Today instead of celebrating that I have (merely) survived the attack of last year, I am thankful that I’ve (mostly) recovered.
I’m sure many of you are probably growing tired of hearing of our attack, the PTSD, the recovery, the trauma, the counseling – because I sure am tired of it. But it definitely has been the central theme of my 46th tour around the sun. The reason I feel better bringing it up again on my birthday is this time, I honestly think I am through the majority of a recovery.
Our trauma counselor kept referring to the stat that most victims of intense life-threatening trauma take about 18 months to recover. For so long that seemed like a disappointing thing to hear, wanting recovery to go faster. But now, it feels like some consolation, some validation that this time when I think I’m mostly better, I really am. Sitting about 17 months after our attack, I’m more confident to say I’m about as ‘recovered’ as I may ever be – as opposed to all the other times I thought it.
The idea of stress giving someone grey hair is a pretty funny way to joke about the constant movement of raising toddlers or a tough season at work. But I’m pretty sure if you compare pictures of me from 2 years ago to now it’s not really just a clever way of joking about it – yup, that’s real.
In a place like Canada or France – using average life expectancy – I’m 50% done my life, here in Burundi I’ve just reached 77%. For me – this year has been one of more than usual taking stock of life kinds of thoughts. More than ever before I do honestly feel like I have been given a new lease on life- a second chapter that almost was never written. Even right after the attack, I felt my life was broken into these two parts. The way history is broken into BC and AD, I felt my life had a division point last February. I felt as though I had been given an extra life in Super Mario – and this time I don’t want to waste it.
So although it’s been a strange year – I am super grateful for it. I am so glad I get to be the husband to the most incredible woman, the father to four fantastic children, and all the other roles I’ve been given that are complete, unmerited, undeserved gifts.