that I would come up around noon. I was sleeping soundly when I got a call at 9:30 in the morning from the hospital. Understandably, I freaked the fuck out, thinking something awful had happened.

Nope. It was the doctor letting me know that the surgery was done, Robyn did great, and that they'll be back in the room soon.

So I rushed around, showered quickly, and got myself up there.


It ended up being one of the worst days there. The nerve block in Robyn's shoulder wore off and both of their IV lines blew. They were too nauseous to take medicine by mouth, so they had no pain relief. For HOURS. This was one of the days that the national guard was there to help out because the hospital was so short staffed.

They couldn't find anyone to redo the IV lines. Some of the people were too scared to try because they only had the one arm to work with. So I did the only thing I could think to do and just talked and talked and talked in a low voice. Telling them about the vacation we were finally going to take once we were through this nightmare. Anything I could think of to help them not focus on the pain.

A nurse finally, FINALLY came in and did the line. Got it on the first stick. And Robyn got medicine.

When I got home that evening, I found out that my dog's lip had been split open and I was going to have to take him to the vet. Which led to the first time in my life that I ever fully passed out. Because I was so overwhelmed. That night was a bit of a blur after that. Em stayed the night with me.

I woke up the next morning to discover that I may have been exposed to covid. I couldn't go see Robyn for at least 4 days until I could get a rapid test.

I started spiraling hard. I felt like an absolute failure. I couldn't be there when Robyn needed me the most. What if this set back their recovery? What if I did end up with covid and couldn't see them for weeks?

I actually went ahead and booked myself an emergency therapy appointment for that day because I knew I was a danger to myself if I didn't get help.

I organized some friends and family to go up and spend time with Robyn while I couldn't be there. I had also went ahead and bought a new tablet and headphones for Robyn (both of which they were severely overdue for) within the first two days of them being at the hospital, so I made arrangements to get those to them.

There was a lot of texting back and forth during this time. Silly pictures (#blessednuggets) of what was going on at home. Anything I could do to try and make them happy.


They also took a picture of themselves to show me that they could wear their glasses again.


They had to get through getting the MRI alone, which they claim is the worst thing they've ever experienced.

OSP stopped by at some point and took their statement.

Robyn also felt well enough at that point to join the giant group chat I had started with our friends to keep them updated.

My mom was one of the first people to go hang out with Robyn. She left her tablet with them and from that point on, we were video chatting constantly. Even over night. The night of the 6th, going into the 7th, Robyn couldn't sleep due to panic attacks. I stayed up all night with them and we just talked and talked via video chat. I am so, so, so grateful to have technology that allows us to do that.

The 7th was the day that Robyn got to sit in a chair for the first time since the accident. Mom also took the time to comb out and clean their hair since it was still matted with blood and glass.

On the 8th, they were in the chair again. Our dear friend, Vi, went up and hung out. That's the day that Robyn had all their IV lines disconnected permanently. They had a knee immobilizer put on to help with the torn ligament.

On the 9th, another dear friend, Mikayla, brought me a rapid test so I could check the next day. Then she went up for her shift with Robyn. Robyn got bathed for the first time that day.

And on the 10th, I woke up at 5:15 in the morning, an anxious wreck. It was the day to take the covid test. It was blessedly negative. Which meant that I could go back and see Robyn again.

So that's exactly what I did. And being the wonderful spouse I am, I took them some Wendy's, which they'd been asking for.


We found out that day that our second choice of rehab centers had an opening, so then it was just waiting for them to get all the paperwork and insurance straightened out and get Robyn there.

It was a couple more days of waiting on that. We spent the time just sitting and watching way too much TNG. And still video chatting every moment I wasn't up there.

On January 13th, just under two weeks from the accident, Robyn was sent to the rehab facility.

I think that's where I will end with the retelling of this.

I actually started writing this post back in April, but have had a very hard time writing it, as you can imagine. Today is actually 6 months exactly since the accident happened.

