Let me begin by introducing myself. My name is Amanda, I've been happily married to my best friend Chris for the last 12 years and together we have an amazing son, Dalton. From the second date until more recently Chris and I have loved riding his Harley Davidson and after our son was big enough he has too.
On July 20th 2014 while riding to meet my parents for our usual weekend ride together my life was forever changed. At 4:03pm Chris and I had wrecked on the interstate going 70 mph. A car had quickly swerved into our lane while we were going across a bridge. It was a moment I will live with for the rest of my life, I saw the whole thing happen from the very beginning. Chris had to quickly decide, hit her, go over the bridge or lay the bike down...before I knew it the bike threw us off and kept going! We were on a three lane highway in the farthest left lane. I vividly remember landing on my face (cheekbone), bouncing my helmet off the road, rolling over and over with every roll seeing my husband sliding across towards the middle lane of traffic - motionless and cars in the right lane still driving past.
All I could think was that he was dead and someone was going to run him over. As I continued to flail around like a cat in water trying to get stopped I began feeling every piece of my body burning. Sliding on my stomach feet first peeling the skin off my arms and stomach. I finally stopped and jumped to my feet and without any thought ran to my husband who at that moment was getting up himself and limping towards me holding his arm up. My next thought was where is the bike and I need my cell phone to call 911. We never saw the bike, we were told it had went as far 500 ft (almost two football fields)!!! I saw my phone wallet laying on the line in the middle of the road...still with cars driving by us as if nothing happened and grabbed my phone and before I knew it I felt a hand on my shoulder from behind.
I never saw or heard him but the second I did I felt a sense of relief that someone stopped to help us! He was behind us as we wrecked and stopped his truck behind us to keep traffic out of that lane. He got us across the bridge and to the grass. I couldn't really see anything as I had a black eye and the other swollen from the contact, I took my helmet off and laid down in the grass. I heard a woman say she had called 911 but couldn't stay because she had her kids in the van and within a few minutes we heard sirens. A few more minutes later we were being rushed to the hospital which conveniently was only about 5 miles up the road. Chris had used my cell phone to call my Daddy who was an hour away and somehow he managed to go home and get my Momma and they were at the hospital in no time.
Chris and I had been put in separate rooms and I laid there unable to move and screaming as the nurses tried to put saline pads all over my stomach. I must have passed out from the pain because before I knew it I had my parents, my best friend and my cousin in the room with me. Chris' parents and Dalton were with Chris. With the exception of my momma the parents took turns between Chris and I as I pleaded with them not to let Dalton see me that way. Finally I was admitted into the trauma unit.
The next week included my parents taking turns staying at the hospital overnight with me sleeping in a chair. It included my closest friends and coworkers stopping by to check on me, and much to my surprise the man who helped us when we needed it most, Joe. I had endured daily dressing changes that consisted of both arms from my elbows to my nonexistent fingerprints, from under my breast to the top of my pants across both my front and back.
Prayers and encouraging words, physical therapy, a fantastic nurse staff and many sleepless nights.
I was released from the hospital the following Saturday with a new diagnosed broken hand, it wasn't noticed before because I was so swollen. As my momma drove me home I couldn't help but think how did this happen to us and how are we going to manage with both of us depending on others to care for not only us but Dalton too, he was 6. My momma stayed with us for 2 weeks and took care of us and took us to our appointments. We had friends cook meals for us and come by to visit or mow the lawn or whatever else needed done.
We were overwhelmed by the support we had. I still couldn't look in the mirror at my face in fear it would be hideous. After physical therapy and me seeing a therapist to help me cope with the PTSD we were finally functioning like a normal family again. When I got back on the bike for a short ride, it was that moment when I realized the saying "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" was true. People would tell me how lucky I was and not to push it.
No, I wasn't lucky, I was blessed. With that I knew I no longer needed to live worrying about what others thought or if it was something new was worth trying. I'm not going to keep the past from letting me live the rest of my life to the fullest. It's not what happened to me, the wrecks aren't what defines me, it's just part of my story.
