Story by Antonio Vechhio
Life can be seen as a series of moments that lead us to where we are now. Although some moments are inconsequential, others have a profound impact on every moment that follows. In those profound moments, we have to make a choice that will affect ourselves and those around us.
Let me share one of my moments with you.
I found myself sitting in a dark place, knowing that the world would go on if I stayed in this place forever and no one found me. I had transferred myself onto the floor and was sitting in a corner, with a lifetime of suppressed emotions pouring out of me.
There is a pain in these moments that is unbearable, and only those who have been there can understand the overwhelming urge to make the pain stop.
How did I arrive at this moment? What had happened to get me to this point where I had all this inside me?
When I look back through my life, it’s hard to say precisely when I started to feel not quite myself. Thinking about it, it was before I began to live with quadriplegia.
No reason to change
After I sustained my C6-7 spinal-cord injury in a car accident in 2005, I just accepted it as normal to be feeling down about myself. I would often have people tell me how amazing I was, and that I was an inspiration, and that it was okay to have bad days given what I’d been through. So I felt no reason to change my behaviour.
Time went on, and I lived an active life surrounded by friends and family. Yet I found little enjoyment in things that had once given me great satisfaction. Instead, I found myself feeling numb towards things that I knew should trigger an emotion within me.
Again time moved on, and I was confronted with another moment. For many of us, sustaining a spinal cord injury is the most catastrophic thing that we could ever imagine. But for me, it was insignificant compared with seeing my dad take his last breath.
A smile for the world
This loss was the moment that broke inside me in ways that I never thought I would recover from. But life went on, and I continued to show the world a smile and pretend to be the strong inspirational person that everyone thought I was.
There was a pain inside of me that I would never wish upon anyone, and yet I taught myself how to suppress my emotions and get through the days and weeks.
As I was sitting there on the floor in the corner, I was not thinking about any past moment that had led me there. The numbness that I had felt in past years had gone, and every tear was an emotion that I had kept within me.
The thing about moments we are confronted with is that often we need to make a decision. These decisions are never easy. Decisions in these moments lead us to where we are today. The decision I made was to pick up my phone and call for help.
- August 30, 2021