I've dealt with a lot of emotions today. Mostly an overwhelming relief that my spouse is still here with me. And doing so well. We finished up outpatient physical therapy last week. Robyn is walking with no brace at all now. The only lingering problems are the shoulder being tight. But for the fact that they almost died, we'll take it.



I wanted Robyn to write about everything they remembered from the accident, so here's a small guest post in this post, if you will.

"I was driving down Rt. 43; it was getting dark and was a little rainy, so I didn't see the truck coming at me at all. One second everything was fine, and the next there were headlights directly in front of me. I had absolutely no time to react. I'm pretty sure I yelled out in that moment...it was possibly "oh fuck"...and I think I might have moved my left arm up in front of my face, which would account for all the damage it took. Everything after that is just small bits and pieces of memories that kind of run together. I lost consciousness, but we think only for a few minutes. When I came to, I think I realized pretty quickly that something was wrong. I remember the feeling of my hair hanging in front of my face and of the dirt and glass in my mouth. It was crunchy. I also think I understood quickly that something bad had happened; I remember trying to move a little bit and when I couldn't, I knew I needed to stay still.

The next thing I remember is trying to speak...I think I said "What happened?" more than once. Not loud, but just kind of to myself. The first person I remember speaking to me was a woman. We're pretty sure it was the driver of the van in front of me, who had nearly been hit. I think she asked me who I was and who my spouse was as well. What else she said to me I can't recall.

This is where things really start to run together. I remember more voices and activity around the car as the EMTs and firefighters worked to get me out. I do remember someone saying they'd have to cut me out, and then the sound of the equipment as they worked to cut open the door. I've been told that someone had climbed into the backseat at one point to hold onto me and keep me still as they were cutting, and I have a vague memory of that as well. I think that's about all I can remember from inside the car.

I do kind of remember being pulled out, just a little bit. Ashtan has told me that I was already in the ambulance when she arrived and how she frantically climbed in to see me...I don't remember any of that. My next memories are vague ones of the ride to the hospital. I remember the sensation of the ambulance moving, and of thinking that it felt like we were going to tip over because we were going so fast. I remember slowing down and thinking "oh we must be at the hospital", and then that's it. After that, nothing until the evening of January 2nd. I don't remember being taken out of the ambulance, of being in the ER, of talking to Ashtan and her mom, or of being taken into surgery the next day. I think I have a very vague memory of talking to Ashtan the evening of the 2nd, but nothing really specific.

We thought for sure I was going to struggle with nightmares or flashbacks from this, but I haven't at all, and I'm sure the reason is because I just don't remember much. For that I'm grateful, though I hate that the emotional trauma got passed onto Ashtan. But we're working through it together. Things are getting better, 6 months later. I'm just glad to be alive, honestly, and I'm trying to use this experience as a motivator to be even more unafraid to be myself. I absolutely do not recommend going through this haha. I think I'll leave you with this: please always wear your seat belt, and please, PLEASE, never drink and drive. In the words of my grandmother, who had left me that Ford Taurus when she passed away, be careful on the road."

And with that, I think I'm finally done with this post.

I will never be able to properly convey my gratefulness to all of our friends, family, the medical personnel, and you, our lovely customers and readers, who have supported us and loved us through this whole ordeal.

We're still not quite through it yet, but hey, we're still here. And that's something.



Friday, December 31, 2021

The End, Unending

What do you do when you've completely lost all hope?

Even at the end of 2020, I had some small little spark of hope. A tiny part of my heart that thought maybe, just maybe we'll find a way through this.

Foolish, stupid, ridiculous heart.

I see people posting about how they still had a good 2021, despite it all. And I get so, so angry at them. How dare they be happy? How dare they show any joy?

I know it's irrational and misplaced. Doesn't stop me from feeling like that.

I have written in the past here so many times before about how awful of a year I had. I fucking MISS those 'worst years'.

In order, here's my 2021:
January:
Both of my in-laws end up with covid, my father-in-law dies from it.

February:
Robyn loses their job.
Our sewer breaks, causing my business to come to a grinding halt for MONTHS.

