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Home Sweet Home?...(Post #19)

When we pulled out of the parking lot the day I was released and I saw the big gray building that had been my home for six weeks start to disappear in the distance, I had an overwhelming feeling of never wanting to step through hospital doors again. I immediately wanted to forget everything about it, pretend like it never happened and when I finally got home, everything would get back to “normal”. But there is that word again, “normal”, why was I so worried about finding a way to just be “normal” again? I mean who in the hell really knows what “normal” means anyway? None-the-less, I was intent on pretending that all the blood, bandages and scratchy bed sheets were behind me, but just because the gray building was disappearing in the distance, didn’t mean the memories would so easily fade.

Riding home that evening was very surreal and difficult to explain; I recall just staring out the windows at the other cars driving by, or catching myself just watching the trees zip past. It was almost like I was experiencing the world for the first time again; I know that sounds really intense and a little over the top, but imagine getting in your car everyday, following the same routine, then all of a sudden, you don’t get into a vehicle for six straight weeks. That amount of time may not seem very long, but it was evident that it took its toll on my body and my mind.

Slowly gliding through the country roads towards home, I began to become more and more anxious about what to expect. Emotionally, it was tough for a teenager to be away from his home for so long, but it was even more nerve-racking when I finally made it back to our long, gravel driveway. See, where I grew up, I could look out of my childhood bedroom window and see the high school football field, the very field where all of this began. I loved that as a kid!! Every morning I would wake up, take a deep breath and just stare at the freshly cut and painted battleground. Football had been in my life for as long as I can remember, but now, as we made the journey up the driveway, that childhood feeling of excitement as I saw the football field suddenly turned into resentment. This was the first time throughout my entire experience that I began to question whether or not I should blame football? The day my leg snapped in half, and I was loaded into the ambulance, the only thing I was concerned with was whether or not I could play again. Now I was concerned with what role football would play in my life moving forward. It didn’t take me long to understand that no blame was to be passed out, especially when it came to football, it is still an important part of my life today. I have had numerous people ask me over the years whether or not I would play football again, or if I would allow my hypothetical children to participate. Even though there have been a limited number of times in which I questioned football, I have always known that athletics played a bigger role in picking me up, rather than being the reason I was knocked down. What happened to me, happened for a reason; whether I was riding a bike that day, or playing the sport I greatly admired, I was meant to break my leg!

Slowly making our way up into the beautifully wooded area in which we called home, I began to see the porch lights shining through the trees, as though providing a sense of hope as we approached the house. It was late, around dusk, which for some reason made my level of apprehension increase. As if something sinister was waiting just inside the doors of my childhood home. I was so nervous about change, even though spending so much time in the hospital was difficult and mentally draining, I knew that all I needed to focus on was my physical recovery. Now that I had made it home, I finally realized that I was going to have to find a way to go on with my life. I was only a teenager at this point, and had a lot of life left to live. For months, all I was concerned with was when I would be physically “well” enough to get home, but when that time finally arrived, I questioned everything. How am I going to shower? When should I get back to school? Are my friends going to visit me? Can I ever drive again? And then that word popped in my head again; will I ever get back to being “normal”? My life would never be “normal” again, but I couldn’t anticipate the amount of times in which I would feel “abnormal” before truly appreciating my “uniqueness”.

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