I gave myself a goal to run the Disney Princess half marathon with my cousin as a way to focus on something other than what happened to me. I knew I couldn't give up, I didn't want to disappoint my support or myself but most of all I wanted Dalton to see how his momma was not going to be a victim, but a survivor. I wanted him to be able to see that his momma was a strong woman and refused to let it ruin or take over my life. In February 2016 I completed the race with my family there rooting me on. I was able to finally close that chapter in my life. I could begin thinking I had overcome such a traumatic event in my life. To celebrate I got a tattoo of a Phoenix on my upper arm with he script 'Some women fear the fire, some women become the fire" to remind me that I had risen much like the Phoenix.
Fast forward to June 2017. My husband and I had been talking about me getting my own bike and learning how to ride my own. Before I knew it I had a beautiful bike in the garage. Unfortunately schedules didn't allow me to take a safety/learning class until the beginning if April 2018. I was nervous but passed my class. I was so excited to get that endorsement on my license.
I was so excited that we finally could go ride together, all three of us. It wasn't long after that, my 3rd ride out, that not even a half a mile from my house I wrecked. Chris and Dalton were riding behind me and all I could think about was Dalton seeing me wreck and how scared he must be. I also thought of how bad I wished I could find the idiot who ran me off the road coming around a blind curve and give him a 'what for'. Instead I laid on the side of the road fearing that my bike was going to fall on top of me. AGAIN?? REALLY?? I sat up and began my meltdown. I kept asking Dalton if he was okay and he sat beside me and HE comforted ME! Chris had rode his bike home to get the truck so I could drive it home and he could ride my bike home. Luckily there was minimal damage to the bike. The clutch and mirror side had been twisted down from me flying over the bike and my body catching it for the twist. My hand (the opposite hand and my primary hand) hurt and was throbbing.
I calmly called Chris' mom to come sit with Dalton so we could go to the ER. On the way I called my Daddy who lives in Pennsylvania now and told him what happened. He was more scared then I was because he had no idea the extent of my injuries but knew Chris would get me the help I needed. After a few hours in the ER it was determined I broke my thumb and pulled the ligaments. Needless to say I was sore the next morning and didn't go to work. Within the last few days I've been released to ride again at my own discretion.
To be honest I'm terrified of riding again by myself for the simple fact that I don't have the confidence that I can avoid any more wrecks. I've had people I know and people I don't ask, "Are you selling the bike now" "Are you done with motorcycles now" and even a "You got what you deserve". All where what I felt, attacks! People would say I was dancing with the devil and that I wasn't thinking of Dalton. In fact I WAS thinking of Dalton. I would hate myself if my son learned from me that it's ok to worry about what people think or say. You only live once, why not live it the best way you can, happy. To inspire me again I got a tattoo of a beautiful stone cross on my other arm, as a reminder that no matter what tries to break me, I'm still hard as stone.
I don't know that I am a beautiful disaster but my story sure is. I'm stronger now then I ever imagined I would be. I've had many women who have heard my story whether it be the first time or the thirtieth time tell me how inspiring I am. I've been told I motivate them to try harder, to keep going, to live life! In the meantime I live like it's the last day, I love with the purest of my heart, I keep my support close and be the friend they can rely on for anything. My most important role is to be all that and still be a great mom. (Tooting my own horn.) My son looks at me and will always know his momma will never stop, that I don't take no for an answer and there are NO excuses. My husband told me his most favorite thing about me is that I never give up. When I hear I can't do something or I shouldn't do something...prepare to sit back and be amazed because I'll do it anyway just to prove to them and myself that I really can do anything I set my mind too. Maybe because of that I can consider myself a Beautiful Disaster.
In the end I'll share another favorite quote..."Be the reason someone smiles today, you never know what demons they are facing".
Love and hugs to everyone!
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