March:
I have a complete gender crisis.*

April:
My mother has a stroke, and is still dealing with an unknown illness that is still slowly weakening her.
It becomes clear that Booda, my baby boy, is suffering and needs to be put down.
Not even a fucking week after that, my BEST FUCKING FRIEND dies from covid. Her family is fucking AWFUL about it, making an already traumatic event so much worse.

June:
The sewer still isn't fixed, meaning I had to turn down an exciting dye job for my LYS.

August:
We lost our cat, Phelix.

September:
Grandma falls at work and breaks her leg, which also causes the business to halt as my sister who lives with her (and who helps me with the yarn) is taking care of grandma.
I have an extremely terrifying menstrual cycle that causes my anxiety and dysphoria to spike. I lose so much blood that I almost pass out.
This leads to a ptsd-flashback-triggering doctor appointment that still doesn't give me definitive answers.

October:
Find out that Robyn has elevated cholesterol and I don't, but somehow my body is the problem?

November:
My anxiety gets so bad that I have heart palpitations for a week straight.

December:
Multiple friends have covid or are in isolation, waiting to see if they do.
My mother-in-law probably has covid again.

And through this all, my mental health has tanked. I am never not anxious anymore. I have reverted back to bad habits that damage and compromise my closest relationships.

I finally started therapy, but I am really, really struggling with everything. I hardly knit this year. Most of the projects I completed I couldn't even bring myself to post about them.

And as I'm typing this, I find out Betty White died. Just... fucking hell.

I feel like a hollowed out shell. I'm still going through the motions of existence, but I'm not alive. And as omicron now ravages the world, I struggle to see an end to it all that isn't just bleakness and despair. It's an unending end.

I have no hope or desires for 2022. None. I have seen just how awful humanity can be and I know we're not escaping.

I'm not going to leave you with empty platitudes or well wishes.

Just hold on to your hope if, by some miracle, you have any left.

As for me, I'll still be trapped in this house, watching everything burn down around me.

Happy 2022.
Fuck.

 
*This is not a bad thing at all, but it still was (and is) overwhelming to deal with in the middle of everything else.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

The Performance of 'Womanhood'

CN: Gender Feels, Self-Harm, Body Mutilation, Menstruation

Also to note, these feelings are towards cisgendered, menstruating women


I was reading a post on one of my witchcentric subreddits about a mom who had (with her daughter's enthusiastic permission) thrown a 'red tent' party when the daughter started her first period. It was carefully done as a way not to tell the girl "you are a woman now and you must now bear responsibility and caution," but as a celebration of change and the growth bodies go through. A way to break the stigma surrounding menstruation.
 
It was lovely and wonderful.
 
And it made me feel so Othered.
 
I started thinking about my own experiences with menstruation. The shame. The trauma. How I don't think I've ever had an "okay" period.
 
Every time it happens, I want it to stop Stop STOP.
 
I feel so disconnected from my body. I feel like I've lost control of myself. I want to rip myself open and claw my uterus out. I want to mutilate my body so I don't have to deal with it.
 
Having highly irregular periods was a blessing for so long. I could go a whole year with maybe a week or two of spotting the whole time and it was glorious.
 
I have never been able to embrace my menstrual cycle as I was expected to. I resented being told that I was A Woman who now bore the power to grow a child and this meant that I must Protect My Virtue from men at all costs. I could not let these men see that I was Growing Into a Woman. I must hide myself away. I must cover myself.
 
Don't sit like that.
Don't say these things.
Don't let them know that you are Changed.
 
Don't
Don't
Don't
 
All these rules. All these expectations.
 
It makes it seem (from the perspective of a white person in the Midwest) that 'being a woman' has this almost mystical aura to it. It is a ritual to perform. A carefully cultivated one.
 
I did not choose to be a woman, yet I was (and still am since I'm not really out to my family) expected to perform 'womanhood.' Specifically cisgendered, heterosexual 'womanhood.'
 
I'm expected to want to have children.
 
I'm expected to Find A Man At All Costs then spend the rest of my life resenting and complaining about this Man.
 
I'm expected to give up dreams and ambitions and any sense of 'self' to care for these children and this man. I must not only work and bring in money, but also do the cooking and cleaning and child rearing. All with a smile on my face.
 
Isn't it great to be this vision of 'woman' we have forced upon you?
 
Women around me try to find common ground with me. They perceive me not as I am, but as they expect me to be. They share their stories and expect me to reciprocate my own. If I am to be included I must perform their vision of womanhood perfectly.
 
Even well-intentioned cis women outside of this vision make me feel like there's something inherently wrong with me. They still expect me to relate to their experiences of being a woman and when I don't, I'm pushed out yet again.
 
I'm constantly on the outside staring in, staring in horror, and in a warped sense of longing. Oh, to be one of them! To be embraced and included!
 
It's given me such a twisted sense of envy sometimes.
 
I'm fighting against it. And I'm fighting to be perceived as me. I am not 'woman.'
 
My femininity is not a woman's femininity. My femininity is my own.
 
I am nonbinary and I'm tired of being told I'm not.



Friday, September 24, 2021

A Year/Six Years/Thirty-One Years And/Of Change

I meant to write this for the one year shop anniversary on July 17th.
But I didn't.

So I thought I'd do it for the blog's six year anniversary.
But I couldn't.

Now it's my 31st birthday. An event that I thought would be celebrated with friends and loved ones. 

But, once again, I'm away from my friends. And with a piece of my heart missing.

I want to stop feeling hopeless and sad. I want to be able to move past this grief. But I don't know how. So I'm just going to write and write and hope you'll forgive my rambling.

I have so much gratitude for all the support and absolute outpouring of love that everyone has shown me. I still can't believe that what started as way to keep my hands busy and the demons quiet grew into all of this.

I have changed so much over this/these year/6 years/31 years. I have learned so much about myself.

I have learned to embrace my demons, to give into my creativity.
I have learned that I am so much stronger and more capable than I ever thought.
I have learned that I am so very blessed to have built a whole community of wonderful, supportive people who have helped keep me afloat.

Thank you all for reading/buying/loving all that I do. Thank you for embracing my creations and your extreme patience as I have stumbled through these growing pains. 

This is one year/six years/thirty-one years.
This is now.


May there be tomorrow. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Bitter Medicine

Today is Robyn and I's 10 year wedding anniversary.

Today I took Emmy to get her second covid vaccine.

A little less than a month ago, I got my own second vaccination. An event that I cried with sheer relief about and went out of my way to do something I hadn't done in over a year: knit a shawl for an actual occasion.

It felt like a momentous occasion that needed something pretty to celebrate.


In fact, we took these pictures the same day as my vaccination appointment.

I was relieved, grateful, and hopeful. I thought things were finally, FINALLY changing for the better. I thought my dearest friends and I were somehow going to make it through this.

We were going to be together soon. We'd be able to laugh and hug and be grateful that we could do that.


A little less than a month ago, my world was ripped apart. My heart shredded to pieces.

I lost my best friend, my Bethany.

She died from covid.

She was a month older than me. A month.

I'm not ready to talk about it. I can't.

And today has been a bitter reminder of everything I have that she never will.

She was beautiful. And so fucking clever and witty. And always on board with whatever mad schemes I could come up. Or eagerly recruiting me for hers.

I'll never forget the entire day we spent together speaking only in British accents. And I could always rely on her to join me in International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

She was one of the first people I told about actually starting Black Goat Fibers. And she was so amazingly supportive and always asking how it was going, cheering me on and encouraging me when things were overwhelming.

I knit my shawl for my appointment out of yarn I dyed myself. Yarn that wouldn't exist without Bethany's love and support.

It's not fair.

A childish statement, I know.

But it's not and my heart can't accept it.

It's not fair that I am here alive, breathing, making beautiful things, loving and loved so dearly, and my best friend is gone.

I survived this fucking pandemic and she didn't.

I was able and allowed to get my vaccine. She couldn't.

Bitter fucking medicine indeed.